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Kim Bensen Weight Loss Center to hold open house
Written by The Huntington Herald
Thursday, 08 March 2012 00:00
Motivational speaker, author, TV personality and weight loss success story Kim Bensen will be hosting an open house at her new 3,500- square-foot weight loss facility on Saturday, March 10, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
The Kim Bensen Weight Loss Center, located in the Shelton Plaza at 911 Bridgeport Avenue in Shelton, opened its doors in December.
The open house includes free motivational support group meetings at 9 and 11:30 a.m., and 2 p.m.; light cooking demonstrations and sampling; and a Zumba class demonstration at 10 a.m.
Throughout the day, Kim will be available for questions and discussion about her 212 pound weight loss, and how she manages to keep her weight at a healthy level.
Kim is known locally for her regular appearances on WFSB and WTNH, and as the columnist behind “Here’s The Skinny,” a regular feature in many HersamAcorn newspapers. She has also appeared several times on the Today Show, on ABC’s Nightline, The Dr. Oz Show and Fox Friends.
In 2007, Bensen launched Kim’s Light Foods and is the driving force behind it’ flagship product, Kim’s Light Bagels.
For more information on the open house, visit kimbensen.com, or call The Kim Bensen Weight Loss Center at 203-513-8722.
This is the original story that appeared in December’s Huntington Herald by Kate Czaplinski, editor.
When people walk in to the Kim Bensen Weight Loss Center on Bridgeport Avenue, they are usually frustrated and tired, and few understand that better than Bensen, a Shelton resident who lost 212 pounds eight years ago and has since helped others lose hundreds of pounds, while keeping her own weight down.
Just as the New Year’s weight loss resolutions are starting to be made, Bensen celebrated the opening of her new center at 911 Bridgeport Ave.
Bensen’s weight loss success has led to multiple appearances on The Today Show, publishing her own book, landing magazine covers, and more.
For the last two years Bensen and her husband, Mark, operated her weight loss meetings, support program and plans through her Web site — kimbensen.com. They held local meetings in church basements and at Shelton’s Corporate Towers.
“I see so many pounds lost and so many smiles because of it,” Bensen said, looking around the room at staff and members last Friday. “This is all a dream come true.”
One of those happy customers was Marilyn Plaskiewicz, who joined Bensen’s program almost a year ago. Plaskiewicz has lost 94 pounds so far and said that she has used diets in the past that have given her similar results but she always gained the weight back.
“This is the first time I can say it will stay off for life,” Plaskiewicz said. “This has totally changed my life and I became a member of a family.”
Bensen says her center is different from most because of the constant support and help it offers members as well as the fact it’s not peddling any particular diet plan.
“People look at diet as a four-letter word, but really, if we all cut back a bit on food and increased activity we’d be on our way,” Bensen said. “Diet is just one of the tools.”
Bensen has a weight loss program called Xchanges, and those on other programs like Weight Watchers or the South Beach Diet or those who just count calories are welcome. The center promotes home cooking but will adapt to any diet and creates a meal plan and provides recipes as well as support.
The staff at the center can make nutrition labels for members’ favorite recipes to help them better understand what a serving should be. They can also help members create a great-tasting lighter version of their favorite foods.
“Sometimes people don’t want a lighter version and they just want that food that they love, and that’s fine,” Bensen said.
Plaskiewicz has used Bensen’s recipes and agreed that the healthier recipes are good.
“I’ve never felt deprived,” she said.
Every member is different, Bensen said. One new member recently came in wanting to lose weight but said he eats out most of the time. The center helped him understand what restaurant options are best and how he can still maintain his lifestyle but lose weight. The pounds have already started coming off, Bensen said.
Members who want to maintain weight are also welcome and can benefit from Bensen’s Maintenance Program.
Those who live in the area may sign up for the Premium Plus Membership, which includes weekly motivational meetings at the center and access to in-person weigh-ins and more, according to Bensen. Membership is $24.95 a month. Many of Bensen’s online clients around the country use the premium membership, which includes online chats, daily meal plans, access to a video archive of past meetings and more, for $14.95 a month. The online tools are also a way to family members or friends to live apart to do the programs together.
Membership features include “K-Tools,” with everything from a Guilt-Free Grocery List, to a Salad Bar Cheat Sheet, Water Drinking Calculator, and Walking Program. There are party plans, holiday strategies and a guide for an At-Work Weight Loss Competition. The doors are open not just around meeting times but also during business hours and many evenings and Saturdays. All staff members have struggled with weight loss to some extent and understand the battle their members are facing, Bensen said. If a member calls the toll-free hotline, a Customer Care Team Member will take the call and help the member get back on track, plan a day, or figure out the calories in an unknown item.
“It’s about half the cost of other major programs,” Bensen said.
A comfortable space
In the meeting room area, which includes a kitchen for cooking sessions, signs on the wall say things like, “Motivation is what gets you started, habit is what keeps you going,” and “Don’t exchange what you want the most for what you want at the moment.”
The center will also be working with Griffin Hospital and has featured cardiologists and other health experts in meetings.
It’s a warm, friendly atmosphere at the center, and creating that took some work, Bensen said.
“When we moved in seven weeks ago, the building was not in good shape,” Bensen said. “All the pipes were broken and we had other residents that were not human.”
With a lot of effort from staff and friends, Bensen said, the place was turned around, and she is happy to be in Shelton.
Mayor Mark Lauretti, Aldermen President John Anglace and Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce President Bill Purcell were among those who welcomed Bensen last Friday.
“This is really the spirit of American entrepreneurship,” Lauretti said. “Kim found a niche, something that people need and want. I couldn’t be happier that you are doing it in Shelton, your hometown.”
Guests at the ribbon-cutting ceremony were later treated to freshly made margherita flatbread pizza and artichoke alfredo pizza.
“I’m so happy you could parlay your journey into this wonderful enterprise,” Purcell said to Bensen.
Turning her years of struggle and eventual success into a business came naturally.
“I had two babies and two teens and I wanted to live,” Bensen said. “Then I started helping people and spending eight hours a day doing it.”
An open house at the center is planned Jan. 2 from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Check KimBensen.com for other events or call 203-513-8722.
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