BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Hundreds of Biloxi residents are about to lighten up thanks to a community weight-loss challenge.
"The whole point of the Lighten Up Biloxi program and all our Lighten Up programs is to try to provide opportunities for people to go out and kick start their health journey," organizer Kelsey Keel explained.
The free, eight-week program by Let's Go Gulf Coast started in Ocean Springs and Pascagoula last year. Organizations like Anytime Fitness have partnered with the group to offer special programs for participants.
The essence of the program is the calendar that lists all the free events that everyone can go to with their participant card.
The sign ups begin with a screening, a weigh in, and consultation for those at risk for diabetes - like Kristen King of Woolmarket.
"It would definitely benefit greatly because I found I have pre-diabetes," she said. "So, to be able to get that under control and lose five to seven percent of my body weight, that would be awesome."
Nicionna Campbell has lost about 30 pounds at a boot camp at the Kroc Center, and she's ready to take it to the next level.
"I feel healthy for the most part, but I know as a person I need to change some things," she said. "In Mississippi, we need to do better about our health, so, I'm going to do that."
The program drew 450 participants in Ocean Springs. Pascagoula had almost 600.
"It's really rewarding seeing people come back that have lost weight or they feel better. They feel healthier," Keels said. "I have a passion just for trying to improve our communities. Health is really important. Sometimes people think they're too busy to focus on their health. So, I just try to step in and make it as easy as possible."
Sign ups continue Friday from 7am to 10am at the Donal Snyder Center.