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Campus News
Your faculty and staff news since 1965
Current Issue: September 16, 2002
Volume 38, Number 5

Weight watching at UNM
Meetings held Thursdays at noon

By Laurie Mellas-Ramirez

“Yum. What do you put in them?” a woman asks.

“Lots of coriander and lots of garlic,” the cook replies.

A discussion on how to simmer garbanzo beans to perfection ensues while across the room UNM faculty and staff record their weight at a noon Weight Watchers meeting in Hokona-Zuni Hall.

“How many points a serving?” the woman counters.

At Weight Watchers, points are allotted for food and exercise. Keeping in reach of a day’s winning points will get members to their weight loss goal.

UNM Staff Council Administrative Assistant Karin Retskin scored lots of points with colleagues for bringing the national program to campus. Sandrea Gonzales, director of the Women’s Resource Center, helped launch the on-campus meetings. The center serves as campus sponsor.

A Weight Watchers member for two years maintaining a weight loss of 60 pounds, Retskin discovered through research that other universities offer meetings, some even subsidize the effort as part of campus wellness programs. “I got excited that other schools even had meetings on campus,” she says. “My long term goal is to work with the UNM Benefits Office to include it as part of the PIPP (Pre-Paid Premium Plan).”

About 35 faculty and staff have been members of the campus group since late spring. Combined, they have shed more than 300 pounds. A second 10-week session got underway in August. “We are interested in having more people join us, including students. The meeting is open only to faculty, staff and students,” Retskin says.
Retskin says the benefits of weight loss for employees can be easily measured. “A healthy staff person comes to work everyday,” she notes.

The Internal Revenue Service recently made the cost of commercial diet programs such as Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig tax-deductible if certain qualifications are met. Consult your tax advisor for more information.

For information about how to join UNM’s Weight Watchers group, call 277-1532.