DALLAS-- City Councilman Dwaine Caraway announced a new wellness initiative Thursday morning.

While the city already offers incentives to employees to help them meet fitness goals, Caraway said he plans to lead by example by adopting a healthier lifestyle himself.

To illustrate his own struggle, Caraway stepped onto an old fashioned scale in front of reporters. While he didn't reveal the actual number, he showed the difficulty he had balancing the scale and then tried on some of his old blazers which no longer fit.

Caraway said since his college days at Texas Southern University and as he's grown in stature, his waistline has expanded and his weight has gone up. With a team that includes a doctor from University General Hospital, a trainer, and guidance from the city's wellness director, he plans to slim down over the next few months.

He used humor to get his point across.

'Last night I stopped at Rudy's Chicken and I had a big, big chicken feast because I said 'This is going to be the last time that I'm going to be able to have my four piece and a pepper.''

Dallas City Manager A.C. Gonzalez also said he hopes city leaders can inspire workers to adopt healthier lifestyles. He says in the future the wellness team may look at ways to make further changes, including looking at food choices in workplace cafeterias and vending machines.

'Once you begin to look at the effects of proper nutrition and good health,' Caraway said. 'You realize that it will save not just your life, but will make a difference in other people's lives and a difference in our city budget.'

One thing Caraway joked would not be getting any smaller is his hair. He said he hoped to shrink his body, but not his Afro.

E-mail: cwade@wfaa.com

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