There was a time when Beverly Kenworthy weighed 240 pounds and was bursting the seams of her size 16 clothes.
Today she wears a size 2 nicely.
And she wants to help her neighbors do the same.
Kenworthy is chairing Strongsville Weighs Less, a citywide initiative led by the Strongsville Women's League aimed at helping people get healthier and lose weight. Participants will weigh in between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Jan. 8 at the r, 18100 Royalton Rd., to kick off a three-month contest, with prizes for those who drop the most pounds.
But Kenworthy, who talked with organizers of similar programs all over the country, said she found "the ones that did well offered some type of support in addition to a contest where you came back and got weighed in three months."
So Strongsville Weighs Less will offer bi-weekly sessions with authors, physicians and fitness experts to educate and motivate participants toward a healthier lifestyle.
Starting with a health fair at the rec center during the Jan. 8 weigh-in, the speakers will include Kaiser psychiatrist Sara L. Stein, who lost 100 pounds and wrote "Obese from the Heart;" Susan Albers, a Cleveland Clinic psychologist who authored "Eating Mindfully;" and other area doctors.
Jeff Ellis of , Bryan McIntosh of Dynamic Fitness and representatives from will give fitness demonstrations.
"We're trying to offer a lot of alternatives to get people moving," Kenworthy said.
The program is open to anyone who lives or works in Strongsville. Participants can register online at strongsvilleweighsless.org or can do so on Jan. 8. Everyone who participates must weigh in. There will be a second-chance weigh-in from 4-7 p.m. Jan. 10 as a convenience for people who work in Strongsville and for those who missed the first one.
Kenworthy said on the Strongsville Weighs Less website the program will put "everyone who is in the same lonely boat aboard the same ship."
And that's the beauty of the citywide effort, she said -- that everywhere you turn, you'll run into other people who are also trying to lose weight and get healthier.
"If you're grocery shopping and have cookies in your cart, someone will see you," she said. "If you want to buy junk food, you'll have to shop outside of Strongsville."