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Square Dancer Sheds 174 Pounds

Lance Cpl. Kelvin Clark, Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort

Joan Fanger, a receptionist at the Public Works Office on the Air Station, speaks to a class about square dancing March 25 in the education building aboard Fightertown. Fanger lost 174 pounds because of square dancing. Lance Cpl. Kelvin Clark


In today's society, there are numerous "quick" ways to lose weight. People exercise, take medicine, use liposuction, and attempt fad diets. All of these shave off a few extra pounds. But how many people are known for losing weight through square dancing? Joan Fanger, a receptionist at the Public Works Office on the Air Station, square-danced away 174 pounds in just nine months.

"Square dancing is not only fun, but it challenges you," Fanger said. "It's great exercise because you burn many calories by moving very fast while staying coordinated. It's physically and mentally demanding. You have to really concentrate on the dance."

The art of square dancing consist of eight dancers, or four couples, in a square with one couple on each side, with the first couple facing away from the music and going counter-clockwise until getting to the fourth couple.

"My husband, Richard, and I made the conscientious decision to lose weight together on Valentine's Day," Joan said. "We both exchanged gifts, and we gave each other chocolate. From that day forward, we didn't eat anymore chocolate or anything unhealthy and stayed committed.

"He has been there with me every step of the way from the beginning, and he has lost 42 pounds himself during that period," she continued.

Joan said a significant indicator of her weight loss were the changes in her dress sizes, which went from a size 28 to a size 12 after nine months.

"I've been dancing for four years, so it was easy for me to use square dancing as a way to get in better shape," Joan said. "It takes a team effort and is family-oriented."

Some of Joan's friends and coworkers have noticed the change in not only her appearance, but in her overall persona.

"I have known Joan for about 15 years, and I would have never known she had weighed as much as she did," said Carolyn Berry, a friend of Joan's. "She looks really great and she feels better as well. She is a whole new person since she committed to her new lifestyle.

"She is much more spirited and outspoken now than the 'old' Joan that I remembered," Berry continued. "Any chance she can get, she doesn't hesitate to dance for people and events. She is so happy now."

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