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Moms' Weight-Loss Miracles

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Part four of our week-long weight loss series is bigger than ever: These five moms...including one who lost an astounding 538 pounds...will amaze you! See shocking before and after photos and read their inspiring stories.


"I Lost Over 500 Pounds!"

This single mother got her life back...with some help from Tyra Banks.
Pounds lost: 538
How she did it: Gastric bypass surgery

Single mom Tonya Bailey has struggled with her weight her whole life. When she went through a painful divorce, her weight ballooned--and, before long, she was 538 pounds and bedridden. She knew that if she didn't make significant changes, she would die. So she got gastric bypass surgery and lost hundreds of pounds. But her body was left so disfigured from all the excess skin, she sank into a deep depression. That's when she turned to Tyra Banks--who arranged for her to get a procedure where they removed 30-40 pounds of skin. Now happy and healthy, Tonya weighs just 140 pounds...and has lost an astounding 538 pounds! Thanks to Tyra, this single mom has a new lease on life.

"I Created My Own Diet and Lost Big!"

Traditional diets weren't for her, so Heather Lemanski started her own.
Pounds lost: 75
How she did it: Limiting her calories and weight lifting

When Heather Lemanski got pregnant with her first child, she finally quit smoking. The only problem? "I replaced my smoking dependency with food," she says. She gained 70 pounds, and after her daughter was born, she was buying clothes in a size 20 and weighed 210 pounds. Heather knew she couldn't stick to a conventional diet plan, so she wrote her own rules. She allowed herself to eat whatever she wanted, the only rule was, she had to stay under 2,000 calories a day. She lost three pounds right away, and over the next year she cut her caloric intake to 1,800, and took up cycling and weight training. She also drank a glass of milk each day and bought fruit in bulk so she never ran out of healthy snacks. By the summer, she had lost 75 pounds...and now weighs a healthy 135.

 

"I Used to Avoid the Gym--Now I'm a Pilates Instructor!"

One morning shower prompted Shana Stark to get fit.
Pounds lost: 70
How she did it: Weight Watchers

Shana Stark realized she had to lose weight when she looked down in the shower one morning and couldn't see her feet. "At that moment I thought, 'This weekend I will change," said the 40-year-old mother of two. Although she knew nursing burned calories, she often ate while breastfeeding her son, and the pounds just never came off. She turned to Weight Watchers to get back to her pre-baby weight and learned how paying attention to what she ate helped her eat less. After just 18 months she lost 70 pounds. She was happy with her loss, but she still wanted to tone up. However, with two kids crawling around, it was near impossible to snag an hour with a home exercise video. So Shana headed for the hills and started hiking. She also sneaked exercise into her day by taking the stairs whenever she could and walked often instead of driving. She had always avoided the gym, but fell in love with her first Pilates class and soon became a certified private Pilates instructor, which gave her lots more time with her kids. And although she still feels pangs of self-described "Mommy guilt" on the days she's working, she knows feeling good about herself will also benefit her family tenfold.

 

"Seeing Myself on Film was a Big Wake-up Call!"

Mandy Muniz's job spurred her weight loss.
Pounds lost:172
How she did it: The LA Weight Loss Plan

Although high school drama teacher Mandy Muniz, 31, had difficulty climbing stairs, catching her breath, and ate fast food for dinner often, she was in denial about her weight. Until the day a student asked her to act in his film and she saw what almost 300 pounds looked like--really looked like. Mandy was considering surgery to lose the weight, but when she saw an ad for the LA Weight Loss Plan, she was intrigued at the prospect of eating non-packaged meals. When she signed up, she weighed 298 pounds. In 18 months, she lost 157 pounds, 65 inches, and 22 sizes. Jogging around campus to do errands during the day, keeping a food journal, and cycling helped Mandy whittle down to a size 2-4--smaller than she was in high school! Now at 126 pounds and a size two, she credits her inspiration to waking up each morning to work with her students.

"My Daughter Inspired Me to Lose Weight."

Losing weight was a family affair for Erin Borkowski.
Pounds lost: 60
How she did it: Playing with her daughter and downsizing portions.

As a working mom, Erin Borkowski, 32, didn't have time to focus on healthy eating and exercising. A self-described "workaholic," she spent all her downtime with her family and thought dieting was too time-consuming. But at 185 pounds, she knew she was setting a bad example for her 4-year-old daughter, so she decided to take action. Since she was always at her computer, she found low-fat recipes online to cook for her family, and read articles on nutrition and tracked her weight loss using WeightWatchers.com. She also began taking mother-daughter yoga classes offered by her daughter's preschool, jumped on the trampoline during playtime, and put an exercise bike in front of her TV so she could cycle while being with her family. Her health habits have been infectious--her daughter now prefers carrots to cookies, and asks for fruit every day. Erin downsized her portions too, splitting entrees and desserts with her hubby, who even dropped 60 pounds! Now at 125 pounds, when she's tempted to splurge, she says to herself, "Compliments feel better than food tastes."

 


next: A Harsh Message for Angelina Jolie...
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