Get Fit United Spring 2016 | United Way of St. Charles

Get Fit United Spring 2016


Read about the journey & success of our 1st Get Fit United team (Spring 2016) below:

January 2016
February 2016
March 2016
April 2016


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Today's the day! Our 2016 Get Fit United Team met each other for the first time, and the energy in the room was incredible. Representatives from Anytime Fitness, Ochsner, Creative Family Solution and, of course, United Way all introduced themselves to the 40 individuals chosen to participate in GFU. We went over the schedule for our next few months together and explained the nuts & bolts of how the program will work. The team received their keys for 24 hour access to Anytime Fitness and met the trainers who will be helping to transform their lives. It's going to be an intense 12 weeks, but our group is incredibly motivated, and nothing is going to stop us now.


Friday, January 15, 2016

Our Friday morning is off to a great start! The Get Fit United Team is here to complete their biometric pre-screenings. Ochsner Corporate Wellness is on-site today at our United Way office screening lipid profiles (cholesterol, HDL, LDL, TC/HDL & triglycerides), blood glucose, blood pressure and height/weight/BMI. Each individual will receive a personalized report as well as a consultation with one of the nurses. At the end of the GFU program, we'll do another post-screening to see how far we've come. While pounds and inches are important, our goal is to be stronger, healthier individuals, inside and out.


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

My husband, Ryan, and I were extremely excited that we were selected to participate in the Get Fit United program.  We needed to make some lifestyle changes and this is the perfect way to start that journey.  This week was awesome!  We meet with the personal trainer Saturday to get our instructions for the gym for the week.  We were able to get to the gym Monday night and again tonight.  Unfortunately, Ryan was not able to attend Boot Camp, but I attended.  It was a lot of fun despite the cold weather.  Everyone, participants and trainers, were really excited about the program. We even ended Boot Camp with a "team yell".  We formed a circle with all hands in and the raised them as we yelled "Get Fit United".  This made it feel like we were working as a team.  It was a good feeling to know that everyone involved was there to make a positive change in their life.  The meeting tonight was very informative.  We now have some direction as far as a meal plan, calorie count and proper snacks.  The gift of a Walmart gift card was a nice bonus.  Our struggle this week was celebrating of our eldest sons birthday while staying on track with our diet. I think that we did pretty good. Thanks for all of the help and support! We greatly appreciate all of your hard work and we look forward to spending the next 12 weeks with everyone.

Rhonda, GFU Team Member


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

I want to begin by saying "Thank you", again, to The United Way, Anytime Fitness of St. Charles, Ochsner and Creative Family Solutions for giving me this opportunity. When I received the email letting me know that I had been accepted to the program, I was ecstatic! I never would've thought that I would actually be chosen to participate in such an amazing opportunity. It's been a long time since I actually wanted to do anything for myself. For months I've been just ok with eating whatever I want, sitting on the sofa, and sitting at work with my pants unzipped just to be comfortable.

Being a part of this program, even though it has just begun, has given me something to look forward to. I had no idea how I was supposed to eat, what exercises I should do, so I just started to eat smaller portions and searched the internet for suggestions and tips. In the next few weeks we are going to be taught some valuable lessons about healthier food choices. What I am most excited about is having the dieticians teach me how to eat, and what to look for on food labels so that I will be able to make the right choices for the rest of my life. Everyone should, at some point in life, have the opportunity to be taught by a dietician. This is a life altering experience.

Receiving a $25.00 Wal-mart gift card tonight made me realize how wonderful The United Way really is. Years ago, I donated a certain dollar amount out of every paycheck to United Way. I discontinued that donation a year later because I was having financial difficulties myself. I also thought, back then, "why am I donating to a charity that I know nothing about", not to mention I had no idea what the money was going to. Just this past year I decided to start donating again. The reason I changed my mind, after all this time, was because I found out that Creative Family Solutions was an organization that benefits from United Way. My daughter was a patient of theirs for a couple years after a fatal accident she was involved in. The faculty at Creative Family Solutions were wonderful. Once I knew my donation would go towards their organization, I signed up, again, to have donations withdrawn from my payroll checks. Now that I am participating in GFU, I actually see how United Way supports the community. It's only been a week, and I can see that they are putting so much time, effort and work into this FREE program. Free for me and the other participants. I will definitely spread the word to my family and friends that a donation to United Way, of any amount, will go towards great experiences in their community, including building up 40 local citizen's confidence and creating happier, healthier lives.


