A new resident to the community was shocked by the number of obese and morbidly obese people living in Chatham-Kent.

But Renee Cormier plans on doing something about it.

Renee Cormier

Cormier, a public relations professional originally from Cape Breton, moved to Chatham from Burlington in March.

In her short time living in the community, Cormier told the Sydenham Current she has seen numerous people who appear to have given up on themselves.

“It was really, really shocking to me… people weighing 300, 400, 500 lbs.,” Cormier said.

“It’s a harder place to come back from and it’s a place you go in a moment of darkness, that you have given up on yourself. I know that I can help people come back from that in a whole lot of different ways. When people are ready to make those changes, they’ll make those changes.”

Cormier added: “As we put the message out consistently about what’s available, we will try to build that mentality of positivity, as opposed to hopelessness.”

Cormier said she is passionate about helping people in Chatham-Kent to improve the quality of their lives.

She has acted on this passion by launching a ‘healthy living campaign’, which was kick started by a short video, which you can view here:

Cormier said she’s hoping to engage with various service providers across the community to help create some positive change and give Chatham-Kent a boost.

“My main goal is to leverage the resources that already exist within the community,” she told the Sydenham Current.

“We already have businesses that are centered around health and wellness, we already have activities and things run through the city programs to help people become more active, to improve their mental health. There are a lot of supports in the community to help people, but maybe people are not really accessing them.”

Cormier said she believes the information about food, wellness and healthy living needs to be spread more frequently.

“We have to hit people constantly with it,” she said.

“Whether it is through city communication, through newspapers, through cable television, through every avenue we can possibly exercise, we need to be able to push that message out. I want to encourage businesses in the field of health and wellness to have public events, be out and be seen. I want the city to give the permits they need to do those things and to help people thrive.”

Cormier added studies show if people make an improvement in one area of their lives, they begin to make improvements in other areas.

“It’s not just about helping people lose weight, it’s about helping people set goals, create better habits, do more, be more and be the best they can be,” she said.

“Ultimately what will happen is we’ll see a little stimulation in our economic situation. There will be more growth. There will be new businesses, people will be getting back to school, people will be accessing the literacy programs that they need to access, without shame or embarrassment.

Cormier said she wants every person living in Chatham-Kent to understand the value of who they are.

“And what they can really bring to the community.”

Cormier is hoping to produce a documentary about her healthy initiative as well.

“I think it is a really interesting story to follow the progress of the Municipality and the efforts that we make to take it from a place where people are dying at the highest numbers in the province, and see where we are in five years, see where we are in two years,” she said.

“I want to document how people go involved, who is getting involved, who is paying lip service to the campaign versus who is really interested in making a difference. It’s an opportunity to hold the politicians feet to the fire and an opportunity to push the business community to pick it up a notch.”

Cormier said she is also working on her certification to become a life coach and an executive coach.

Plans are also in the work to create a six-week course for people to attend to get in touch with their inner-being, set goals and giving people the opportunity to understand the true nature of who they are, Cormier added.

You can reach Cormier through her website, at: www.reneecormier.com