Alabamians Working their way to a healthy lifestyle

Published: Aug. 14, 2012 at 3:00 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 24, 2012 at 3:01 AM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - According to a new report by the Center for Disease Control, Alabama has the fourth largest population of obese adults.

Mississippi ranks first with almost 35 percent of the population tipping the scale as obese. Louisiana and West Virginia come in second and third. Fourth place is actually good news for Alabama, showing improvements from previous years' rankings. It's a sign that some folks are starting on a healthy living journey.

The journey to a healthier life hasn't been easy for 58-year-old Shirley Smith.

"You want to take a look at yourself and you want to look better and that's what I did," Smith said.

She started working out and eating healthy last summer.

"I was a size 20 when I started coming, now I'm a size 16," Smith said.

She lost 46 pounds. Smith says she is not surprised Alabama is the fourth fattest state in the nation.

"It's brought some of my youthfulness back. I am able to bend now. I used to couldn't run, now I can run. I really have been enjoying it," Smith said.

Erick Haston says seeing other's results motivated him to make a change.

"I lost 54 pounds. First of all you got to say, look I can. I got on a meal plan and I started doing heavy cardio," Haston said.

He is now helping others make the transition to a healthier life as a World's Gym's personal trainer.

Haston says for him and many of his clients being lazy and using food as a comfort was the root of why they were overweight.

"Picking up a lot of bad habits; eating bad; fast foods; anything I can get my hands on and not coming to the gym and working out," Haston said.

And the World's Gym Zumba class shows us how to shed the pounds with a few dance moves, as you burn calories and tone up for a healthy life.

If you want to track your health and fitness goals and see results, visit

The state is promoting weight loss with its annual "Scale Back Alabama" contest.

The Alabama Health Department says 30,000 participants last year lost nearly 149,000 pounds.

Copyright 2012  WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.