Thank you, again, for this opportunity,

Tracy, GFU Team Member


Friday, January 22, 2016

I’m so thankful to be a part of the Get Fit United program.This week I really focused on what I’m putting into my body.  Using the My Fitness Pal app Danielle suggested has been really helpful.  I love that she appreciates the fact that we are in a city that loves food.  During the Wednesday class she mentioned eating a carbohydrate with a protein when snacking.  I love to eat apples with peanut butter, it’s always so satisfying.  Now I know why.  Knowing this will help me make better snack decisions in the future.

 My struggle has been making it to the gym.  I have lots of “excuses” as to why I’m not going such as; have to stay late at work...need to cook dinner…don’t have my gym clothes…excuse…excuse…excuse!  I made it to the Boot Camp on Tuesday and it was so much fun! The trainers from Anytime Fitness are great, they laugh with us while making sure we are doing the exercises correctly.  My goal next week is to get make it to a spin class along with Boot Camp and walking around my neighborhood.  I have to make time to take care of myself – NO MORE EXCUSES!

Margaret, GFU Team Member

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

This program is one of the best things to happen to me in my life! After just a couple weeks of eating better and exercising, I feel so much better! My main complaints I have had were having no energy, not sleeping at night, tired all the time. Since just a few days after beginning my new ritual, I am sleeping better, have energy to spare, my knees don't hurt as much, and I can keep up with the exercises!! I just feel better in general-it is such an amazing feeling! I have indulged in a few things, but they have been better choices. I switched to skinny cow ice cream sandwiches that were recommended and they are delicious! Even though I have indulged, I have stayed within my recommended calorie intake-even a little lower at times! I started meal planning a couple months ago and it has helped me to stay away from fast food. It helps me to know what I am eating every night so I don't stray away from the plan! Since starting this program, I have made healthier choices for my meal plan and snacks for the week! I am setting a great example for my family by doing this-they are being very supportive of me by participating along with me in healthy eating! I have enjoyed making healthier choices-I love a challenge! One of my goals was to help my family as well as myself to make better choices. I work out every day except Wednesdays when we have class-that's my rest day. I have a planner to help me with my daily activities-it helps me to stick with what I need to do on a daily basis. I do this on Sundays with my husband-together we make our meal plan and pack our snacks for the week. I will continue to do this-it makes my week so much easier! I have even inspired my college son to start eating better, and his friends are starting to follow suit! I may have even inspired some team members to start meal planning/prepping as well! Everyone in my office is trying to eat healthier and exercise which helps to motivate me and we keep each other in check every day! I am so thankful that I have so many friends and family to support me throughout this process and I am so confident that I will be a success story! I can't wait to see what the following weeks have in store for me- I am so excited to be a part of this family! I have met a lot of nice and supportive people in this program that I can work out with and talk to about struggles that may come up. I am happy and excited to be a part of this program! Thanks so much for selecting me-I have learned so much in this short time and I am looking forward to learning so much more!



Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Well, week 2 was just as exciting as week 1.  Ryan and I are eating healthier meals, exercising and learning a lot.  Since my last post we went to the gym Friday night to work out with the weights and then again on Saturday morning for the explanation of the week 2 gym exercises.  It is extremely beneficial having Andrew there to explain, demonstrate and then evaluate our methods on each exercise.  This has taken away the fear of not knowing how to use each station and worrying that we are doing something wrong.  The handout with the exercises is also very helpful during the week when we are on our own.  

Even though we ate out twice this weekend, we made much healthier choices in selecting our meals.  We opted for the grilled seafood with veggies instead of the fried seafood with french fries. Monday night between religion class and our son's basketball practice  we managed to get in some gym time. During practiced we even walked around the basketball court instead of just sitting in the bleachers.  

The Facebook group posts are great motivators!

