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These sisters take sibling rivalry to the next level: They recently competed to lose weight, and wound up dropping 245 pounds together — while drastically changing their relationships with food.
“It wasn’t as difficult as I thought. Basically, you just took everything momma told you all your life and do it,” Jacquee Broaddus, who lost 80 pounds, told TODAY.
Her sister, Jessee Baldwin, who lost 165 pounds, agreed.
“The changes I have found have a lot to do with realizing I am worth something. I am worth saving,” said Baldwin.
While the sisters gained the weight in different ways, they lost it by doing the same thing.
Broaddus, 36, was thin most of her life and enjoyed a diet that included cheese fries and nachos. She was slightly overweight when she got married, but didn’t feel too unhealthy.
After having six children, she failed to lose the baby weight and at 5 feet 7 inches tall, she weighed 228 pounds.
“Those cheese fries caught up to me and I just couldn’t eat whatever I wanted whenever I wanted anymore. But I just never changed my eating habits,” she said.
Her sister’s story is a little different. She remembers weighing 200 pounds in third grade. Even though she played volleyball, basketball and softball in high school, and basketball in college, she weighed about 300 pounds.
“I can’t even imagine how big I would have been if I didn’t play sports,” she said. “I was huge and very uncomfortable running up and down the court.”
She tried everything from a lemon juice and maple syrup cleanse to the cabbage soup diet. At her heaviest, Baldwin, 38, weighed 370 pounds. But it was a late night chat with her then 5-year-old daughter that encouraged Baldwin to make a change. At 11 p.m., she heard Katie crying. When Baldwin asked Katie what was wrong, she said:
“Mommy, you’re not healthy and I’m scared."
After that night in 2015, Baldwin called a health coach to lose weight. She followed a meal plan, which included meal replacements (like shakes or bars) or meals every two to three hours. After she lost some weight, she switched to eating all meals that were low-carb, high-protein and loaded with veggies.
“We follow and create healthy habits. People can pretty much lose weight with any program out there, but if you don’t change your relationship with food, if you don’t create healthy habits, it will never last,” Baldwin said.
After she lost some weight, she visited her sister, who lives outside of Houston, Texas. When Broaddus saw that her older sister was slimming down, the sibling rivalry kicked in and she told Baldwin:
“My goodness, you’re getting smaller than me. That can’t happen.”
Baldwin, who lives in Redding, California, had just started working as a health coach and was looking for her first client. Broaddus was still nursing so she wasn’t sure if she could cut too many calories, but her husband, Chuck, 46, volunteered to be first. Within six months, he lost 100 pounds. The 5-foot-8-inch man dropped another 10 pounds and has maintained his 170-pound weight since the middle of 2016. At the same time, Broaddus followed the same diet without the meal replacements and lost 80 pounds.
“I guess it kind of took my sister to kick me in the rear,” Broaddus said.
The 5-foot-10-inch Baldwin is down to 205 pounds and plans to lose more and maintain a healthy lifestyle. The sisters provided this advice to help others interested in losing weight:
1. Create good habits.
Baldwin encourages people to get seven to eight hours of sleep a night and drink half their body weight in ounces of water. Creating many healthy habits makes it easier for people to stick with healthy eating.
2. Fight cravings with water.
When Broaddus nursed her children, she craved sugary foods and ate candy bars to satiate that desire. But Baldwin recommended she try something new: When a craving strikes, drink a glass of water. If your body still craves food after the water, then eat the candy bar. But Broaddus found that most of the time, she wasn’t hungry.
“I don’t need it. I just wanted it because it’s there,” said Broaddus. “I was eating mainly out of boredom.”
3. Don’t wait too long.
Losing weight takes a lot of hard work and the more you have to lose, the harder you have to work. That’s why Broaddus advises others to begin now.
“Don’t wait until you are well over 200 pounds. Start today,” said Broaddus.
For more weight-loss inspiration, check out our My Weight-Loss Journey page!