Faculty brings Weight Watchers to campus

Group meets weekly to stay healthy, reduce stress, encourages people at WSU to join

CHLOE GRUNDMEIER, Evergreen reporter

WSU wants to offer its faculty, staff and students as many options to stay healthy in ways that work for them. One wellness program that helps Cougs lose weight and stay healthy is the Weight Watchers at Work group.

The WSU-Pullman branch of this group was started last September and meets on campus during lunch so those involved don’t have to go out of their way to get the help and support they need.

Anita Young, an administrative assistant in the College of Hospitality and Business Management at WSU, started the group after discussing her weight concerns with others in her department. She quickly realized having a group at work would be convenient and beneficial to her and many of her colleagues.

“The group provides support and encouragement and absolutely no competitiveness,” Young said. “We can talk about our own struggles and exchange ideas for how to find success. Plus, we all really enjoy the social aspect of getting to spend an hour with people who are going through the same things we are.”

Susan Cao, a CAHNRS project specialist, joined the group in January and has lost just under 50 pounds in six months thanks to the group.

“I learned about eating habits and how to make better food choices,” Cao said.

The group has become a way for her to find self-care and “me time” every week, Cao said.

“I’m working with so many other people and have a lot of responsibilities, at home I’m a wife and a mother,” she said. “But Thursdays at lunch are when I really get to take care of me.”

Cao said this self-care time is important for everyone to find because during stressful times in life health can take a backseat and bad eating and exercise habits can form.

Cao has personally seen many college students allow these bad habits to form during their time at WSU, causing them to gain “the freshman 15.” Cao and Young both want students to know they are welcome to attend meetings and join the group so they can reduce these habits.

“It’s so much easier to stop habits right at the beginning of when they start,” Cao said. “The freshman 15 is real and sometimes it can make students even more stressed and unhappy. It’s much harder to get back to good choices decades after they’ve been solidified than right when they’re forming.”

The WSU Weight Watchers at Work meet at noon every Thursday in Todd Hall 339. Prospective members are encouraged to attend one meeting for free before paying the Weight Watcher fee which costs around $150 for the 12-week program that starts July 26. The meetings are open to any WSU faculty, staff and students.

“It’s a great sense of community. I think of it as a lunch date that talks not only about weight loss but anything else in our lives,” Cao said. “Weight loss is something most people can’t do alone, so doing it with a group of friends makes it much easier.”