Josh ride for WellnessCampaign.org

$3,525 of $3,500 goal

Raised by 42 people in 20 months
Josh Bernoff
for Wellness Campaign Inc
 ARLINGTON, MA
Imagine that you held the secret to making America healthier. What would you do to get that secret out?

Here's what I'm going to do: on July3, 2016, I will ride my bike 84 miles from Arlington, Mass. to Falmouth, Cape Cod. That's my part. Your part is to chip in a little cash to help us scale up a successful program that promises to make thousands of people much fitter and healthier.

When I'm not being an author, I'm the volunteer CEO of WellnessCampaign.org, a registered non-profit organization dedicated to improving people's lives through wellness and weight loss. The brains of this operation are Dr. Wayne Altman, a primary care doctor and professor at the Tufts Medical School, and Kerri Hawkins, a registered dietitian.


Dr. Altman and Kerri Hawkins run 20-week programs in which they teach people how to change their health habits and support each other. It's not some radical diet -- it's all common-sense stuff about healthy eating, exercise, cooking, stress-management, sleep, and getting the support you need. And because we are a non-profit, our only interest in seeing people get permanently better.


And it works. Of more than 160 people who have taken the program, 61% had significant weight loss (including me). More importantly, 2/3 of those people kept most of the weight off, one, two, and even three years later. Our objective is permanent change in habits and wellness, and we're acheiving it.

We've already rolled out our program to one other medical practice. Now we want to expand it further and train lots of other medical professionals to run the program and get similar results.

To do that, we need an online platform where people in groups can support each other (we call it the Portal to Wellness). That's my project, and I need to fund it. Building and running that platform is where the money will go.

Just to be sure there is no confusion -- none of these funds will go to me or my partners. It will all go to wellnesscampaign.org, to fund our online platform.

You can follow my journey July 3 on Twitter (@jbernoff ) and on Facebook  -- use the hashtag #JoshRide4WC.

Please help us go big with this thing. You'll be helping a lot of people to have much happier, healthier lives.

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Thanks for all your support!

I left at 5:30 in the morning on Sunday, July 3. 88 miles and 11 hours later, I arrived in Falmouth, tired but very happy.

You can read my account of the trip here, with photos.

http://withoutbullshit.com/blog/88-mile-ride-massachusetts/

Thanks to everyone who supported me. I'll update you on the status of our community platform soon.


My early-morning companion
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Thank you all so much! I have reached my fundraising goal. We are already piloting the community platform at Wellness Campaign, so we're well on our way to helping people with these funds.

My bike training is nearly complete. The weather forecast for Sunday is clear. All systems go!

Check Twitter or Facebook on Sunday for #JoshRide4WC to track my progress. I'll post photos of my ride and the beauty of Massachusetts.
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Did a training ride to West Bridgewater (on my path to the cape) on Saturday.

72 miles in 6 hours 12 minutes.

I can do this!
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Today, I talk about what WellnessCampaign does, and why I need your help.

If the weight loss industry really worked, it would put itself out of business. But there is a way out of this contradiction. It's not easy, but the problem of weight loss is fixable. You could even help fix it.

Two out of three adults are overweight or obese. Some of us are happy to be that way, and that's fine -- I'm not out to shame anyone. But most of us would like to change -- and since we're at higher risk for diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer, it's worth the effort. But despite huge amounts of effort, the problem is stubborn.

It's not a matter of will power. Bodies, once overweight, try to get back to where they were. This is a fundamentally hard problem. If we could solve it, we'd save billions in health care, but equally important, we'd change the quality of life for tens of millions of people.

At the center of the treatment problem is a question of objectives. Specifically:

People want to lose weight quickly, rather than permanently. Quick results are temporary, because people cannot stay on a diet forever. The focus should be on long-term success.

People want to get thin, rather than less fat. But for health benefits, a person who loses 20 pounds, but is still overweight, is far better off. The goal should be improvement, not perfection.

People focus on eating, rather than their whole situation in context. Eating is at the center of cultural and family traditions that extend far beyond the plate. You can't change eating without addressing the holistic elements of culture.

Because there is no profit in slow improvement and cultural change -- it's hard to do, and hard for companies to monetize -- there is no "slow health improvement" industry. Weight Watchers succeeds if you continually fail and come back. LoseIt! and other apps can't surround people with the help they need. Doctors and hospitals try, but there is no program they can implement that consistently succeeds.

There is no magic pill. But there is a way to do this better. I've seen it. Here are some statistics from one program that's working in Arlington, Massachusetts:

In this program, 168 participants lost an average of 16.6 pounds, and 61% of patients lost at least 5% of their body weight. This is typical of other weight loss programs.

However, 69% of participants maintained most of that weight loss a year later. Even three years out, out of the 50 participants that were still tracked, 71% maintained most of the weight loss. That is far from typical.

That's permanent change. It's imperfect and not universal, but overall, more successful than anything else out there. The program is called wellnesscampaign.org, and it's a pretty different approach. People learn, not just facts, but habits, over a 20-week period in small groups of 18-20. Here's what's different about it:

It's non-profit. As a result, it's free from the profit-making part of the industry, which has a vested interest in people failing and coming back.
It's focused on habits. Habits are sustainable, diets and "will power" are not.

It addresses cultural elements that go beyond eating. Participants learn about shopping, cooking, family support, restaurant eating, and hunger. People learn to change everything about how they think about food and wellness.

It's not based on special diets or proprietary fads. All the exercise and food advice is based on mainstream dietetic science, like reducing red meat and sugar and adding vegetables.

It integrates other healthy behaviors. Participants learn about exercise, movement, stress, and sleep. They change how they think about themselves, not just what they put in their mouths.

It succeeds through community support. Participants, through an email list, share their successes, challenges, and triumphs over temptation. One participant may remind the others that it is evening and there's no more snacking. Or another may ask for help with a particular issue, like preparing for a family feast. Since people are going through the challenges at the same time, they are well equipped to help each other.

These elements, taken together, are unique. The result of one of these groups is 18-20 people who are somewhat less overweight, but permanently so. That's unprecedented.
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Jose Banuelos
20 months ago

A great cause worthy of support!

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$3,525 of $3,500 goal

Raised by 42 people in 20 months
Created June 6, 2016
Funds raised will benefit:
Wellness Campaign Inc
  Certified Charity
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Woburn, MA
EIN: 471004643
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Jose Banuelos
20 months ago

A great cause worthy of support!

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