Patient Stories Weight Management

Together, mother and daughter lose almost 140 pounds

May 7, 2013
CHI Health

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Together, mother and daughter lose almost 140 pounds

Talk about a Happy Mother’s Day

Karen Reed just wanted to feel better. Emily Reed was tired of being heavier than her friends. “I was obese,” she said. “My clothes didn’t fit well. I dreaded summer. I hated to go shopping.”

So mother and daughter decided to lose weight together. They’d heard about the CHI Health Weight Management program at Immanuel Medical Center and liked the fact that it was medically-supervised.

Emily, 25, and 58-year-old Karen signed up. “I needed to do it,” mother Karen said. “But I was afraid I’d have to give up so much.”

Both were pleasantly surprised. Phase one was 13 weeks long and 80 to 90 percent of their groceries were provided by the program: weight loss meals, shakes and bars. They bought their own fruits and vegetables.

“You go literally from having all the choices in the world to having no choices,” the daughter said. But she knew it was what she needed. Their meals became healthier and the program taught them how to change behaviors and lifelong habits. “I learned so much, the younger Reed said. “I always thought, ‘I can eat whatever I want.’ I never thought about what I was putting in my mouth”

They met weekly in classes with assigned health educators. Under the program, diet and exercise plans are customized with individual coaching. Physicians, dietitians and exercise science experts are also available to participants.

“You have to report in to everybody what you’re eating. You know if you cheat, you will set yourself back,” the younger Reed said.

“For me, it was the accountability that made it work,” the mother said. “Accountability to the class, to the health educator, to yourself and to your family. And when you achieve a little bit, you get so excited, you keep going.”

They watched the pounds fall off. “It feels amazing. It gives you the momentum to keep striving,” the daughter said. “I can show you my Facebook page. Whenever I made a goal or posted a new picture, I’d get a lot of ‘likes.’ People would ask, ‘How did you do it?'”

Mother and daughter leaned on each other a lot. They planned meals together. Once, when she was at a Christmas cookie exchange, the younger Reed called her mom. “I told her, ‘Give me three reasons why I can’t eat that cookie!’ Losing weight is a lot about support. There’s an emotional side to losing that much weight. It’s good to be able to talk about what you’re going through emotionally.”

Her mother lost 55 pounds, dropped from a size 1X to a 6 and went off her medication for high cholesterol. Daughter Emily lost 80 pounds and went from a size 14 to a 4. Her body fat fell from 50 percent to 26 percent. Today she does circuit training with high-intensity cardio workouts.

Mom goes for long walks for her exercise and reads labels before she’ll buy anything at the grocery store. She prides herself on her colorful plates, which always have vegetables on them. “I have a different outlook on everything in general,” she said. “I’m not as irritable. I’m happy. When my sisters from out of town saw me, they started crying. They hadn’t seen me so small in 25 years.”

“You literally are what you eat,” said her daughter. She knows a lot of people who lose weight end up gaining it back. “I am not going to be a statistic. I learned so much about how to eat. I’ll never go back to where I was,” she said and looked at her mother. “Plus we have each other.”

Their plans for Mother’s Day? “We’ll probably grill out, with lean meat, of course!”

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