"Help Me Lose 20 Pounds"
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"Help Me Lose 20 Pounds"

Lisa Renwick -- our new work-in-progress -- reports on her first month of training with the fitness makeover team. Good news: She lost 4 pounds, and has changed her diet and attitude for the better.

Introducing Lisa

Would you accept a year of free training, nutrition counseling, and life coaching -- in exchange for having your "before" picture published in a magazine? Lisa Renwick, 37, a technology recruiter, took us up on that offer. Each month we'll check in with her to see how close she's come to her goal of slimming down and getting healthy.

Lisa Says...

About six years ago, I was fit enough to do a mini triathlon -- running, biking, and swimming a combined 15.7 miles. Now I have back fat and a big belly and my boobs are humongous! Between work and the kids, it's hard to find any time to take care of myself. That's why I decided to hand my body over to FITNESS's team of experts for the next year.

Where I Am Now

I already eat plenty of healthy foods; I just eat plenty of junk on top of that. The 8 p.m. hour is my danger zone. Plus, I have nerve problems called neuromas in both of my feet, which sometimes makes working out painful. But I'm hoping that losing weight might alleviate the condition. I'm also hoping to avoid diabetes, which runs in my family, and get relief from the aches in my knees and back.

The FITNESS Team of Experts

The Life Coach: Lois Barth, founder of 1 Dream at a Time Life Coaching in New York City.

"Learning balance and self-respect will enable Lisa to stick with her diet and training," she said.

Leslie Rice hart, Fitness Trainer

The Trainer: Leslie Rice Hart, master trainer at New York Sports Club. 

"Building lean muscle mass will help Lisa increase her metabolism and reduce her joint pain," she said.

Cindy Sherwin, R.D., Nutritionist

The Nutritionist: Cindy Sherwin, RD, director of trainer education at The Gym in New York City.

"Lisa will see big results just by making a few small changes to what and when she eats," she said.

How I Did This Month

I love working out with Leslie! We do mostly strength training together, using things like a stability ball to "engage my core." (I do my cardio -- a few gym classes and my elliptical machine -- on my own.) I'm a little tired, but I'm not as sore as I thought I'd be. During one stretching and breathing exercise with Leslie, I broke down and started crying -- it was such a stress release!

Eating more fish has been difficult (I don't really like seafood). So has cutting back on my late-night cereal habit. But I'm getting better. Lois, my life coach, gave me a great mantra to remember: "Chocolate isn't fattening, self-criticism is." I tend to beat myself up when I have a diet or exercise lapse -- like eating a brownie the night before my 30-day weigh-in. But Lois pointed out that when a child is learning to walk, you don't yell at her for falling down; you remove sharp objects, close cabinet doors, and do anything you can to make it easier for her. Now when I slip up, I say, "Hmm. I chose to eat a brownie today. I wonder why I did that...."

My new mind-set (and workout) has started to pay off: I lost four pounds! People have said they notice a difference in me: My face is a little slimmer, and my self-esteem is inching up from the compliments!

Lisa’s Stats: Month 1
  Before: After:
Height: 5'2” 5'2"
Weight: 150 lb 146 lb
Body Fat: 31.5% 28.5%
Arm: 11.5" 11.33"
Bust: 40" 39.5"
Waist: 34.75" 34.5"
Hips: 41.5" 41"
Thigh: 21.5" 20.5"
Clothing Size: 12 10 to 12
Left to Lose : 20 lb 16 lb.
Lisa's Goals This Month

  • Have a healthy morning snack before work every day.
  • Eat two servings each of fruit and dairy and three servings of vegetables each day.
  • Have fish three times a week.
  • Do 100 minutes of cardio and 120 minutes of strength training per week.
  • Plan next week's meals each Sunday afternoon.
  • Reconnect with husband via monthly date night.
  • Avoid self-criticism after slipups.

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, June 2006.