It was a weight battle that consumed years of their lives, but one day the Owens family decided they were ready to make a change.
The Ballantyne family formed “Team Owens” and collectively has lost 170 pounds since April 2012. The family now encourages others as they continue to shed pounds.
Lisa Owens, mother of Sierra, 19, and Evan, 16, has struggled to maintain a healthy weight her whole life.
“I’d been on Weight Watchers before, but I wasn’t really happy that I had to be there,” Lisa said.
So she asked her husband, Phillip, if he’d go with her to support her. He agreed.
“So we went, and it took off,” Lisa said. “I just got sick and tired of being sick and tired. That’s when we started talking about it to Sierra.”
At the time, Sierra was a senior at Ardrey Kell High School. When school let out that June, she decided to give Weight Watchers a try.
“The first week, you’re supposed to lose a good amount of weight, but I gained a pound and a half, so I called my dad and said ‘I need to start going to the gym,’ ” Sierra said.
The family had been members of the YMCA since moving to Charlotte 11 years ago. But for the first time, they took advantage of their membership. Sierra started going to the Morrison YMCA every day at 5 a.m., usually with her dad. Shortly before she left for college at Appalachian State University, she started going to the Y twice a day.
Sierra’s weight loss was dramatic; she was hooked on getting in shape.
“I took that to school with me,” she said. “I live with a friend at school and she goes to Weight Watchers meetings with me, and I work out at school every day.
“I love adding the healthier version of myself.”
In fact, Sierra is majoring in health-care management and hopes to become a hospital director.
To unite the family’s mission, Phillip came up with the “Team Owens” idea last summer. “I thought we’d empower each other, promote each other and do volunteer work together,” Phillip said.
The family – including Evan, who is not on a weight-loss program – has volunteered at the YMCA’s fundraiser, Inspire!, as well as at Good Samaritan House, the Charlotte Rescue Mission, Matthews Help Center and other places.
The family hopes to volunteer 400 hours this year. As a team, they also have decided to publicize their weight loss on social media.
“Letting everyone know makes me take ownership and responsibility,” said Lisa.
The story of their struggle, successes and setbacks has encouraged others.
“I’ve had friends since I’ve been home ask to work out with me and ask what I was doing,” Sierra said. “Getting other people motivated is awesome.
“I had a lady today, coming out of a Weight Watchers meeting, walk up and say, ‘You inspire me.’ It’s not why I’m doing it, but it’s really cool.”
Sierra had lost 84 pounds as of early February.
“Our motto is, ‘Faith first, then family, education, then sports,’” Phillip said. “We try to live by that.”
Lauren Bailey is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Lauren? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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