It's not so much about tracking the pounds; it's about prompting the action, getting people to move, getting communities to move so that we are all helping each other. Because if we're not helping each other, my goodness, we might as well hang it up.”
“If you’re not healthy, you’re not happy.” With this simple but powerful mantra, Linda Fondren has been changing lives in Vicksburg, Mississippi. It’s never easy to lose weight, but with the right motivation it is possible. In her hometown of 24,000 people, Linda has made it her mission to help her community get fit and healthy.
Inspired by her own sister’s untimely death due to complications related to obesity and diabetes, Linda knew she had to do something to help future generations lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle.
She took the first step by becoming a certified personal trainer and opened her own gym called Shape Up Sisters, which offers a free day each Saturday. Even with the gym’s success, Linda wanted to do more. So in the fall of 2009, she asked the mayor, other city officials, and even local restaurants to make health a top priority—and then challenged the people of Vicksburg to lose a total of 17,000 pounds in 17 weeks.
More than 2,500 people participated in Linda’s Shape Up Vicksburg initiative.
“I turned a weight-loss challenge into a life-transformation challenge,” says Linda. “It’s not so much about tracking the pounds; it’s about prompting the action, getting people to move, getting communities to move so that we are all helping each other. Because if we’re not helping each other, my goodness, we might as well hang it up.”
By August of 2010, the citizens of Vicksburg had lost more than 15,000 pounds. They reached their goal of 17,000 pounds within the following few months.
Linda continues to keep the momentum going by offering free nutrition classes and fitness activities, including a once-a-month walk around the city of Vicksburg for anyone who wants to join.
Through the community’s loss of weight have come gains in self-esteem, energy and a sense of bright optimism for the future. Now that’s fitness—of body, mind and spirit.
Fitness. Pass It On!
This billboard about fitness features Linda Fondren.
Watch Linda Fondren tell her story about why she decided to motivate her community to become more fit.
After seeing this billboard I was inspired to take the challenge so for 2 months I got 20 female friends to agree and start a healthier life of self care through healthier eating and exercise - thanks for the inspiration
AJ about 1 month ago from Brooklyn
Wow! You’ve certainly done a great job by posting this bit of information for the benefit of us viewers. It’s so great to know that the Internet is not a dumb place after all.c
DennisParker 2 months ago from singapore
that's absolutely amazing inspire me some more!
brittney sampsel 5 months ago from mansfield ohio
All of these stories really inspire me.
Kate 5 months ago from River Forest, Illinois
wow thats great
Jennyfer 6 months ago from ohio
You are so right, that if you're not healthy, you're not truly happy. This hit home for me as I continue to work on self esteem and fitness which is all connected to health!
Max 7 months ago from Atlanta
This is great. I love it! Fitness is a lifestyle, not a choice! Way to go!
Tony Edmond 8 months ago from Pensacola, Florida
lets start a chane reaction
morgan 10 months ago from oklahoma
You have inspired me in so many ways.
Tara 11 months ago from Platteville, WI
Miss Linda i am greatful what you are doing. God will be happy what you are doing helping your people out and WE LOVE YOU ! :)
Leneesha 11 months ago from Daytona beach .fl
God bless you in your efforts, this is something i will ask my community to do, since we are number 1 in all of the wrong categories.
a. kelly about 1 year ago from bridgeton, New Jersey
What a wonderful idea. In helping others help always comes back to you!
I'm inspired and motivated. Thanks!
Marykim about 1 year ago from Rockledge, Florida
You are an amazing woman, worthy of imitation!! I would like to lose some weight. Do you know where in Des Moines..?
Ivonne Elliott about 1 year ago from Des Moines, Iowa
I think that what you did was awesome!
Mylady over 1 year ago from New Britain CT
It looks as if Linda has really started to motivate people to improve their lives, great job and keep up the good work.
Dwan Henderson almost 2 years ago from MS
Mrs. Fondren the Goodlow Family are very Proud of YOU!
Kimball Goodlow almost 2 years ago from Vicksburg, MS
Bless you and the work you're doing to make people happier in themselves in every respect. Now, when you get done there and everybody's living a better healthy lifestyle, you can please come to Ireland and do the same for these lovely people who were never overweight before the onslaught of the fast-food emporiums. Thank you for caring for your fellow Mississippians and for your fellow man. You are, as they say here, "a star"! Keep up the good work, Linda, and reach out to Ireland if you can...God knows we need you!
God Bless the Work, (and the worker)
Joan Dugan about 2 years ago from County Clare, Ireland
I think it's great that, instead of blaming people, organizations, etc. - something that is really easy to do - Linda decided to make herself part of the solution. Kudos!
Pam about 2 years ago from NC
Love the clip!!!!! It's nice to have someone else care about you and your health especially a complete stranger.
Christina Goodlow about 2 years ago from Mississippi
At a time of ugly national political rhetoric, Linda offers us a renewal of the spirit that Americans are most known for--reaching out and helping others. How wonderful that she continues to inspire overweight people who may have given up otherwise.
Linda about 2 years ago from Oregon