Is gaining weight back after losing it inevitable? According to some experts, the answer may be yes. A study from Colorado State University Extension proposed that an estimated 50 million Americans go on a diet each year and only 5 percent manage to keep the weight off.
Researchers studying these trends, including Dr. George L. Blackburn of the Federal Trade Commission, speculate that where weight loss programs fail is the promise for quick results and failure to communicate the importance of forming long-term healthy habits such as reducing calorie intake and increasing physical activity.
Other proof that diets aren’t the answer? Research shows that Americans tend to gain between .4 and 1.8 pounds every year. While that may not sound drastic, in reality it means that a 20-year old who weighs 130 pounds might weigh 148 by the time they reach 30, and 166 pounds by age 40!
These grim figures may be tied to the fact that most people gain back two-thirds of the weight lost in their first year after a diet program and 100 percent of their weight lost in five years (according to a 1997 FTC report).
So what can we do to lose weight and, more importantly, keep it off? According to recent research we reported on earlier this week, Michaela Kiernan, PhD. and her team at Stanford University School of Medicine, focusing on weight loss instead of a lifetime of maintaining a healthy weight may be a dangerous trap.
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For sisters Brianne Canepa – a 32-year-old paramedic and quality manager for Kaiser Permanente – and Cara Garcia – a 31-year-old communications specialist at Stanford Life Flight – weight loss has been a joint effort. In the last year the pair has managed to drop more than 200 pounds together, and it all started with a life-changing visit to the Biggest Loser Resort in Malibu, California.
At their heaviest, Brianne weighed 361 pounds and Cara, 308 pounds. However, it’s a totally different story now ever since the sisters embarked on a weight loss journey that transformed their health and their lives for the better. Today, Brianne weighs 258 pounds and Cara, 197, which is a combined weight loss of an amazing 214 pounds.
In the process of shrinking down together, these sisters have not only kept each other motivated but also bonded and became even closer friends than they were before. To tell this inspiring story, we’ve asked Cara and Brianne to share about their journeys in their own words starting with where it all began: The gain.
left to right: Cara and Brianne, respectively.
When did your individual struggles with weight begin?
Cara: I was a skinny mini most of my childhood and through high school. Wearing size 12 was the biggest size I wore. I was very active and could pretty much eat anything I wanted to. In 2000, I left home and lived in the dorm at San Jose State University. It was my first experience making my own schedule, my own food choices and none of it was good. I was eating crappy food and taking naps between classes. I think I went to the gym once that whole first year. The freshman 30 turned into 10 years and more than 100 pounds.
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Hollywood’s sappiest love stories begin with two beautiful, hot-bodied actors running toward each other on the beach. Romance sparks when they accidentally bump into each other while not paying attention to where they’re going and then, as they say, the rest is history: marriage, pets, 2.5 kids and a white picket fence ensue.
But the type of love stories we prefer to tell are the ones that play out in real life, like the one between Zach and Kathryn Bohannon from Nashville, Tennessee, who, earlier this year, started a dedicated journey to health and have since collectively lost more than 160 pounds. And the best part about it? Once they reach their respective goal weights they’re going to get remarried and take new wedding photos to celebrate their new, happier, healthier selves. Now that’s the kind of romance I think the world should know about.
This true weight loss story focuses first on Zach, 28, who had been overweight his whole life, mostly due to the fact that he was an extremely picky eater as a child which made it extremely hard for his parents to get much healthy food on his plate.
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