Mentee: Barbara Adelman
Lives in Los Angeles
Would like to lose 15 pounds

Barbara Adelman, 48, wants to lose 15 pounds. It's not much, and in a way that's what makes the challenge so difficult. "I can fit into an airplane seat, nobody's laughing at me," says Adelman, a freelance writer in Los Angeles who, at 5 feet 1, weighs about 125 pounds. "But I struggle with my weight. I feel bad, and when I try to explain it to people, they say, 'Oh, you're fine.'" What really bothers her is the way food controls her life. "I'm constantly thinking about it, worrying about it. It's my drug," she says. "I just want to throw a wrench into the machine." Adelman has tried weight-loss programs, but the "carnival atmosphere" of the group sessions makes her feel that her "intelligence is being insulted." Having a mentor who (a) takes her problem seriously and (b) offers support in vulnerable times will be, Adelman imagines, "incredibly helpful."

Mentor: Rande Brown
Lives in New York City
Has kept 30 pounds off for two years

Rande Brown, 51, a translator of Buddhist texts who lives in New York City, can easily relate to Adelman's story. Two years ago Brown decided to lose 30 pounds that had crept onto her 5-foot-1-inch frame during her forties. Finding the idea of a diet group unappealing, she did her own research by polling friends with weight problems about their greatest pitfalls and reading Dieting for Dummies for basic advice. Then she just dove in, using the equation all weight loss hangs on: Burn more calories than you take in. For the "burn" part, she put herself on a nonnegotiable 45-minute-a-day treadmill routine. For the "take in" portion, Brown, who's "not into deprivation," loaded up on fruit and protein in return for eliminating dairy fat and remembered that, calorically, "one hunk of cheddar is the same as a lot of arugula." In six months she shed the 30 pounds and has kept the weight off since. "I feel quite triumphant," she says.

 Follow Up with Barbara and Rande


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