The temperature outside may still be soaring, but school is back in session and football games are on the horizon. That can only mean one thing – the holidays are not too far behind, along with our promises not to overindulge.


Jamy Ard, left, and Debbie Strong talk with Corey Wiggins about the inaugural “Lose 25 by the 25th EatRight Health Challenge,” which begins Sept. 10 and ends Dec. 19.

Instead of waiting until New Year’s Day to begin that weight-loss regimen – after the holiday turkey, dressing and desserts have been devoured – change your lifestyle now through programs offered by UAB’s EatRight Weight Management Services.

The inaugural “Lose 25 by the 25th EatRight Health Challenge” begins Sept. 10, and Jamy Ard, M.D., director of EatRight, wants you to use the challenge to give yourself the gift of better health.

To lose 25 by Dec. 25, a person would need to lose a little less than two pounds per week. “Most people should be able to lose that kind of weight,” Ard says. “Losing two pounds a week is reasonable and simple to do using our programs.”

The challenge number 25 includes more than pounds. Lowering other indicators of health risk such as blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar or reducing your waistline makes you eligible to receive a gift card for $250.

“This is a health challenge that goes beyond losing weight,” Ard adds. “It’s about developing a healthier lifestyle. We want to give UAB’s faculty, staff and students the opportunity to be successful at being healthy during a time of year when most people traditionally aren’t focused on that.

“What better gift to give yourself this holiday season than a new outlook on life and a new commitment to a healthy lifestyle?” 

Sign up soon
Group classes for the EatRight Challenge begin Monday, Sept. 10. Registration runs through Sept. 28, and the contest ends Dec. 19. EatRight class members automatically are eligible to participate in the contest, and discounts are available to those who join its programs and participate in the challenge.

To participate you need to join one of the following programs: EatRight Lifestyle, EatRight OPTIFAST, EatRight Worksite Wellness or EatRight Maintenance. The Lifestyle program is discounted $50, and OPTIFAST participants will receive a $250 credit toward products. Other special pricing is available for those who participate in the challenge.

“We’re also extending our usual class lengths to 15 weeks from 12 weeks.” Ard says. “We want this to be fun. We want UAB’s faculty, staff and students to be energized for this campaign. We’ve made it easy for people to qualify for the opportunity to win prizes, and anyone who wants to improve their health is eligible to participate.”

Rules, bonus points
Each participant must obtain their baseline measurements on or before Sept. 28, and any desired lab work must be taken within three months of the start date. For each 25 points accumulated in the challenge, participants will receive one chance for the grand prize drawing.

Points will be awarded for reductions in several health indicators, including systolic and diastolic blood pressure, blood glucose, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, waist circumference and weight. Bonus points are awarded for behaviors such as keeping a record of food intake and attending group sessions.
“We understand you may not need to lose 25 pounds; you may need to only lose 10 to 15 pounds,” Ard says. “Every participant – regardless of how much weight they want to lose – may be eligible for the prizes at the end of the program.” 

Other activities
EatRight is introducing two free, interactive activities during the campaign.

The first is the Walking Breaks program. Beginning Sept. 4, EatRight will coordinate 15-minute walking breaks across campus on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; the breaks will begin at 11:25 a.m., 12:25 p.m. and 1:25 p.m.

EatRight also will host free monthly cooking demonstrations to help you learn to prepare healthier foods. Local chefs will provide tips on modifying recipes for a healthier lifestyle.

To learn more about the challenge, designated walking locations and scheduled demonstrations, visit or call EatRight Weight Management Services at 934-7053.