Linda Fondren, one of 11 children born to a single mother in the poorest and fattest state in America, watched the consequences of obesity ruin her sister's life—and was motivated to open an all-female gym in her hometown of Vicksburg, MS, with the motto "positively reshaping women." Then, witnessing how many middle- and low-income Vicksburg residents were brought up short in their fitness and health efforts by limited budgets, time, and access to resources, Fondren responded by striking at the root problem. In 2009, she spearheaded Shape Up Vicksburg, a City Hall–supported program in which she convinced the local hospital to offer free health screenings, restaurants to create healthy low-cal menu options, and Walmart to host weigh-in stations. Fondren signed up more than 2,500 Vicksburg residents to take charge of their health and nutrition—many of them for the first time. They lost more than 15,000 pounds.
Shape Up Sisters! is a get-healthy prescription for regular people with jobs, budgets, and real-life challenges. Fondren offers tactics to incorporate exercise into daily activities, delicious recipes and menus to for eating healthfully on a budget, and motivation for a major attitude shift. She wraps it all in her empowering personal story and the uplifting tales of women who have changed their lives by following her simple strategies.
With Fondren's approachable personality and practical advice, Shape Up Sisters! is both an easy-to-use guide and a bold statement in the greater national narrative about improving health and weight loss across socioeconomic lines.
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