Will Hehemann | School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences
Paris Brown does side lunges, one
of the exercises she learned through
UAPB SNAP-Ed programming.
In June 2020, Paris Brown, a 49-year-old resident of St. John Alexander Tower in Pine Bluff, decided to start out on a health and weight loss journey. In just over three months, she has lost 10 pounds thanks to adopting healthy exercise and eating habits.
Brown said she decided to start making more healthy lifestyle changes to achieve a healthier weight and alleviate some of her knee pain. She went from walking in the mall and around the Pine Bluff High School track to walking the stairs at St. John Alexander Tower and around the parking lots.
Brown credits much of her success to her participation in cooking classes offered through the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed). She started participating in the program four years ago after she moved to St. John Alexander Tower and was approached by Marilyn Burch, Extension associate-foods and nutrition for UAPB.
“Thanks to UAPB SNAP-Ed, I learned how to read food labels, cut back on high salt food items and select the best types of fruits,” Brown said. “Using the recipes Ms. Burch provides has been very beneficial. I have also learned to have control and get up from the table when I’m full.”
Burch said she encouraged Brown to start small, set realistic goals and practice patience while waiting for results. She also emphasized that variety and moderation are important parts of establishing a healthy eating pattern.
“Ms. Paris inspires others by living by example,” Burch said. “She is visible with physical activity and as she shares her nutritional successes or challenges with others. She often tells her neighbors and friends about the featured SNAP-Ed recipes she prepares.”
Burch said the main challenges for the people she works with who want to lose weight or be healthier overall include self-control (resisting their food temptations and cravings), time-management and endurance/perseverance.
“One of the most important things for people to remember when they want to adopt new healthy habits is to start small so the body and digestive system can adapt slowly and not be thrown in shock,” Burch said. “It is also important to make a conscience choice to incorporate a new fruit and/or vegetable every week to broaden their food variety.”
People should also remember to extend physical activity every session, she said. For example, if someone does five minutes of walking today, then tomorrow they should add one or two more minutes. It is important to always add to the foundation.
After her months of consistent exercise and weight loss, Brown also has a few practical tips for people looking to get healthier.
“Throw away the salt and eat healthier fruits and vegetables,” she said. “Go power walking after eating instead of eating after power walking. And remember not to eat after 7 p.m.”
UAPB SNAP-Ed is a part of the university’s 1890 Cooperative Extension Program, which currently serves Jefferson, Lincoln, Monroe and Ashley Counties. Its mission includes teaching Arkansans the importance of proper nutrition and physical activity.
For more information on nutrition education, contact Burch at (870) 575-8820 or [email protected]
The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff offers all of its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.