Research shows that getting fit with a buddy can increase your chances of success. But what if that special partner is your mom? Meet four pairs of women who slimmed down (for a total of 526 pounds shed!), strengthened their bond and give new meaning to the adage "Like mother, like daughter."
Diane, 59, and Julie, 33
Total pounds lost: 151 (81 and 70)
Inspired by Julie's weight loss-which she achieved by reducing and tracking her food intake on SparkPeople.com and exercising 30 minutes three times per week-Diane joined her daughter in her quest to shed excess pounds. She was also motivated by her doctor's suggestion that weight loss might help her avoid future surgery for chronic knee pain.
Mom says: "Even though our methods of weight loss have been different-Julie gets up early to run; I sneak in walks at coffee breaks and lunch during my job at the local hospital-we have a mutual understanding. I watch her daughter while she goes on long runs, and she introduces me to new recipes, like black bean and corn salsa, and lets me borrow clothes for my new size."
Daughter says: "A built-in support system at family functions is key. We have a united front for suggesting a walk instead of playing cards while munching on snacks. And we know that there will be at least two healthy dishes at a potluck."
Carol, 63, and Cristina, 25
Total pounds lost: 92 (25 and 67)
After four years of working-and eating-at a restaurant, Cristina had packed on some pounds. For her mother, Carol, menopause was to blame. Right before a vacation cruise, the two realized something had to be done. Carol's boyfriend had brought over a scale to weigh their luggage; Cristina decided to hop on and was shocked by the number. The two decided that after the cruise, they were going to diet. Inspired by actress Sara Rue's commercials about her weight-loss success, they chose Jenny Craig.
Mom says: "I now know how much weight loss can make a difference in other health issues. I was on medication for both blood pressure and cholesterol when I was at my highest weight, but now my levels are totally normal."
Daughter says: "Now that I've dropped the weight, I'm back to eating my own food again (rather than the Jenny Craig prepared meals). This is the first time that I've actually had the motivation to keep it off and maintain my healthy lifestyle."
Gail, 57, and Carri, 29
Total pounds lost: 140 (20 and 120)
Despite being long-distance-Carri lives in Boston; her mother, Gail, in Tampa, Florida-these two decided to team up after talking on the phone about their weights and how unhappy it made them. Prompted by her success with Weight Watchers in the past, Carri suggested the two try the program together from afar.
Mom says: "Accept comments that come from those who love you and are being brutally honest. Doing this has only made our relationship stronger and more loving because we know it's in each other's best interests."
Daughter says: "Be stubborn and maybe a little bit selfish (but in a good way). Losing weight is a personal thing, so there is nothing wrong with putting yourself first. Don't stop to make someone else feel better about themselves. After I lost 50 pounds, I was told by my boyfriend that I didn't need to lose any more weight, and he thought I looked great. I told him thank you, but it had nothing to do with him."
Laurie, 52, and Emily, 27
Total pounds lost: 143 (40 and 103)
Weight loss was a lifelong struggle for Laurie, who tried different plans and diets but always found them ineffective in the long run. In 2007, she stumbled across the food-tracking site SparkPeople.com, and has been hooked ever since. Eventually she invited her daughter-in-law, Emily, to participate, and the two strengthened their relationship through gradual weight loss and connecting online. Now they feel more like mom and daughter, and are preparing to run a half-marathon together-Laurie's fourth and Emily's first.
Mom says: "Assemble your cheerleaders! Your family and friends will be a very vital tool in your weight-loss success. Let them know just how important they are to you and that you appreciate them cheering you on when you need motivation."
Daughter says: "Calories should be spent wisely. Use them like money. I ask myself whether a food is worth spending 300 of my calories on. By doing this, I eat less food now, but the quality is so much higher! I would much rather spend 400 calories on a piece of maple-glazed salmon, grilled zucchini kebabs and garlic red-skinned potatoes than on a single piece of taco pizza."
Original article appeared on WomansDay.com.