Tuesday night took enormous effort to leave the comfort of our warm house to attend the Boot Camp at the Eastbank Bridge Park!  We thought long and hard about simply going to the gym instead, but we definitely made the right decision. Jenna and Andrew were great motivators throughout the entire time.  It was actually nice working out with the rain falling all around us. When we left, both of us were hurting, but we were glad that we had gone.

Tonight's Virtual Grocery Store Tour was excellent. Having the grocery list and all of Danielle's tips in hand will make shopping much easier.   We had a number of misconceptions about food and diet that were cleared up tonight.  Hopefully, we will be able to put into place some of Danielle's suggestion and try some of the foods that she recommends.

Even though neither of us won a physical prize tonight, we both feel like winners for being given this great opportunity.  Changing our mindset and improving our lifestyle is our goal and we believe that this program is helping us to begin this process.  We are looking forward to another great week.  Thanks again to everyone involved in helping us! We know that you are giving of your time and energy and your goal is to see us succeed.  We want to make you proud!

Rhonda & Ryan, GFU Team Members


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Man do I feel blessed to be chosen as part of the United Way Get Fit. When I first applied I did so in the hopes that I would be able to get fit and not have to have a weight loss surgery that was in the works for me to proceed with.  We are only on week two and I am feeling so much better. I actually have more energy than I have had in years. Being a Mother of four children I have always put myself to the back while focusing on their wants and needs. I have found that I can make time for myself. When leaving work I have been stopping by the gym to get in my work out for the day. I am thankful for Anytime Fitness! I belonged to Anytime Fitness several years ago and was a member for over two years. Let’s just say I have been more to the gym this past week than I did in two years.  Several people asked me what I would get from joining and succeeding my response has been my health! I am total floored and blessed at all the other perks that United Way is supplying to us. I am looking forward to our Nutritional Class tonight. (Another Great Tool supplied by Ochsner Health System through the United Way ) It truly is a blessing and inspiring to be a part of the United Way Get Fit Challenge! I am leaning into the challenge! 

Great things are to come!

Laura, GFU Team Member


Friday, January 29, 2016

Since starting this journey on Jan. 15, I feel fantastic. In the past, every morning, I would wake up ready to go back to sleep. Since exercising several times a week has become part of my routine, I wake up feeling refreshed. I don’t remember ever feeling refreshed in the morning!!!  Funny story - My BF was surprised that I was going to the gym again, which made three days in a row, especially  since the Carrie of the past would come home and sit on the sofa! Anyway, after the gym, I ran to the grocery and saw my neighbor. He didn’t recognize me .. so I came home and said… SEEEE, I am shrinking already, the neighbors don’t recognize me!  … We can only wish it happens that fast! :) Due to the program, I am making better food choices, cooking a lot more, and prepping my meals for the week. Although. it’s very difficult to say no to king cake. :) The classes with Danielle, the Dietician, have been very informative. I am excited about some of upcoming topics. This group overall is fantastic. We all cheer each other on, chat in the gym, and are all realty appreciative of this opportunity! I can’t say thank you enough!

Carrie, GFU Team Member


Monday, February 1, 2016


I must admit I feel more energized knowing that there is a weigh-in happening Wednesday. I’m very competitive and these weigh-ins are just what I need to keep me motivated to eat healthy and exercise regularly. The first two weeks, I completely slacked off. I had a ton of work commitments and found myself using that as an excuse to go straight home to bed instead of to the gym. However, after the last Bootcamp at the Westbank Bridge Park, I realized we are all in this together. We all have goals and are driven to a healthy lifestyle. With this motivation, I found myself waking up at 6 am on a Sunday to work the plan that Andrew gave us the day before. Now I am looking forward to Wednesday, not dreading it! I just want to encourage everyone to stick with it and we’ve made it this far, we can make it through the next 9 weeks!!! 

