TYLER (KYTX) - More than 700 East Texans join together Saturday morning in Tyler, with the same goal in mind - making our community a healthier place.
The UT Health Science Center's first ever Hope Hustle Run and health fair promoted healthy lifestyles and community oneness.
"I have lost 40 - 50 pounds in the last three to four years," says UT Health Science Center Wellness Coordinator, Crystal Smith, who is using her own success story to inspire others.
"Felt those jeans get a little tight, and saw pictures of myself and it kind of makes you turn around and think, I don't want to be the unfit, unhealthy person," Smith said.
UTHSC has partnered with the Fit City Challenge and Smith says it's events like the Hope Hustle Run Saturday, that have kept her on track in her weight loss.
UTHSC Wellness Coordinator, and Hope Hustle Chairman David Conley says, "We wanted to raise awareness for obesity and the diseases that are associated with obesity, and create a community wide appreciation event for not only for our employees but the individuals we serve as well."
A healthy lifestyle can start with eating fruit instead of a hamburger, or grabbing a water instead of a soda. Starting these healthy choices at a young age can lead to healthier adults.
"I ran a 5K!" says 8-year-old Sarah from Tyler, as she clapped hands with her father after crossing the Hope Hustle finish line. "I finished in 27 minutes!"
Wellness experts emphasize how much parents can influence their kids when it comes to staying healthy.
Sarah says, "My dad was a runner and he got me into it a few years ago and I just like it."
Smith watched her kids run the 5K too. "I had a 9-year-old run it and a 14-year-old run it and they did great. They both finished in under 30 minutes."
Smith hopes her new healthy lifestyle will influence not only her family, but her whole community as well.
"I went from a size 14 to a size 6-8 so that's a big difference. Now, I'm not the big friend anymore."
She says you can do it too.
"You just have to take that lunge and do it, and it takes an every day commitment, and once you get started you usually can't stop. I have so much energy now and I love it."
Health coaches and nutritionists spoke to community members at the event Saturday.
If you're ready to get healthy, those experts are at the UT Health Science Center, waiting for your call.