Before: 189 pounds
After: 136 pounds
Before: 210 pounds
After: 129 pounds
After her insurance company denied her gastric bypass surgery request, Alicia Myers, then 210 pounds, turned to her mother, Shirley, for advice. “I called my mom bawling,” says Alicia. “I asked her what I should do, and she told me to go to Jenny Craig.”
Shirley had already battled her own weight demons. Following the birth of her third child, Shirley indulged her sweet tooth. “I always headed straight to the bakery and spent a lot of time eating doughnuts, cookies, and chocolates,” she says. (Video: Secretly sugary foods) A stress-eater by nature, Shirley developed acid reflux and was so lethargic that she could sleep for half a day—all due to her size. “I was in denial about my weight until I started having to shop at Lane Bryant,” she says. Eventually she was wearing size 20 clothes on a 5’2” frame.
The Turning Point
Shirley had had her own breaking point staring at the mirror in a tanning salon, so she knew what her daughter was going through when Alicia tearfully called years later. Alicia had been thin and athletic in high school, but like her mother loved carbs and fatty foods such as mayonnaise, Ranch dressing, and cheese. “I ate when I was bored. I ate when I was happy. I ate all of the time,” says Alicia. (Search: How to stop mindless eating) After talking to her mom on the phone, Alicia followed her footsteps and called Jenny the very next day.
Both Shirley and Alicia picked up Jenny’s proportioned meals, which prevented them from overdoing it. “I could actually see what a healthy portion looked like,” says Shirley. “The palm of your hand is a serving of meat. Your potato should be the size of a ball.” To trick their eyes into thinking that they were eating more, the duo switched to serving their meals on smaller plates. Best of all, they didn’t have to give up their favorite foods completely. Alicia still eats macaroni salad, but she’s completely revamped her recipe and now uses low-fat mayonnaise to cut the calories. On the Jenny plan, Shirley can eat a small piece of chocolate cake or a cinnamon roll.
As for exercise, Shirley walks every day, and has bought an elliptical and a bike. Likewise, Alicia picked up cardio and is outside whenever she can. “Last summer I was walking and running three to five times a week,” she says. “Any chance that I have, I’m biking or walking.” (Learn how you can walk off weight!)
With the help of her Jenny consultant, Shirley dropped 53 pounds and kept it off for 10 years. Just as her consultant keeps her accountable, Shirley now also calls Alicia from the grocery when she’s tempted by sweets. They talk each other out of buying doughnuts and encourage each other to make smarter choices. “Alicia became an inspiration to me,” says Shirley.
The feeling is mutual. “Every time I weighed in [at Jenny], I called my mom,” says Alicia. “We really motivate each other. We call and give food tips to each other and talk every week.” (Need more motivation? These fit-spirational posters will keep you going.)
Shirley couldn’t believe it when she shimmied into her daughter’s size 4 skinny jeans. Equally impressive: a clean bill of health from her doctor. Her cholesterol levels are normal and her blood pressure is at a healthy 112/60. “Hearing that I was in the best shape of my life from a professional was a big accomplishment,” says Shirley.
For Alicia, slimming down became a family affair in more than one way. Not only did she drop 81 pounds with her mom, but her fiancé lost 60 pounds as well. She can’t wait to walk down the aisle feeling healthy and happy. “I’m looking forward to getting married and wearing a size 4 wedding dress,” says Alicia. “I never thought that I would be that person.” (If you've got that big day ahead, try this wedding slim-down plan.)
Get a support system. “It’s important having someone I know that I can call, like my consultant or Alicia. I can’t do it on my own, and need someone who can give me a push.” –Shirley Myers
Be in it to win it. “You have to be in the right mindspace. Health is a life long commitment, but it’s one of the best commits you can make to your self.” –Alicia Myers