CAMP RED CLOUD, South Korea - More than 20 spouses gathered for the first Area I "Keeping Off Pounds In Korea" meeting at the Camp Red Cloud Pear Blossom Family Outreach Center March 16.

Donna Winzenried, a military spouse, founded the KOPIK program after she gained weight when she first arrived in Korea.

Winzenried said the program is designed to help Family members develop good fitness and eating habits while in country.

"Three years ago, I gained 15 pounds as soon as I arrived here," said Winzenried, a native of Monroe, La. "So, I made a group with my friends who care about their own and Family's health. As a group, we shared information about health and nutrition and went shopping for better food. This was the beginning of the monthly KOPIK meeting, actively held in (U.S. Army Garrison) Yongsan.

"I am here to introduce our program since I thought it would be great for these meetings to be held in other places."

As part of the program, Winzenried cooked low-fat tomato and potato soups, healthier alternates to fatty foods.

While the soup was boiling, a member of KOPIK, who lost 98 pounds after joining the program, encouraged the spouses to stay healthy and never give up on the better life waiting for them. She recommended participants work out one hour every day, reduce portions of high-calorie foods and focus on eating more raw, unprocessed, natural foods such as fruits and vegetables. She also emphasized the benefits of working out as a group.

Capt. Donna Goodson, chief of Clinical Dietetics at the 121st Combat Support Hospital at U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan, introduced eating habits which can keep everyone in shape.

"I volunteered for the meeting to help spouses in Korea increase their knowledge in nutrition," the Louisiana native said. "The best way to keep in shape is by controlling the amount of high calorie foods such as fast foods and desserts."

Goodson also suggested some ways to make healthy snacks for children such as frozen bananas with yogurt as dip, apple slices with peanut butter spread and small baked potatoes with reduced fat cheddar cheese and salsa.

After lunch, spouses burned some calories with Zumba dance lessons from certified Area I instructors.

"Zumba is more like a dance party rather than an exercise, so I like to remind those in my class to just have fun knowing that they're losing pounds at the same time," said Kathleen Walsh, a Warrior Country certified Zumba instructor.

When the first Area I KOPIK meeting came to an end, attendees left with their hunger satisfied and knowledge to help them live a healthier lifestyle.

"I loved the low-calorie tomato soup, so I just called my husband and promised him that I would cook it for him," said Brittany Henderson, a Warrior Division Family member. "I hope they continue to have these KOPIK meetings here in Area I permanently so I can learn more on a regular basis."
Winzenried added that they will soon hold KOPIK meetings on Camp Humphreys and Camp Walker, so the program goes peninsula-wide.

"In order to 'keep off pounds in Korea,' working as a group is better than struggling alone," she said. "This program will not only help its members improve on their physical health but also help establish healthy friendships along the way."