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James Clemens students ‘coach’ teachers for Scale Back Alabama

Published 7:37pm Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Food and nutrition classes at James Clemens High School are ‘coaching’ their teachers for Scale Back Alabama.

A statewide campaign, Scale Back Alabama promotes weight loss and exercise.

While watching “The Biggest Loser,” teacher Sherri Shamwell decided that her students would apply food pyramid, weight loss and fitness concepts. Teachers participating in Scale Back Alabama agreed “to let my kids act as coaches,” Shamwell said.

For their assigned teachers, students calculated body mass index and made place mats with food pyramid facts. On “Fast Friday,” students and teachers share a short ‘recess’ for joint walks, nutritious lunches or shooting basketballs.

James Clemens teachers are losing weight “because we want to be good role models for our students,” Shamwell said. “One of my students took it upon herself to apply what she learned in class. She has lost 17 pounds on her own.”

For Shamwell, that success “makes it all worth the effort. Kids internalize and apply what they’re learning in class to their own personal lives.”

Art teacher Liz Vaughn is using a portion-control diet instead of restricting particular foods. “I go to the Health and Wellness Center at Madison Hospital four or five days per week and do 30 minutes of cardio and 20-30 minutes of weight training,” Vaughn said.

Math teacher Lee Jeffreys plans to lose as much weight as possible. “My goal is to reach the body fat requirement to enlist in the National Guard this summer,” Jeffreys said.

Jeffreys’ meal plan relies on about six small meals daily: breakfast by 7 a.m., protein shake at 10 a.m., lunch by 1 p.m., protein at 4 p.m. and supper by 7 p.m. Meals consist of lean protein, green vegetables and complex carbohydrates. “I do allow three ‘cheat’ meals on weekends,” Jeffreys said.

Jogging is Jeffreys’ main exercise. “I’ll be integrating a workout designed for the military physical test. Many students have been encouraging me while I run at school. Even some track team members have invited me to their workouts,” Jeffreys said.

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