A health scare prompted aNew Jerseyteacher to alter her eating habits and start moving. Her husband followed suit and they each lost more than 60 pounds!
Before: 250 pounds
After: 185 pounds
Height: 5′ 10″
Before: 250 pounds
After: 172 pounds
Height: 5′ 7″
Before they were husband and wife, Angela and Christopher Patterson graduated high school weighing about 200 pounds each. The couple, both teachers fromFranklin,NJ, married in 2004 and ate whatever food they craved with little regard to nutrition or portions. Fatty foods and dessert were staples of their married life, but regular exercise was not. Then in 2007, they met with a dietitian and discovered they could lose weight just by making healthy changes to their diet.
The Turning Point
A doctor told Angela, then 27, she had high triglycerides. Not wanting to rely on medication or lead an unhealthy life, she decided to improve her eating habits. She threw out the cookies and other junk food in the kitchen but found herself hungry all the time. “I was starving and didn’t know what else I could eat,” she says. So she made an appointment with a nutritionist.
Try these 7 Kitchen Swaps for Healthier Eating
The Pattersons made small food swaps at every meal and reaped big rewards. Instead of orange juice and sugary cereals, they start the morning with high-fiber cereal to keep them satisfied longer. For lunch, they choose turkey or chicken breast in a light wrap instead of cold cuts on a roll. Two servings of vegetables paired with lean meats, such as ground turkey, have replaced their grain-heavy dinners of pasta and rice. They save carbs for dessert and enjoy small servings of low-fat ice cream.
They couple also became more physically active. For the first 6 months, Angela turned to the treadmill and walked about 30 minutes a day. She then added step aerobics, Pilates, and The Biggest Loser DVDs. Christopher started running on the treadmill before buying a Bowflex and a mountain bike. In 2009, the couple hired a personal trainer and began running 5-Ks and completed the P90X routine twice. Now they try to exercise 30 to 60 minutes, 5 days a week.
The Couple Factor
As chef of the household, Christopher had no choice but to jump on board with what Angela refers to as her “lifestyle change.” But he’s not complaining. Though he had not been trying to slim down, he lost 50 pounds just by piggy-backing off his wife’s new diet. “Because he supported me by helping me choose the right foods and cooking healthier, it benefited him as well,” Angela says.
For Christopher, the best parts about this new lifestyle are running 5-Ks and exercising with his wife. Angela’s favorite moment happened when she stopped by a colleague’s classroom and her former students (from the previous year) didn’t even recognize her.
Start small. Set realistic and measurable goals, such as going down a clothing size. Make your ultimate goal to become healthier. —Christopher
You have to really want it. Having a goal to lose weight is great, but you must realize it is a long-term commitment that requires a change in lifestyle. —Angela