"They had me on a starvation calorie count," Cropley said. "It was a yo-yo diet. I lost 30 pounds, then I gained 20 back. Altogether I lost 40 pounds, and it all came back."
Lori Moore, of Kake, had a similar experience.
"If I'd lose 20 pounds, I'd gain it all back," Moore said.
WISE At Every Size is a non-dieting approach to health and wellness. A second round of classes starts in October at several locations around the region. The free classes are open to all adult women, regardless of size, and will be offered in Sitka, Haines, Klukwan, Angoon, Kake and Juneau.
"If you are a woman who wants to develop a healthy relationship with food without dieting, find joy in movement, and improve your body image, then WISE At Every Size is for you," said Health Educator Marci Getz.
Research has shown that this non-diet approach can reduce blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose readings. Past participants also have improved their fitness levels, as measured by a simple step test done at the start and end of the series of classes. Women who complete the program requirements can earn a $50 gift certificate.
"It was pretty beneficial. I'm tasting the flavor of the food because I'm taking more time with my meals," said Cropley, a former chef who recommended the class to three friends in Sitka and plans to repeat it herself. "Now I savor the food. I chew it and taste it so I can enjoy the textures and different flavors."
Moore said she has already told her friends in Kake about the class.
"We still talk about the numbers on the hunger scale, the fullness scale," she said. "I'm more in tune with whether I am really hungry. If I'm full I need to stop eating. I'm eating smaller meals instead, and I'm more energetic."
Both women showed significant improvement in the step test they took during the first class and again at the last class. Cropley said her blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels all were good, but she has diabetes in her family that she's trying to avoid. She also said she liked the way the program incorporated Native foods into the program.
Another past participant was Sharon McIndoo of Sitka and Angoon, who described the class as "a great program."
"It taught me about intuitive eating, and that every 'body' has different fitness levels, no matter what we look like on the outside," she said. "I learned to get joyful movement into my daily routine and I enjoy being a role model."
To learn more about the WISE At Every Size program in general, contact Marci at 966-8896 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the SEARHC WISEWOMAN toll-free number, 1-888-388-8782.
Marci also is the contact person for the two different classes that will be taught in Sitka - one she will teach from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Thursday evenings from Oct. 2 to Nov. 6 at the Sitka Pioneer Home Chapel, and one taught by Renae Mathson from noon to 1 p.m. on Mondays from Oct. 6 through Dec. 22 at the Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital Litehouse Cafeteria Conference Rooms.
In Juneau, Kim Meadows (364-4451) and Christy Wallace (364-4457) will teach a class from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Thursdays from Oct. 2 to Nov. 13 at the Riverbend Community Center (Riverbend Apartments, 2800 Postal Way).
In Kake, Georgie Reese (785-7190) and Dinah Aceveda will teach their first class from 6-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 21, at the SEARHC Wellness Building.
In Haines and Klukwan, Pam Sloper (766-6367) will teach classes at times this fall (times to be announced).
In Angoon, Doreen McCluskey (788-4637) will teach classes. Times will be announced this fall.