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A success story: Tina Fraley goes for bold

Sometimes getting started can be the hardest part.

For Tina Fraley her starting point was a difficult one, but her story is proof that it doesn’t matter where you start from if you put your heart, soul and mind into your goal.

At 33-year-old Fraley, of Hagerstown, had just had her seventh child, and was nearing 300 pounds.

“When I went for my post-partum checkup and the doctor started talking about screening for pre-diabetes, that really lit a fire within me. I knew I needed to take control of my health,” Fraley said.

That was 12 years ago. In the time since, Fraley turned her health around. However, before she would go on to become CEO of her own health studio, a personal trainer or lose 150 pounds, she had to start the journey by taking that first step.

“I started everything at home. Exercising and modifying my eating, and a did lose about 50 pounds. It opened my eyes to something that could work, but I didn’t have the support system,” she said.

Fraley said that she began talking to her friends, many of whom said they felt the same way – everyone was trying to lose weight and be healthy, but they were trying to do it alone.

“Through my health and fitness journey, I always felt like there was something missing… The mental and emotional part was a gap in the bridge that needed filled,” Fraley said.

In 2020, Fraley was invited to a meeting with other health leaders, organizations and businesses in the Washington County community who were working to form a grassroots movement to encourage weight loss as a collective effort.

Allen Twigg, executive director of behavioral and community health for Meritus, was standing in front of the group and discussing the new initiative called ‘Go for Bold.’

“It was at that moment that every single part of me was just lighting up, because that was it! That was the missing link to individual wellbeing, and that’s when the paradigm shifted. We are going to do this,” Fraley said.

Go for Bold is built on the idea of support; that by leaders, community groups, organizations, nonprofits, local governments and individuals coming together and supporting one another, huge changes can be made.

“In the fall of 2020, we had 30 local organizations and business join together to officially kick off the Go for Bold. It’s an initiative to do, eat and believe in a healthy Washington County, with the bold goal to lose 1 million community pounds by the year 2030,” said Dr. Douglas Spotts, chief health officer at Meritus.

Spotts said that it’s important to realize that weight is directly correlated with chronic health issues like diabetes, asthma, emotional health and mental wellbeing.

To date, participants tracked more than 60,000 pounds lost.

The program also offers a variety of events, support initiatives and encouragement for participants to build momentum by supporting one another.

“I will always believe that success comes in numbers, and you can exceed your expectations with the support of a friend,” Fraley said. “I could have worked out alone, but if there’s no component of community connection none of it comes together, but that’s what Go for Bold does, it offers that continuity,” she added.

If you or someone you know is interested in joining the Go for Bold movement, visit HealthyWashingtonCounty.com for more information.