There are few more dramatic ways to describe the amount of weight a person’s lost than to say: She’s half the person she used to be.
That’s the criteria People Magazine uses in its annual “Half Their Size” issue, on newsstands now. On Tuesday, two of these amazing biggest losers visited the TODAY Show in New York to talk about how they shed the equivalent of a full person.
“I’ve lost not only a person, but a good-sized person,” Stacie Guines proudly told TODAY’s Meredith Vieira as she showed off her new size-4 self. It took Guines three years, but she’s dropped 186 pounds after bending the scales at 340 in 2005.
Appearing with Guines was Lisa Dreher, a mother of three who dropped 130 pounds off her starting weight of 256 in under a year of diet and exercise.
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“It took me nine months,” Dreher told Vieira. “I didn’t cheat once.”
Different strokes for different folks
Guines and Dreher are among six people who lost at least half their weight and are featured in People. Combined, the two women lost 316 pounds — more than a third of the total of 921 pounds lost by the six people profiled by People.
People’s senior editor, Galina Espinoza, joined Guines and Dreher to talk about how the magazine chooses the people it features. All of them lost their weight naturally, without bariatric surgery. One goal, Espinoza said, is to show that there are many ways to lose weight; if one program doesn’t work for an individual, there’s something else that will.
“Not all people are going to be die-hard exercisers,” Expinoza told Vieira. “People have different food issues that they need to address, but no matter what your situation is, you can find a way to lose weight effectively and healthfully.”
Guines found her way through LA Weight Loss, while Dreher swears by Slim-Fast.
“What people need to realize is, weight loss is not a quick process,” Guines said. “LA Weight Loss works for me. That might not work for some people. You have to find what works for you.”
Moments of truth
Guines was 23 years old when she had her “Aha!” moment. She went for a job physical and her doctor told her that she was probably going to have to go on blood-pressure medication.
“At that point, I said, ‘I’m killing myself,’ ” she said.
Dreher’s moment of truth came not because of her own health issues, but because of her father’s. With her mother working in a different city, Dreher prepared her father’s meals, and she shared the delicious but high-calorie food with him.
“I held my dad’s hand during his second heart attack. I do all my dad’s cooking, so I knew that I was slowly killing my dad, so I just kind of changed our whole entire lifestyle to fit his,” Dreher told Vieira.
“Lord only knows what I was putting my mouth. I know it was killing me slowly,” Dreher continued. “I had medical problems. I couldn’t breathe. I was sick on a daily basis. I couldn’t even walk down the street without getting winded, and now I walk seven miles a day.”
She traded in the 12-pack of Pepsi she drank every day for Slim-Fast, bought a cheap jump rope in lieu of a gym membership, and went about losing weight with singular determination. Among her techniques was refusing to eat anything after 6 p.m.
“Once I got it in my mind, it was determination and I wasn’t going to give up. I didn’t cheat. It was every single day,” Dreher said.
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