By Jennifer Rothacker, MomsCharlotte.com
Collectively they lost 35 pounds, 5.5 percent of their body fat and nearly 12 inches off their waists.
There's little doubt that the three moms who accepted the MomsCharlotte.com Lose Weight challenge were big losers and well on the way to meeting their goals.
In early January, the Observer's Web site for parents teamed with the YMCA to help moms and dads shed unwanted pounds. YMCA trainer Betsy Shuster provided weekly tips (drink 3 quarts of water a day, do cardio 45 minutes three times a week, weights for 30 minutes twice a week, etc.). The Web site provided online support groups.
Three of the moms agreed to be before-and-after models. They each went into the program with goals far beyond the 6 weeks. They wanted to make lifestyle changes and stop yo-yo dieting.
They revved up their exercise routine, whether it was something simple such as family walks after dinner or something more intense, like kickboxing classes at the Y.
They each switched up their diets, adding in more whole grains and cutting out the junk – or at least most of it. There were plenty of slip-ups along the way. Julia Peskir said she couldn't part with pizza. Stacy Kiker didn't want to kick her soda habit and her evening glass of wine, so she allowed herself just one (the wine – a mom needs a break!). Markatta Hicklen found her biggest challenge was finding time to eat right. A mom of four and in nursing school, Hicklen is often on the go, so she started packing water and Slim Fast protein shakes in her car.
And then there was the stress eating when exhaustion, frustration and basic parenthood hit full force. But when those mistakes happened, these women had the motivation – and the tools taught by Shuster – to get back on track.
Here's how each of them fared:
South Charlotte mom to 3 and a niece
Pounds lost: 11
Goal for the year: 40 pounds
Inches from waist: 7 3/4
Body fat decline: 2.3 percent
What worked: Stacy worked out with YWCA trainer Betsy Shuster one-on-one, and the intensity really helped her drop some inches. While it seems unlikely to lose nearly 8 inches but only 11 pounds, Shuster says the bulk of Stacy's fat was in her middle (three kids – including twins – will do that to you). And that's where she dropped her pounds. She also bulked up her muscles, which are heavier than fat.
Stacy switched to whole wheat bread and pastas, skim milk and smoothies with flaxseed.
University City mom of 4
Pounds lost: 20
Inches from waist: 3
Body fat decline: 3 percent
What worked: Drinks at least 3 quarts of water and does 300 crunches a day. She also discovered kick boxing. A nurse in training, she carries extra books in her backpack.
University City mom of 3
Pounds lost: 4
Goal for the year: 25 to 30 pounds
Inches from waist: 1
Body fat decline: 0.2 percent
What worked: She and her family began walking most evenings – Julia carrying the baby in a backpack and pushing the other two in a stroller. She also cut back on processed foods and began eating smaller portions.
Need more inspiration?
Don't use a busy schedule as an excuse not to exercise. YMCA Trainer Betsy Shuster says find five minutes to:
Do squats while folding laundry. Set the basket on the floor and bend up and down to retrieve the clothes.
Use your stairs for exercise. Run up and down them 50 times or do step-ups, or seated one-legged stands.
Every commercial break on TV, do a set of 50 crunches or 50 jumping jacks or 25 push-ups. Change it up every time. Don't fast-forward your DVR! By the end of the hour, you will have done all three exercises.
Don't think, “I need to lose X pounds in X days. Think, “What am I going to do TODAY to make my life better with exercise?” It is amazing what small incremental results can do for your ego, your body image and your resolve.
Check out our forum discussion with Stacy, Markatta and Julia!