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Moms Transform Weight and Lives

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There's nothing more motivating than before-and-after shots of incredible weight loss. In part 2 of our week-long series, these moms will impress you--and possibly inspire you to create your own healthy life.


"One Picture Motivated Me to Get Serious About Weight Loss!"

A photo spurred Lynn Haraldson-Bering, 44, mother of four, to lose weight and change her life.
Pounds lost: 168
How she did it: Eat To Live

Lynn Haraldson-Bering's weight had fluctuated her entire life, thanks to a series of deprivation diets that only left her heavier than when she started. Although she tried to avoid mirrors and having her photo taken, her picture appeared in a weekly column for the Clarion News, where she worked as a writer. When Lynn was embarrassed by the thought of having her 296-pound frame shown every week in her column, she knew she had to get serious about her weight. She discovered a book called Eat To Live by Joel Fuhrman, MD, and learned how eating foods packed with nutrients slashed hunger pangs and that high sodium processed foods and soda were just filling her up with empty calories. Mindless eating was also a big problem for Lynn, so before she put anything in her mouth, she asked herself: "How will I feel after I eat this? Is it worth it?" If she did eat in front of the TV (a rare occurrence), she measured her portions from the start so she didn't go back for seconds. Once Lynn reached 185 pounds, she joined a gym, focusing on cardio two times a week and strength training three days a week, whittling down to a healthy 128 pounds.

"Being a Role Model to My Daughter Was My Inspiration!"

By learning to love food the right way, Jamie Tighe, 36, also learned to love her body.
Pounds lost: 105
How she did it: Weight Watchers

Jamie Tighe recalls the first moment she felt fat, when she was just 6 years old. "A classmate sent me a Valentine's card with a picture of an elephant and had written, 'You look just like the picture.'" Through childhood and her teen years, Jamie tried and failed at every fad diet, but nothing worked permanently. Her moment of clarity came in 2001 when she gave birth to her first daughter. "I looked into her eyes and said, 'That's it. I need to be around long-term and I want to be a good role model,'" she says. Six weeks later, at 225 pounds, Jamie joined Weight Watchers. Like many moms, Jamie didn't have time to hit the gym, so each morning she woke up at 5:30 a.m. and worked out in her living room to exercise classes on TV. "Any class taught by Jillian Michaels or Billy Blanks worked for me," she says. In the past, Lynn scarfed down whatever was left on her kids' plates, but after realizing that every bite truly added up, she started repeating this mantra to herself: 'My body is not a trash can.' Jamie also wrote a list called "10 things to do besides eat when my daughter is sleeping," and taped the list to her refrigerator. That way, she kept her hands occupied with scrapbooking, or reading. Soon she weighed just 120 pounds. And her two daughters, 7 and 3, reaped the benefits of her healthy lifestyle. "They love salmon and swordfish!" she says. The biggest difference between then and now: "I truly enjoy eating, and I have so much energy to keep up with my husband and kids," Jamie says. "I also became a Weight Watchers leader and recently won the Rookie of the Year Leader award. Weight Watchers gave me a better life."

"I Lost Over 100 Pounds Without Depriving Myself of Fast Food!"

When Lisa Palmer, 36, was inspired by a fellow dieter, her life whole changed.
Pounds lost: 150
How she did it: Never Say Diet

