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Helping to create a healthy lifestyle

It's not just about losing weight, it's about getting healthy and learning good habits to continue proper eating and exercise.

That's the message instructors are stressing during their third Coronary Health Improvement Project (CHIP) seminar in Detroit Lakes. Sheri Schumaker, Sandy Rudolph and Anna Galeniece are hosting two introductory sessions, March 23 at 6 p.m. in the Seventh Day Adventist Church and March 24 at 6 p.m. in the Detroit Lakes Library, to talk about the CHIP program and its benefits.

They will also be at a healthy lifestyle cooking seminar today (Sunday) at 2 p.m. in the Seventh Day Adventist Church. While they will not be performing the cooking seminar, they will be there to talk about the CHIP program and get people signed up.

During the CHIP seminar, the group will meet three times a week for 16 sessions -- about five weeks.

"You have to really get into it and (meeting) once a week isn't enough," Schumaker said.

That meeting as a group -- and future alumni meetings -- encourages support from "other people there in the same boat, working together to improve their health," Schumaker said.

The volunteer instructors will give a food theme each week -- beans, fiber, low sodium, seasonings, calcium, etc. -- and show what foods are best. Fresh, not processed, foods are favored, and Rudolph said they use foods that can all be found in the Detroit Lakes area. Participants will be able to sample food at each meeting.

During the two-hour meetings, an hour-long DVD with founder Dr. Hans Diehl speaking on a specific topic will be shown. The instructors will then have little presentations on water, sunshine, reading labels or some other health-related topic.

"It's a change of lifestyle, a healthy lifestyle," Rudolph said, "and it will fit each person's lifestyle."

Schumaker added that the program teaches healthy eating and how to choose carefully, and with that comes more eating of good foods.

"It's not something where you are starving," she said.

And besides eating right, the program also stresses the importance of exercise. At the start of the program, the group takes out a map of the United States and determines a destination they would like to "walk" to. Then throughout the program, they earn points, which translate into miles, and make their way across the map.

Schumaker and Rudolph said the feedback from past participants has been very good, and they can see the class "getting more energy" in just the five weeks they are together.

"You can almost see them looking better," Schumaker said. "Their clothes fit better."

While eating better and exercising will obviously lead to some weight loss, the program is also for lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Some participants have even been able to go off medications after consulting a doctor.

At the start of the program, a St. Mary's Innovis Health worker comes to draw blood from each participant. The blood is screened for multiple items, and participants also have blood pressure checked, as well as weight, body frame and health habits.

The same tests are performed at the end of the five-week session.

"Almost everybody has had improvement in some area," Schumaker said.

She also said that while there is some change, there's not a night and day difference: It took more than five weeks for participants to get to that state of health, and it's going to take more than five to get out of it.

"Healthy by choice, not by chance," Schumaker said, reciting the CHIP slogan. "We really advocate that. You are in charge of making changes and how healthy you are."

For more information or to sign up for the program, the free information sessions are March 23 at 6 p.m. in the Seventh Day Adventist Church, Richwood Road, and March 24 at 6 p.m. in the Detroit Lakes Public Library.

Cost for the program is $235 per person or $350 per couple. Although it may sound costly, Schumaker and Rudolph said the program is worth the cost. It includes a tote bag of texts, workbooks and a water bottle. There will also be food samples at each session.

For more information, call 847-3548. Classes begin March 30 and graduation is May 5.