Fit Club designed by Louie’s Kids and based on best practice programs from some of America’s leading clinicians and weight loss experts. We integrate program components that have been recommended and proven effective by the American Diabetes Association, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fit Club was designed for Title I schools in an after-school environment to fight childhood obesity.
The program includes nutritional education; a daily regimen of physical activity and, perhaps most importantly, cognitive behavioral therapy in a group setting. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, is widely used by therapists to identify and monitor thoughts, assumptions, beliefs and behaviors that are related to and accompanied by debilitating negative emotions and to identify those which are dysfunctional, inaccurate, or simply unhelpful. CBT was primarily developed out of Behavior Modification and has become widely used to change fundamental ideas about weight loss in obese people.
- Fit Club meets 2 days per week over a 4-month program
- Fit Club lasts 2.5 hours each day (1 hour 20 minutes for group therapy, 1 hour for physical fitness and 20 minutes for nutrition education)
- We add on one elective day of group activity (normally Saturday mornings)
- We strongly encourage and promote parental support by calling parents and kids throughout the week, sending information home, such as recipes, activities to participate in together and tips for healthy eating and weight-loss.
- Our “10-20-30” model is simple for kids and families to embrace and follow. (10,000 steps per day, no more than 20 grams of fat and at least 30 grams of fiber). Each of these components have been proven effective in weight loss as well as in the prevention of diseases like diabetes and heart disease which effect nearly 50% of Title I school children across America.
We begin with pedometers and encourage 10,000 steps per day as recommended by the CDC and the American Heart Association. This is around 5 miles per day for the average person and this is easy and can be tracked daily by children. Then a continual progression is provided the students with new, comfortable exercises. Each exercise and activity is designed to challenge, but also to motivate and encourage the participants to perform to the best of their abilities. There is an emphasis on activities which the participants are already comfortable with performing. The idea is to take an already comfortable activity or exercise and provide modifications to challenge the participants, not to discourage them. We hope to inspire children to try a variety of physical fitness opportunities with a group of children just like themselves, “unlocking the potential athlete” within each child.
The nutritional instruction is based on healthy snacking and the 20 grams of fat intake per day model. “Journey Books” are used to record children’s daily fat and fiber intake and the Journey Books are the link in the CBT training with their therapist.
Kids are taught through weekly exercises, handouts and hands-on learning that snacking can be part of a balanced diet. As recommended by the American Heart Association as well as American Diabetes Association, snacking, or eating small portions between meals, provides your body with energy to keep you going throughout the day. Kids learn as well that healthy snacks provide fiber and nutrients your body needs. Children in Fit Club, with the help of a Fit Club nutrition assistant, learn that snacking can curb the feeling of hunger or starvation right before a meal, which prevents overeating. Children will also learn that snacking may help you eat smaller portions and reduce your calorie intake as well as that eating smaller meals more often may help them stay on track. Members of Fit Club will begin each session with a piece of fresh fruit and will be provided a high-fiber, low-fat snack and plenty of water in every session.
The behavioral therapy is based on the principals of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Children will meet in groups of no more than 15 with a trained behavioral therapist to discuss issues and emotions connected to their being overweight or obese. Through the behavioral component of Fit Club, participants learn a great deal about dieting, food, eating and journaling or self-monitoring. Through the “Journey Books” (or journals) and with the 10, 000 steps per day, 20 grams of fat and 30 grams of fiber method, children in Fit Club have the therapist to keep them accountable and to support them, thus invariably raising their self-esteem and sharing their “like experiences” with their peers often struggling with the same or similar issues. Through Fit Club these children will learn to decrease their fear of hunger and cravings because of uncomfortable states or situations. They will learn how to recognize often detrimental thoughts they have that get in their way of implementing healthy habits into their daily lifestyles.
A level system is also introduced to keep kids on track, recognize performance and enhance the teamwork environment that Fit Club basis much of their success on. Children will be rewarded “red stars” each week for being on time, participating in group and in fitness as well as recording fat and fiber grams in their “journey books” each week. The red stars will result each month in a level ceremony that will reward those children excelling with additional wellness opportunities outside of Fit Club and throughout their neighborhoods. Past level rewards were walking trips to local aquariums, boat tours through state wilderness parks and other physical fitness focused activities like skating, swimming and jump rope.