Name Jessica Stevens
Home Mansfield, TX
Job Stay-at-home mom
Weight Before: 178
Weight After: 143
The Gain: Imagine spending every day with the tempting contents of your refrigerator. That's how Jessica Stevens joined the big leagues. Her husband, Jonathan, worked late hours and was never home until their two daughters, Madison and Abigail, now 8 and 6, were well into dreamland. "We had just moved to San Francisco and I didn't have any friends or family in the area," she says. "I was home alone. I wasn't working out. I felt sluggish, terrible, and completely depressed." Food seemed to provide a reprieve.
The Change: One day Madison asked to go outside and play, so Stevens took the girls to the park — where she sat on the sidelines and watched. "They wanted me to chase them and run, and I just didn't want to do any of that. I was sitting there letting their childhood pass me by. I felt terrible. I knew I had to do something."
The Life: Stevens joined a Weight Watchers chapter and a Bally Total Fitness club the next day. She began walking a couple of times a week on a treadmill, with the girls in the club's childcare center. She also followed Weight Watchers religiously, always staying within her daily allotment of points. "I started in August, and I hit my 30-pound loss around Thanksgiving. And I've kept the weight off ever since." Two years later Stevens no longer attends Weight Watchers meetings, but she still opts for smarter foods and smaller portions. When the family moved to Texas in 2002, Stevens bought a treadmill and now walks or jogs 3 to 5 days per week for 45 minutes in the comfort of her home.
The Reward: "The greatest reward is how much better I feel," Stevens says. "I wasn't as concerned about my outward appearance, which I feel great about now. I just wanted to feel good again and be able to keep up with my kids. And I do."
Her Tips: Start small. "The first time I went to Bally's, I lasted maybe 10 minutes on the treadmill, but I got there. Just get up and go."
Get one free. "I allowed myself one day each week where I ate what I wanted without feeling guilty. As I started losing weight, and feeling better, I ate less and less on that day."
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