Lisa Palmer had always struggled with her weight, but she never considered it a serious problem. However, when she was denied health and life insurance because she was too heavy, she got herself into gear. At 328 pounds, she met with author Chantel Hobbs, author of Never Say Diet, who had her study what she was consuming, and convinced Lisa she didn't have to change her diet a whole lot to see major results. "I loved food and didn't want to live on salad," Lisa said. "I just made smarter choices." When her two kids, ages 10 and 8, wanted fast food, she consulted a calorie count book and ordered the leanest option on the menu. She also incorporated more fiber-filled food like fruit and vegetables into her diet to keep her satiated and joined a gym. Sure, she has weak moments (cake!) but on the advice of Chantel, Lisa repeats this mantra when she feels like splurging: "The pain of regret is far worse than the pain of discipline." What's more, by anticipating (and sometimes planning for) the occasional setback, Lisa can quickly bounce back to healthy habits. She also learned to control her cravings. "Whenever my stomach growls, I look down and say out loud, 'I'll feed you when I'm ready--you'll just have to wait.'" And at 178 pounds, her efforts are ongoing. "I'm not at my target weight yet, but I know when I'll get there," she says. "It's not about numbers, it's about feeling great."

"I Blogged My Way to Weight Loss!"

Stephanie Tow, a 26-year-old stay-at-home mom of two children, journaled her way to a shapelier bod.
Pounds lost: 54
How she did it: Family support

Stephanie Tow's struggle with weight began in college when she was pregnant with her daughter, Emma. Being surrounded by foods like potato chips, pasta, and bread 24/7 made it hard to make healthy choices and toward the end of her pregnancy, she couldn't even fit into the chairs at school. And her weight only climbed after Emma was born--before long, she hit 248 pounds. When Stephanie attended a family reunion where her family was complimenting her older sister, Jessica, on all the weight she'd lost, it inspired her to do the same. She started a food journal, writing down everything she ate, and she and her sister created a private online blog called "Think and Thin" for them to track their weight loss together. The encouragement of her sibling helped Stephanie lose 38 pounds in less than three months. Now at 198 pounds, she's 54 pounds lighter and three sizes smaller...and still going strong. She knows these lifestyle changes will stick for a lifetime.

"Drinking Lots of Water is My Weight Loss Secret."

A debilitating injury didn't stop Deb Duncan, 50, mother of three from dropping 115 pounds.
Pounds lost: 117
How she did it: Line dancing and staying hydrated

Deb Duncan was struggling with her weight when she fell and ripped the cartilage in both her knees. She couldn't exercise or even walk much without excruciating pain. Her doctor said her 257-pound frame put much weight on her knees and healing would be faster if she changed her eating habits, so Deb gave it a shot. She started by increasing her intake of water, consuming 10-12 glasses per day. Not only did the liquid fill her stomach and chase away hunger pangs, but having something to do with her hands distracted her from eating. She also adopted this mantra: "Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels," after finding a magnet with the catchphrase and sticking it on her fridge, along with a picture of her at her heaviest--a visual reminder not to overeat. As her knees healed after surgery and a bout on crutches, Deb took up line dancing at a local club once a week and also hit the gym five times a week, focusing on floor exercises with resistant balls, the exercise bike, and walking on the treadmill. What's more, she even convinced her 70-year-old mother to lose 20 pounds! Ironically, Deb has to work harder to control her portions, but two years later, she's a healthy 140 pounds. "Since I'm happy with the way I look, I always want 'Just one more cookie,' but I know if I slip, it's not the end of the world," she says. "I'm right where I'm supposed to be."

next: Affair of the Heart: Worse than Sex?
8 comments so far | Post a comment now
Stephanie July 8, 2008, 4:31 PM


john enright July 8, 2008, 6:05 PM

tyra my mom was divorced 5 years ago and she let her self go she needs help and i dont know what to do her blood work came back and her chol. is over 500 and i am scared please help she is only 53

jen July 9, 2008, 9:04 AM

Your an inspiration to us all

melissa July 11, 2008, 9:47 AM

Deb and other ladies I am so proud of you and the others… Well my friend Deb on here has encouraged me and so far I have lost 30 lbs and 15 over all inches… so gals you are my inspiration… please pray for me I have a super long way to go… Congratulations gals I am so proud of you all. Hugs Melissa

Donna July 14, 2008, 2:25 PM

Deb, my sister, has minimized how hard she worked. All of her sisters are proud and envious of her sucess. She inspires us.

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