PARIS — After giving birth to her son last May, Rachael Follansbee committed to changing her life.

She changed her diet and started working out. Her goal: Get from 210 pounds to 150.

Now, at a lean 135 pounds, Follansbee, 31, is feeling better than she ever has, and she has a newfound drive to help other people who want to lose weight and get healthier.

As part of her mission, Follansbee has organized the “Turkey Trot” — a 5K walk or run through Norway and South Paris on Nov. 3 — an event she hopes will become an annual tradition.

Her weight is something she’s contended with all her life, Follansbee said. When she was younger, she recognized that she was bigger than her friends and classmates, but that didn’t stop her from playing sports and never detracted from her social life, she said.

It wasn’t until she had her son, Bradley, that she made the decision to get her weight under control.

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“It just bothered me when I got older and started having children,” she said, “because I thought ‘what kind of message am I sending them, when I’m trying to be a mom and a good role model?'”

She had it in her mind to get herself down to where she was before she had her son, but she kept on going. She changed her diet, watched her calories, started exercising every day — and started to see results. 

Her family and her children were the main reason she decided to set off on a healthier path, Follansbee said. She wanted to be a strong role model for her kids as they were growing up.

“I wanted to be there for my family,” she said. “I didn’t want to be sick, I didn’t want to be a sideline mom that couldn’t do anything, that just sat there and watched.”

To lose the weight, she borrowed a workout DVD from her boss, started walking more, and began using an app on her smartphone to keep track of her daily calorie intake.

“Everyone can do what I did,” she said. “Everyone can watch what they eat, and count calories, and make better choices.”

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Now, her goal is broader — to encourage the same transformation she went through in other people in her community.

That was the genesis of the Turkey Trot; Follansbee said she was noticed an absence of activities such as road races in Oxford Hills and wanted to correct it.

She hopes that the event will go a little farther in getting people off the couch and on their feet and also get the community talking about obesity and health.  

“I never talked about it, I never cared,” Follansbee said. “People need to stop being sensitive about it and start being aware … if you don’t talk about it and you forget about it, it doesn’t go away.”

Advance registration for individuals is now open for the Turkey Trot by calling Rachael at 890-7516 or Shauna at 890-1154. People are being asked to bring a nonperishable food item that will be donated to a local food bank to the race. Proceeds from the race will go to the Second Chances Foundation. 


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