Two big reveals today. One: How my parents lost a whopping 50 pounds. And two: My parents are Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta. I know, shocking. But let’s try to focus on the how my parents lost 50 pounds part shall we, and not how my Dad spends a lot of his free time with Tom Cruise and can fly an airliner.
The three things my Mom and Dad did to lose 50 pounds (yes, they’re legal!)…
1. Sweatin to the Oldies with Richard Simmons (amazeballs!)
2. Taking Green Coffee Bean Extract
3. Eating Healthier & Smaller Portions
A little background:
Growing up, we always had “three square meals” a day, as my parents would say. But, we also always had a candy dish full of M&Ms sitting out. (Kind of awesome, I know). My Mom is famous for her chocolate fudge cake and my Dad is famous for his fudge. (Wait, I’m noticing a pattern…) So, to say the family has a sweet tooth would not be an understatement. So, when I saw my newly svelte, bouncy parents at Christmas, I thought Who are these people?! The last time my parents visited us in LA, my poor Dad could barely join us on our daily walk (to the frozen yogurt shop, naturally) because of back pain and my Mom, who had a knee replacement a few years ago, wasn’t exactly running marathons. So, I had to know…
How They Did It:
It turns out, I can take a little (tiny) credit, along with my pal, Dr. Oz.
“I heard you talk about Richard Simmons and going to his workout class,” reveals Mom, “so when I saw his DVD in Walmart, I picked it up, more as a joke, to give to Dad for his birthday.” Dad didn’t even open the wrapper and I recall him being really confused as to why Mom gave that to him as a gift (ha!). Finally, my Mom tried it out. “At first, I thought there was no way I was going to work up enough sweat to make any difference,” she confesses.” Boy, was I wrong! The first time I exercised to the video, I was sweating like a pig and didn’t think I was going to make it through. After a week or so, Dad decided to try it with me. He couldn’t believe the workout he got from it either. It gave us both a new respect for dancers!”
“It really seemed corny at first,” confesses Dad, “but really produced results.” And, he says it was a workout he could do despite lower-back issues. “The exercises actually reduced my chronic lower-back pain by 90 percent and I no longer have to receive steroid injections in my back.” Incredible, right? He’s back to the Dad I remember from years back, the one who always made us go outside and toss a football with him (yes, I can throw a football like nobody’s business, thankyouverymuch). My Dad’s so grateful to Richard Simmons that next time my parents come to visit, he actually wants to go with me to a Slimmons class so he can say thank you to Richard Simmons. Who knew this first meeting would lead to this?
Of course, diet played a large role too…
Why They Did It:
“The first time the scale hit 200 pounds, it was the wake-up call,” Dad says. “I immediately started eliminating junk food, ice cream, bread, potatoes and pasta and I reduced portion size,” he notes. Mom says, candidly: “I was very uncomfortable in my clothes, especially my jeans.” She cut out soda and says, “it took that bloated feeling from my stomach and my jeans felt much better right away.” She confesses, “I always look at everyone else and compare myself to them. I always felt like the fattest person…and truthfully, I did not want to be the fat grandma and have Kaylee be embarrassed. You don’t have to quote that!” (Sorry, I did! But honesty is powerful. Who can’t relate to that?)
What They Ate:
“For the first few months, we ate a lot of fruit and salads,” says Mom. “We would go to Costco and buy fruit in bulk…come home, wash it all, so it would be ready to grab and eat.” Dad says he would eat one oatmeal bar for breakfast, then melon or grapes for lunch and in between meals. For dinner, he would have chicken or beef and a vegetable. For night-time snacking, ice cream and candy was replaced by fruit. “With the fruit and melon or pineapple included,” he says, “I ate about six times a day, but in smaller portions. If I was hungry, I ate.”
Says Mom: “We got fruit overload, and have really cut out a lot of that…but we still eat a lot of grapes.” She confides, “We should have bought a vineyard!” She says that they still have a lot of salads and different soups for dinner. In fact, they make the veggie chili all the time and love it (hooray!). “In our minds, we can eat a lot of those foods and still have a dessert if we want…and we usually want,” she laughs. “We seem to maintain most of our weight loss but if we go up a few pounds, we cut back on something, or do a little more exercise.”
They also had a secret weapon…
Green Coffee Bean Extract:
“I saw a segment on Dr. Oz about green coffee bean extract,” says Mom, “so we ordered some online.” You can watch a video about it on Dr. Oz’s website, where he explains what it is and how it works. In a nutshell, it seems natural and safe, and though you’d assume caffeine is the reason for its effectiveness, it’s actually the antioxidants that make it effective. In fact, it barely contains caffeine, so can’t make you jittery (which was my concern). There are tons of brands selling it and many aren’t what they claim to be, so Dr. Oz gives very clear instructions that the only brands of green coffee bean extract you should buy are ones that:
Don’t want to wade through the hundreds of options? Here are a few green coffee bean extract options that fit the bill. Mom says, “I’m not sure if it gives me any more energy, because I don’t seem to have excess energy…but I’m not dragging either.” (Although, my Mom literally bounces during workouts now, a springyness I’ve never witnessed in all my years, so there is that…) She shares, “We seem to be able to eat and not gain weight like we use to, but we have definitely changed out diets.” They also do a 40-minute Sweatin’ to the Oldies workout mostly seven days a week.
What They Lost:
Dad lost about 20 pounds over six or eight weeks, and then another 10 pounds over the next four weeks. Mom has lost between 18-20 pounds.
What They Gained:
“Losing 30 pounds has been a major quality-of-life improvement,” says Dad. “I am happier and healthier both physically and emotionally. I feel better about myself and can enjoy more activities without back pain or tiring easily.” He adds, “I love how much better I look in clothes. I feel so much better.”
Mom concurs. “I definitely like how much better I feel,” she says.” I am not as self-conscious about my size as I was. Now when I am around other people, I don’t feel like the biggest one in the room. My knee feels much better too. Getting that weight off is definitely better for my joints. I hope with having more pride in my appearance, it will be a motivator to keep the weight off….plus, it took a lot of work to get it off, so I never want to go through that again.”
Dad agrees. “It was so hard to get the willpower to lose the weight…to get past the sugar withdrawal and deal with the constant hunger feeling,” he shares. “It took a great deal of self-determination, so I do not want to go through that again,” he says about what keeps his motivated to keep it up. Dad says the most important part is that this has been a lifestyle change.
“I can now maintain my weight by continuing to exercise, eating healthy salads with protein, or soups for dinner,” Dad shares. He notes that he still takes the green coffee bean extract and avoids large servings or seconds. “I can now allow myself a bowl of ice cream or some treat and maintain my weight by keeping everything in moderation.” He says he’s more aware of calories and makes better choices such as using sandwich rounds instead of regular bread. And, he also gave up all drinks except for water and Zero-Calorie Powerade.
“With my hypothyroidism, and being on Prednisone for my knee, it is very easy for me to gain weight,” Mom shares. Therefore, she weighs herself daily in order to make sure she stays around the same range. Mom advises that it’s very important to have your family on board. “Otherwise, they tend to sabotage you,” she laughs. She also recommends mixing up your exercises. “I have three different Richard Simmons DVDs and some other dance DVDs and some Leslie Sansone walking DVDs.”
Go Mom and Dad! I hope you enjoyed hearing their story. Maybe it will inspire you or someone you love. A big thank you to my parents for so candidly sharing it, and a special thank you to Richard for giving me happier, healthier parents. See ya in class!