Angela, GFU Team Member


Tuesday, February 2, 2016

I’m still so thankful for the United Way Get Fit Program.  This week I did so much better exercising!  I know I have a long way to go but getting into an exercise routine does so many great things for me.  Obviously, it will assist in my weight loss journey but it’s also so good for me mentally.  Exercise time allows me to destress and prepare for the day.  Getting up in the mornings to exercise isn’t as hard today as it was a couple weeks ago because I kind of look forward to it.  I can plan out my outfit for the day; think about plans for the weekend all while burning calories!!I’m so fortunate to have such a great support system.  Last week my husband went with me to the gym and got up and ran with me on Saturday and Sunday.  It’s hard and neither one of use wanted to do it but together we did it.  There really is strength in numbers!   This program is not only helping me – it’s helping him make better choices as well.  He eats our healthy meals with a smile on his face knowing that these small changes truly will change both of our lives for the better.  Thank you United Way!!

Margaret, GFU Team Member 


Thursday, February 4, 2016

This week was another wonderful week.  Ryan and I made it to the gym four times and to both boot camps!  It was a little sad to hear the news that our boot camp experiences would have to change due to the construction on the bridge!  We felt like a family at those first few boot camps and now we were going to be divided.  This past Tuesday we had boot camp with just the west-bank participants and it was very hard. Andrew did an awesome job!  

Ryan and I both lost a few pounds over the last three weeks.  We are grateful that we have been given this opportunity.  We have learned a lot and are continuing to learn at each meeting.  This week's class about exercise re-emphasized what Andrew and Jenna have been telling us at the Saturday morning gym classes and at boot camp.  

This upcoming week will definitely be a test of will power.  Mardi Gras week is upon us and we need to stay strong and remember all of the advice that Danielle and Andrew have given us about healthy alternatives for snacks and meals on the go.  

Thanks to everyone involved in this program! It is already making a difference in our lives.  We are excited to see what the future will bring! 

Rhonda & Ryan, GFU Team Members


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Week 4: After last week’s weigh in I was very pleased with the results. I know we all wish it would have been more but I have said it before and will say it again this weight did not magically appear overnight and it will not magically disappear overnight! Whew, I made it through the Mardi Gras Holiday. I am so thankful that I actually thought about what I was consuming and the setbacks that it could cause. Yes I did indulged in some not great things however it was in moderation unlike it would have been before this program. HA I used the word indulged…. Funny story my Grandmother has had a frog magnet on her fridge my entire life with a saying “when you indulged you bulge” …. Even though we are on break this week we are still working at it and to me that shows what a life change we are making. Yes I am still very thankful for this opportunity and great things are still coming! 

Laura, GFU Team Member


Wednesday, February, 17, 2016



Wednesday, February 24, 2016

During Session #5 of the Get Fit United program, we learned about the importance of Healthy Snacking!  Danielle started off the class by leading us in a game of "Price is Right - The Healthy Snack version"!  She showed us a variety of snack options and we had to guess based on their stats if the snack was a healthy snack option.  It was very entertaining AND informative!  

United Way of St. Charles provided each person with a Dannon Light & Fit Fruit Smoothie for a snack during class.  Of course, this was one of Danielle's recommended healthy snacks :-)  Class ended with Martin's Fitness tip of the week which showed us how we can still get our exercise in the house using everyday items - ie chair squats, calf raises, etc.  This should come in handy considering the weather interruptions which seem to always affect our Tuesday night boot camp!!

This week's door prize winners were Lakesha Spears, Aline Zeringue, and David Laiche.


Thursday, February 25, 2016

These past 3 weeks were extremely tough. It was definitely a challenge to stay with the program during the Mardi Gras holidays and our camping trip.  We did make a lot of better choices during our holidays.  Instead of snacking on chips and candy, we actually ate fruits and veggies.  We did not get to exercise as much as we wanted to, but we did a least do some.  Monday night I decided to try an RMP class, lets just say I did not keep up with the instructor but I did not stop peddling! It was lots of fun, but the bike seat is definitely something that I am not used to. Then, Andrew decided to change the format of Boot-Camp to Boot-Camp 2.0.  Ryan did too much at the Tuesday Boot-camp and could not return for the Thursday Boot-camp because he had fluid on his knee(the one he just had surgery on).  Thus, he has not been able to do much aerobic exercise since. As luck would have it, Ryan had to go the emergency room last Friday, because of kidney stones.  Thus, it has been really difficult to get exercise into our schedules lately.  

