Lives in Cleveland, OH
Would like to lose 75 pounds
For Terry Halfacre, weight has always been an issue. Now 41, the laboratory metrologist (she deals with the science of measurement), part-time teacher, and former president of her local NOW chapter in Cleveland says, with evident frustration, "This is the only area of my life where I am a failure." She did manage to lose about 75 pounds in her mid-thirties, but when she got pregnant three years ago "the weight came back almost as though I'd turned the faucet on." After having the baby, she tried to slim down again, without success. "I kept saying, 'I'll do it when Emily's 6 months...1 year...2 years.'" But now that her daughter is almost 3, Halfacre realizes, "The simple task of playing with Emily is really hard. I need to get fit to enjoy her." Though 75 pounds is roughly the amount she'd like to lose again—this time for good—the 5-foot-8-inch, 240-pound Halfacre says, "Really my goal is just to be healthy and to be in charge of my weight, rather than having it be in charge of me."
Mentor: Linda Thacker
Lives in Norfolk, VA
Has kept off 120 pounds for over 9 years
Fortunately for Halfacre, Linda Thacker, a computer network engineer at the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia, understands the kind of transformation some people must undergo to take off weight permanently. Though she had gone on all sorts of diets, Thacker, now 52, says she didn't lose 120 pounds until she was ready to do it for herself—not for her father, not for her first husband, not for some societal ideal. (Seeing a video of herself at a high school reunion wearing a white jumpsuit, weighing 220 at 5 feet 3 inches—"not a pretty sight"—was her moment of reckoning.) Once she made the commitment, a commercial diet program gave her the jump start she needed to shed half her body weight, and she's kept it off for nine years since then. "It really takes three things: desire, determination, and dedication," says Thacker. "But if you don't have the desire to start, it ain't going to happen." Thacker is convinced that the benefits of mentoring are reciprocal. "Whenever I'm helping someone else through challenges, it keeps me on track. And this is really important. I'm never going back to the other way!"
Follow Up with Terry and Linda