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Lisa Shumpert
By Correspondent
Dateline NBC
updated 7/22/2005 8:15:08 PM ET 2005-07-23T00:15:08

Meet Lisa
Lisa Shumpert is the tallest and the heaviest of all the "Dateline Diet Challenge" brides at 5 feet 9 inches and 308 lbs.

“I am not walking down the aisle looking like a balloon,” she says. “Right now I’m the biggest person in my bridal party. I want the attention to be on me because it’s my wedding and not because, ‘Wow, she’s huge.’”

Shumpert has battled being overweight all her life. She’s tried dieting before but has never been able to keep the weight off. And obesity runs in her family — her father was obese and died of a heart attack when she was 7 years old.

But at the age of 29, Shumpert has a lot going for her. She’s a successful accountant and says she gets lots of support from her mother and two sisters.

Shopping for a dress wasn't easy. “The largest size of the dress I chose still didn’t fit me. So it was like, ‘Okay, Lisa this is it.’ No one wants to not fit their wedding dress.”

As any bride knows, one of the first decisions is picking a dress which is usually ordered months in advance. So Shumpert is taking a big gamble by ordering  a gown three sizes too small for her. To meet her goal, she chooses the appropriately-named “Wedding Dress Diet” by Robyn Flipse and Jacqueline Shannon. Shumpert wants to lose 40 lbs. by her wedding day. She literally can’t afford to fail.

Month 1
Shumpert realizes that at this point  there is no “Plan B.” “If I don’t reach my goal, I can’t fit in my dress, and my dress would have been bought,” she says.“I’ve never had a waist, and I would just like to see a waist at some point in my lifetime.”

To lose weight, Shumpert starts working out with a personal trainer at The Training Loft.

She is getting help revamping her eating habits from Flipse, a nutritionist. The “Wedding Dress Diet” emphasizes counting calories. She’s limited to 2,200 calories a day — 1,000 less than what she consumes now.

And if getting started on a diet wasn’t hard enough, Shumpert also has plenty of wedding worries, including her guest list: “My reception hall only holds 175 people. And when I did my guest list just for my family and friends, I had about 169. So that doesn’t leave Josh with many people.”

Month 2
Since starting her diet, Shumpert has gained endurance and self-discipline. She needs plenty of it as she faces temptation from her family and her fiance. “Food is a huge part of our relationship. And so if I’m not eating as much as him, I don’t know if it makes him feel bad, but he’s just like, ‘Come on, eat it. Don’t make me eat by myself.’”

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Despite the temptations, Shumpert is sticking to her diet and taking an extra step: Although her nutritionist put her on a limit of 2,200 calories a day, she says she’s limiting herself to a meager 1,500 calories. And she’s keeping a close record in her food journal.

But is all her hard work paying off? At her second weigh-in, Shumpert, who started out at 308 lbs.—., is down a whopping 14 lbs.

Month 5
Things are running down to the wire for Shumpert. Adding to her mounting stress is the fixer-upper house she and her fiancé bought, which needs extensive remodeling.

She decides to give herself a break and relieve some tension. On her last birthday as a single woman, she throws her worries aside and hits her favorite Mexican restaurant.

“I don’t feel bad about it. I don’t feel guilty. I’m enjoying my birthday,” she said that night.

Of course, she pays dearly the next morning: As she's doing her leg presses, she hates those tacos.

Her gown has finally arrived and it’s the moment of truth: Lisa gets the dress on, but still can’t zip it up.  Her dressmaker holds off on alterations for three weeks — which is not a lot of time to lose another four inches from her waist.

Dateline NBC

Her wedding day
By her wedding day, Shumpert has lost a total of 30 lbs. It’s short of her 40-lbs. goal, but for her, it’s an amazing achievement.

The woman who couldn’t fit in the largest size of her wedding dress can comfortably zip her gown. She went from a size 24 to a size 18.

Did she keep the weight off?
A year after her wedding, Lisa Shumpert has maintained her weight.

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