We have been thoroughly enjoying Danielle’s classes.  She is awesome!  It is a lot to take in, but I think that we are slowly getting into the routine of eating and snacking healthy.  Andrew has been awesome with our Boot-camp and with our gym exercises.  I cannot think of anything that I would change.  

Thanks again Kacy and the United Way for making this program happen!


Rhonda and Ryan, GFU Team Members

Tuesday, March 1, 2016



Tuesday, March 1, 2016

In week 6, and I am feeling good. I am continuing to make better food selections and to work-out. I am really enjoying going to the gym, which is something I never thought I would say. I haven’t seen any changes in my body yet, physically, as I had hoped for, but I am sure that is to come with continued dedication. I am definitely getting stronger. I have noticed push-ups have become slightly easier and I can lift more at the gym. I am loving the teamwork and push from other Get Fit United Participants. Rachel inspired me this past Saturday, and we all encourage each other at the weekly boot camps! I love the games Jenna comes up with at boot camp. She makes working out “fun.” I am out of breath just saying boot camp is fun….. :)  It is not easy to lose weight/get healthy. It is a huge time commitment. It takes time to plan my meals and snacks. It takes time to cook.  It takes time to go to the gym. There is no more grab and go’s. But I am loving every (other) minute of it.

Carrie, GFU Team Member



Thursday, March 10, 2016

It’s been a busy couple of weeks with the Get Fit United program!  Our topic for week six was Label Reading 101. Danielle taught us the ins and outs of reading a label correctly and used common items to help us understand what we should and should not be eating. In addition, we had our mid-point weigh in! We are happy to report that as of week six, our group has lost a total of 176 pounds-- more than any other Ochsner Corporate Wellness group has lost in the entire 12-week session!! Also, as part of our week six weigh in, participants received an Acer Leap Fitness Tracker to help them in their continued journey to wellness.

During week seven, we learned about Portion Control. Participants received a Salad Tumbler and measuring spoon to help better understand portions. We learned how portion sizes have changed through the years and how to eyeball portions if we don't have access to our little “helpers”. For example, we learned that our palm size equals about a portion of protein, and our fist size equals a portion of carbs. Very handy advice for eating out! The group is looking forward to next week where we learn about “Healthy Eating on the Go.”





Wednesday, April 13, 2016



The last few weeks of Get Fit United have been a whirlwind!  We have been so busy learning about our health and fitness. One of the lessons that has been really eye-opening for the group was the lesson on “Managing Liquid Calories”. Dietician Danielle brought visual props to class to show how much sugar is in all of the drinks we normally have and how quickly liquid calories add up. Needless to say, I think we all made some changes in that department.


The group also made plans to participate in the United Way of St. Charles “Under the Bridge Run”.  We all wore our Get Fit United shirts, invited our friends and family, and made a day of it. It was such a great feeling to be a part of something that was so much bigger than us. For over half of the group, this was their first ever 5K! It was a huge moment for the group and a great way to show our community what we have been able to accomplish through the Get Fit United program!   


We are looking forward to our final health screenings next week but very sad that the program is coming to an end. It has truly been a life-changing experience, and we aren’t ready for it to be over!    








Thursday, April 20, 2016


Ahhh…where to begin? We had the final session of our very first Get Fit United group last night. As the manager of the program, it’s very hard to choose 37 people to participate in a program like this one. You have no idea if the people you are choosing are going to be committed to the process. You have no way of knowing if the group will have chemistry and will come together as a team. There are so many factors beyond just the program components that can affect the success of the group. One thing I can say is that we must have done something right because this group was the best we could possibly ask for!


It has been truly inspiring to witness the group’s commitment and support for one another. As a whole, the group lost 329.8 lbs, average BMI went down by 2 points, and every major category from cholesterol to waist circumference improved! The group blew away our expectations. We couldn’t imagine this being the end for the group so we added a maintenance program. Each participant will receive a gym membership and weekly training for the next six months. We will keep track of their goals and follow their progress! 


To our very first Get Fit United group – Thank you! Thank you for your participation, support, and encouragement of each other and me! I could not have imagined a better first group of people to start this program off with. This experience has been so rewarding for me, and I know it’s because of you!  So keep up the good work, and we will see you soon!