In a push to promote healthy living and eating, area churches are offering FREE fitness and nutrition programs.  More and more people are moving towards being healthy by eating better and adding an exercise routine into their day-to-day.  Though some may want to make those changes to their lifestyle, having access to information, programs or gyms can be difficult.  If you add a lack of transportation and limited funds to pay for expensive foods and gym fees, turning over a new leaf could be next to impossible.

Realizing good health is the perfect antidote for a happy congregation and community, KPLC 7 reports area churches are incorporating fitness training and nutrition programs into their normal operations. This is certainly good news as Calcasieu parish has an obesity rate of 37%.

Throne of Grace Fellowship in Lake Charles, has begun a wellness program that's got the whole congregation excited.  Thanks to Sharmita Rideau and her K.I.S.S. PROJECT, the whole family can transform their eating habits and participate in fitness routines together.

Rideau told KPLC 7, she launched the K.I.S.S. PROJECT in 2013 as a way to encourage women to get fit and enjoy a better quality of life by improving their overall health.  The initials for program stood for, 'Keep It Simple Sister,' and it excelled as one of the areas leading fitness programs.

photo by Sharmita Rideau via Townsquare Media
K.I.S.S. PROJECT Program Director Sharmita Rideau

Today the program is still part of Southwest Louisiana's Dare to Be Healthy Initiative, however the target audience has grown by leaps and bounds.  Now it's open to everyone, being funded by the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury and offered at area churches. Rideau explained, "We decided to go ahead and go to our churches in our community and so now we call it 'Keep It Simple Saints.'"

According to KPLC 7, Pastor Wilton Red at Throne of Grace Fellowship said incorporating a fitness program at his church was a natural fit. Pastor Red revealed he started the "Kingdom Challenge" six years ago in an effort to get his congregation to lose 1,000 pounds, which they did.  The concept was simple, church members need to be healthy in order to serve the community best.

The K.I.S.S. PROJECT is a 10 week program and includes group exercises two days a week.  Also included are nutrition classes with LSU Ag Center dietitian, Shatonia McCarty, once a week.

McCarty helps bring the whole program full circle by showing participants the proper foods to eat, in order to get and keep results from the weekly fitness routines.  Healthy living is a lifestyle so "we go over fats, sugar, salt," said McCarty. "We learn to read nutrition labels. Balancing their meal, eating in moderation foods that they love, eat those in moderation. Also, making sure that they portion control their foods."

FYI, the program will be at Throne of Grace Fellowship in Lake Charles until March. The next stop, will be at Victory Worship in Sulphur.  To learn more click here or email Sharmita Rideau.

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