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July 14, 2009

Media Contact: Hannah Buchanan
Public Affairs Specialist
News and Information
The University of Texas at Tyler

The Weight is Over: UT Tyler Provides Pilot Weight-Loss Program for University Community

The selected group walk on campus as part of their workout routine.

Participants walk on campus as part of their workout routine. Below, various exercises were a part of boot camps held every Friday during the six-week weight-loss program, "The Weight is Over."

Sue Gossett, an administrative associate within The University of Texas at Tyler Department of Assessment and Institutional Effectiveness, enjoys a daily exercise routine, but she wanted a new challenge.

Gossett, along with a selected group in the UT Tyler community, found that challenge in The Weight is Over, a pilot weight-loss program based on the hit NBC television show “The Biggest Loser.” Sponsored by the UT Tyler Department of Health and Kinesiology, Rec Sports and Herrington Patriot Center staff, the intensive, six-week program focused on areas of fitness, nutrition, motivation and lifestyle changes, such as sleeping habits and eating choices.

“I was getting in a rut with what I was doing and needed that challenge to be pushed harder,” said Gossett. “I feel this is important because both my parents died in their early ages of 58 and 62. I want to be here to enjoy my four grandkids and also try to keep up with them.”

Participants play with weight balls during workouts.

UT Tyler HPC staff and semi-personal trainers were available to assist with scheduled work-outs, weekly weigh-ins, fitness classes, counseling and diet analysis. Health and fitness assessments were held May 19 – 22 and July 6 – 10.

“We thought it would be something great to try here and to help start people on the right foot,” said Kristee Phelps, program co-coordinator and head volleyball coach. “This program is not about telling people, ‘You need to lose weight.’ It’s about making lifestyle changes for overall better health.”

Participants were selected and evaluated based upon current health and significant risk factors. According to Phelps, the pilot program was a success, with a 75 percent participation rate for the six-week period.

“We are already thinking about extending this to cover fall and spring semesters and continue this every summer for the university community,” Phelps said. “I know some in the group plan to continue this throughout this summer.” 

According to Dr. Howard Patterson, UT Tyler vice president for student affairs, the program “came along at the time right time.” He not only supports the program, but also was selected to participate.

“The program was well designed and thought out, and I needed something to kick start a weight loss program and improve my eating habits,” said Patterson, who lost about 20 pounds and was one of the most successful applicants. “The Weight is Over provided our employees and students with a chance to learn more about the combined roles diet and exercise play in weight loss and a healthy lifestyle. It is my hope that this will become a regular program, and that faculty, staff and students will take advantage of the opportunity to make a positive difference in their lifestyles and health,” he added.

Dr. Catherine Ross, UT Tyler associate professor of English, became encouraged on several levels after completing the program.

“I have tried for several years on my own to get myself on a healthier exercise and nutrition regimen, but I always failed after a few days. This looked like a chance to get the support and encouragement I needed to stay with it,” Ross said.

“Thanks to this program, I got to meet and spend quality time with people I’d never met before – even though I’ve been at UT Tyler for 10 years,” Ross added. “I feel a lot more at home in the Herrington Patriot Center now, too. It isn’t just a place for our athletes. An English professor can go there and not feel like a fish out of water.”

For more information, contact Phelps, 903.565.5603, or Bob Hepler, HPC director and cross country/track coach, 903.565.5571.


One of the 15 campuses of the UT System, UT Tyler offers excellence in teaching, research, artistic performance and community service. Nearly 90 undergraduate and graduate degrees are available at UT Tyler, which has an enrollment of more than 6,000 high-ability students at its campuses in Tyler, Longview and Palestine.

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