By Linda Fondren
In the never-ending stream of weight loss books coming out every year, it’s a proud moment when you see one come from your own state (a state which unfortunately is commonly known as the fattest state in the country).
Linda Fondren of Vicksburg had watched her sister and so many others suffer with obesity. She also knew that many obese Mississippians are working in low to middle income jobs and feel they do not have the time, money or access to resources to change their lifestyles. In 2009, she decided to get to the root of this problem in her community and establish a program that showed how a healthy lifestyle can be obtained with limited time and resources. She enlisted local businesses to support healthy menus and weigh-ins and set a 17,000 pound weight loss challenge for the city of Vicksburg. Over 2,500 people signed up for Shape Up Vicksburg, and by the end of the challenge, they had lost over 15,000 pounds.
Fondren has received national attention for her efforts and was named a CNN Hero. Today, she continues to inspire her community through her own fitness center and her new book Shape Up Sisters! With inspiring stories from the residents of Vicksburg and practical information on nutrition and exercise, Shape Up Sisters! is destined to improve lives across socioeconomic lines.