Lives in Myrtle Beach, SC
Would like to lose 41 pounds
Melissa Sargeant, 28, has weighed more than 200 pounds as far back as she can remember, but a diagnosis of lupus (an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of the joints and organs) two years ago kick-started her resolve to do something about it. Getting motivated to exercise—which would help strengthen her weakened lungs and joints—is her biggest problem. Every time she thinks about working out, all the other things she has to do suddenly come to mind "and I'll push it to the back burner," says the assistant high school principal in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Currently 5 feet 11 inches and 236 pounds, Sargeant would like to see 195 on the scale and is "ready to meet someone who has lost weight and lived through the struggle—someone who can say, 'This worked for me. This didn't.'"
Mentor: Lisa Erspamer
Lives in Chicago
Has kept 90 pounds off for over a year
It's hard to imagine that Lisa Erspamer's enthusiasm for fitness won't rub off on Sargeant. Erspamer, 33, a producer for The Oprah Winfrey Show , lost 90 pounds a year ago, largely through exercise—and her life was transformed. She went from feeling extremely alienated (thinking nobody would get past her big size to know the real person inside) to becoming so socially confident that she can now reach out to others. Erspamer says she had "tried every possible diet you can imagine" before teaming up with Oprah and five other Spa Girls for daily workouts, and she's currently training for her second Chicago marathon. Erspamer is a big believer in the power of exercise to untangle the complicated emotional relationships that serial dieters tend to have with food. If you're an athlete, you eat to fuel your body, so the choice is simple: Select a healthy diet. Excited to share with Sargeant what she has learned, Erspamer says, "I think it will help me stay motivated and inspired."
Follow Up with Melissa and Lisa