Losing weight has plenty of rewards: better health, more energy and (finally!) fitting into that little black dress. But sometimes, as these four women learned, it brings unexpected gifts as well.
By Norine Dworkin-McDaniel
Hometown: Buckingham, Pennsylvania
Previous Weight: 230 pounds
Current Weight: 165 pounds
Weight Lost: 65 pounds
Turning Point: I'd been pregnant for almost three years in a row. With each pregnancy I gained more weight, and for years after it just never came off. I even skipped my college reunion because I didn't want anyone to see me with the extra pounds.
How She Lost It: I knew what I had to do to lose weight: exercise regularly, eat more fruits and vegetables, and toss out all the junk food. But the weight-loss programs I tried didn't explain how a working mom with three boys, ages 14, 12, and 9, could suddenly find the time to work out. Nor did they reveal why I ate when I was overwhelmed. Then on a whim I decided to see a hypnotherapist. He didn't focus on what I ate (though he did send me to a nutritionist to learn to eat better). Instead, he helped me improve my self-image and attitude. He also taught me how to handle stress without turning to food. When my dad passed away recently, I caught myself in the cupboard eating cookies. I'd had maybe two and then I stopped, stepped back, and headed outside for a walk instead. With my therapist's help, I also found time for exercise. When you have a can-do attitude it's easier to get out of bed a little earlier or to get on a treadmill instead of plopping down in front of the television after the kids are asleep.
What She Found: My husband and I have rekindled our romance. We meet for lunch, send each other "I love you" texts, and started sailing again—that's how we met, but we hadn't taken a boat out together in years because I'd gotten so big. Now we're even competing in races. And recently we went away for a night, just the two of us—something we hadn't done in the 14 years since our first child was born. We chose a beautiful hotel, just 15 minutes away from home, yet it made a world of difference. I'd bought a special outfit that showed off my new curves. After an intimate dinner and a long walk through a quaint town, we discovered that we are more than just mom and dad, we are a couple in love.