Star-Bulletin Features

Tuesday, January 19, 1999

By George F. Lee, Star-Bulletin
The Island Girls, from left, Mina Pedro, Sieni Tai,
Kuulei Jolonino, Toy Laumatia, Lehualani Tai, Sina Liu,
Tiare Tai and Pahina Tai, gather for the weigh-in at the
Aloha Airlines cargo area.

Isle chubs
up to challenge

Eight Kapolei women join
talk show host Rosie O'Donnell's
weight loss program

By Tim Ryan


Talk about a challenge! Eight self-admitted overweight Kapolei women cumulatively want to lose 300 pounds by June, when a few say they will slip into -- gulp! -- thong bikinis.

The group, self-dubbed the Island Girls Chub Club, have joined talk show host Rosie O'Donnell's Chub Club, the Chubbettes, in an effort to lose lots of weight over the next six months. O'Donnell started her Chub Club when her best friend, who is overweight, said she's getting married this summer and wants to wear a thong bathing suit on her honeymoon on Maui, said Stephanie Vanness, 39, Island Girls' leader.

"Rosie stared the Chub Club to motivate everyone who wants to lose weight," she said.

Another main reason the Island Girls banded and bonded is to help motivate friend Sieni Tai, 60, who suffers from diabetes and has gained weight since her husband passed away, Vanness said.

"We're trying to get her back on track, but we all really need it," Vanness said. "Isn't everyone's dream to be thin?

"It's hard to be motivated; trying to do this by yourself is the hardest way. Now we help each other keep going."

Rosie's Chubbettes weighed in earlier this month at 1,733 pounds; the eight Island Girls, who recently weighed themselves on an Aloha Airlines freight scale, topped off at 1,570 pounds. They include: Sieni Tai, 60; daughter Tiare Tai, 35; daughter-in-law Tisha Tai, 38; Mina Pedro, 33; Toy Laumati, about 55; Kuulei Jolanino, 38; Sina Logologo, 39; and Vanness.

The Island Girls regimen includes taking doses of what Vanness describes as a combination of Hawaiian herbs called Body Tone; NX Trim weight-loss tablets; walking around the four lagoons at Ko Olina daily; and minor weight lifting. They've also managed to reduce fat from their diets and add more fruits and vegetables.

Island Girls began their plan Jan. 1. One member who began around Thanksgiving already has lost 50 pounds, Vanness said. The least amount a member has lost so far is five pounds; the total group weight loss at this point is 80 pounds, she said.

Island Girls this week are sending a tape of their weigh-in to O'Donnell as an official entry in the Chub Club competition. They plan to weigh in again at Aloha Airlines in six weeks. So far, about 40,000 Chub Clubs nationally have sent tapes to O'Donnell's show.

And what's the prize?

Vanness said no announcement has been made.

"An all-expense trip to New York would be lovely," she said. "But right now we'd settle for some sort of local sponsorship, like spa visits, or anything that can keep us going."

No prize is OK too, she said.

"All of us have been up and down in our weights and three have been fat all their lives. For me, putting on that thong bikini will be reward enough," Vanness said.

Weigh in with Rosie

For information and free membership in "Rosie's Chub Club," send a postcard with your Chub Club name; the name, address and phone number of the team captain; names and ages of all your club members; and total group weight and date recorded to: Rosie's Chub Club, Box 90600, Bridgeport, New Jersey 08014.

Membership cards and all member correspondence will be sent to the designated team captain throughout the program.

To lose weight,
walk the walk

Starting at around age 25, a woman's metabolism declines by about 5 percent every decade; by age 55 she's likely to have twice as much body fat as at 20, according to medical literature.

Walking at least four hours a week -- no less -- seems to be the key to staying lean for life, according to a recent study by the American Cancer Society.

Researchers tracked the eating and exercise habits of more than 44,000 middle-aged women for 10 years and found those who engaged in four or more hours of walking every week were less likely to put on pounds than were their sedentary peers, regardless of diet.

Just don't cheat. The study also found walking less than four hours weekly didn't help the women stay slim. To rack up that much pavement or treadmill time, go for a 35-minute walk every day, or walk for 48 minutes five times a week.

The American Cancer Society study also found women who consumed at least 19 servings of vegetables a week were significantly less likely to gain weight as they got older than those who ate relatively few or no veggies -- regardless of their total calorie intake.

Tim Ryan, Star-Bulletin

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