‘Lighten up’ still on diet — but look what it did for this man!

for The Brooklyn Paper
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“Lighten Up, Brooklyn” has slimmed down further from its already reduced heft of last year — but Borough President (and Weight-Watcher-in-Chief) Markowitz said the two park walks he’ll lead this weekend are more than enough to get people to finally make good on those New Years resolutions.

When the anti-obesity program was unveiled to much ballyhoo in 2002, it included discounts at local gyms, sponsored weight-loss classes and free weigh-in stations across Brooklyn to track the borough’s lost flab.

But last year, Markowitz cut the program to just seven park walks led by himself and fitness trainers. This year, the number of walks is down to two.

Markowitz said that two walks are enough because the goal of “Lighten Up, Brooklyn” is simply to “encourage people to walk every week — to get into a walking regimen.”

His spokesman, Mark Zustovich, added: “It’s not designed to hold people’s hands as they go through the entire process.”

While “Lighten Up, Brooklyn” has been greatly reduced in scope since its inception, it still includes its most-important feature: the ability for would-be weight-watchers to call Borough Hall for personal assistance.

Such a service, in fact, may have saved the life of morbidly obese Bedford-Stuyvesant resident Gerald Davis, who weighed 718 pounds six years ago.

At the time, Davis had been a shut-in for more than two years — but when he saw Markowitz’s “Lighten Up” campaign on TV, he made the call. The office hooked him up with an in-patient weight-loss program, and he ended up losing 372 pounds.

“That number saved my life,” said Davis, who broke down in tears at Markowitz’s press conference on Tuesday as he told about his life in his heavier days.

“Lighten Up, Brooklyn” walks will be held on Saturday, July 12 at 10 am in Betsy Head Park (Strauss Street and Dumont Avenue in Brownsville), and on Sunday, July 13 at 10 am in Prospect Park (enter at Grand Army Plaza). For info or to get personal help with the battle of the bulge, call Borough Hall at (718) 802-3700.

Updated 5:07 pm, July 9, 2018
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