Lives in Ontario, Canada
Married with 3 kids
Wants to lose 40 pounds
This mother of three kids all under the age of six has trouble putting order into her days. Cynthia eats standing up and spends most of the dinner hours trying to get her kids to eat, and therefore tends to eat easy-to-grab food that is not always healthy. "I often wonder why I'm not 100 pounds. I must travel about 50 miles a day running around after the kids and nursing. My metabolism must be at a snails pace!"
Cynthia has lost 12 pounds so far, but not without a struggle. It's not coming off as easily after she reached the 10-pound mark. She works out with a personal trainer three days a week, and tries not to eat after 6 p.m. "I wouldn't say I'm on a diet. I'm watching what I eat and am leaving food on my plate. I try to eat a lot of fruit and vegetables. I have limited my breads and pastas."
Having Sandy as a mentor has really helped Cynthia. She says, "The best advice she [Sandy] has given me is to find out why I was an emotional eater. When my life feels out of control, I tend to eat more. Now I try to replace that with something else. If I find myself heading that way, I try to distract myself by going for a walk. I'm still guilty of it but I seem to be getting my emotional eating under control. Nothing happens overnight. I'm trying to make this a lifestyle change not just a diet."
Mentor: Sandy Paulson, 37
Lives in Plymouth, MN
Married with two young children
Has kept 75 pounds off for 17 years
Sandy has managed to keep her weight off for 17 years by using her the way she used to look as an incentive to stay on top of it. Her eating habits, as well as her metabolism have changed, which makes it easier to maintain her weight. Sandy doesn't use a scale to help her maintain her weight, because she thinks scales can be discouraging. "I know what size clothing that I want to be in, and as long as I fit that size, I'm happy. Women's weight fluctuates so much during the month that it could be discouraging for someone trying to lose weight."
Follow Up with Cynthia and Sandy
At the onset of the program, Cynthia and Sandy kept in touch about two to three times per week. Although they are not in contact as frequently, they still email occasionally and have both discovered a new friend. "If nothing else," says Cynthia, "I have made a good friend. She gives me great advice. She has young kids, too, and understands where I am coming from. She has been a wonderful buddy."
The mother of three children, all under age 7, Cynthia's greatest challenge has been putting order into her life. "I still eat standing up. There's no such thing as a sit-down meal for my husband and I. Now I take advantage of when the kids are at school. Lunchtime is my sit-down meal. This allows me to focus and relax."
"I think the best advice I gave Cynthia was to try to remember to set aside some time each day just for her," says Sandy.
"I am trying to be very conscious of my habits and, in the mean time, learning a lot about myself. I've realized that I have to find time for 'me' in order to stay healthy. I'm learning to steal those extra moments alone," says Cynthia.
Although Cynthia put some of the weight back on during the holidays, she lost about 12 pounds and is still working hard to meet her goals. She's walking about three times a week, as well as making small life changes, like parking further from her destination, and taking stairs instead of the elevator. She's come a long way in recognizing what she needs to be successful. "The greatest thing for me during this journey has been a greater self-awareness," says Cynthia.