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Where Are They Now? Real Life Makeovers, 6 Months Later



We sent two mother/daughter pairs to Canyon Ranch for a week to make over their health. But could they keep up their healthy habits for 6 months? Check out what they learned then—and where they are now.
 
MEET MOTHER/DAUGHTER PAIR #1:
SHANNA AND DONNA
Over the past 10 years, Atlanta-area residents Shanna (a sales representative) and her mother, Donna (a high school Spanish teacher), have steadily gained weight. Donna arrived at Canyon Ranch weighing 174 pounds, and Shanna, 229. "I get stressed out every morning when I try to find the right thing to wear—and I'm sick of it," says Donna. Shanna is motivated by her health. "I'm prediabetic, and I know that if I lost some weight, exercised more often, and ate a better diet, I'd be healthier," she says. "I need to take action now so things don't get worse in the next few years."

TWO THINGS THEY WANTED TO CHANGE:
1. "We want to eat less without going hungry"
Donna and Shanna both overeat, but for different reasons. "I have very little for breakfast and lunch, but then I eat a huge dinner," says Donna. Shanna's more of a grazer: "I have takeout for lunch, plus I get candy bars and chips from the vending machine," she says. "And I munch on cookies all evening."
Canyon Ranch expert tips: Hana Feeney, R.D., one of Canyon Ranch's nutritionists, encourages both women to bring veggies, hummus, and a salad to work. "With those healthy options at your desk, you'll avoid eating out, skipping meals, and excessive snacking," she says. And because they live near each other, Feeney told them to alternate who's in charge of cooking dinner during the week.

2. "We want to have more fun"
"My mom and I don't spend enough time just relaxing or doing things we love," says Shanna. Donna agrees: "I need more activities that make me feel happy."
Canyon Ranch expert tips: When Peggy Holt, one of Canyon Ranch's behavioral therapists, asked Donna and Shanna to describe a perfect day, they listed talking to friends, volunteering, and meditating. "Try to sneak in those activities, like listening to a meditative CD, throughout the day," says Holt. "You'll be more excited to wake up every morning!"

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Shanna, Six Months Later:
"My lifestyle is still dramatically different from the way it was before I went to Canyon Ranch. These days I know how much the little things add up when it comes to activity. For example, I park in a spot that's far from the door to get in a few extra steps and I plan social outings that involve walking. For example, my friends and I will go to a museum instead of the movies. Also, when I cook myself meals, I immediately separate it into single portions to take to work with me. I've lost 11 pounds so far and have gained so much confidence. I even dress better and pay more attention to my image, something I didn't care about as much before. I'm so happy I've found a plan that works for me. I know I'm going to keep losing more weight the longer I stick with it."

Donna, Six Months Later:
"Since leaving Canyon Ranch, I've lost a total of 12 pounds! But I'm actually more excited about the changes I've made to my lifestyle. I joined a gym near my home and work out three or four times a week. I also now meet with a personal trainer who makes sure I get the right balance of core strengthening, resistance, and cardio. My arms, shoulders, stomach, and legs are much more toned than they were and my clothes fit so much better! I'm constantly reading magazines and healthy cookbooks for nutritious recipes to try, which helps me stay on top of my fat and calorie intake. And I have a really positive outlook on my future. I believe that I now have all the tools I need to maintain a healthy and vibrant life for a long time to come."



MEET MOTHER/DAUGHTER PAIR
#2: TARA AND JILL

With their slim figures, Tara Marino, 34 and her mom Jill, 61 appear healthy, but looks can be deceiving. "We both smoke," admits Tara. "Mom's had a pack-a-day habit for 40 years, and I first lit up when I was 18." Their careers aren't helping their well-being either. "Work takes a lot out of us," says Jill. "When we get home, we don't have the energy to cook or exercise." But Jill (a teacher near Boston) and Tara (a prop stylist in New York City) are eager to change. "I've seen women my age die from heart attacks," says Jill. "I worry I'm next." Tara's struggling too: "I'm so run-down, I feel like my body belongs to an older woman," she says. "I know my bad habits are to blame—and I wonder: What other damage are they doing?"

TWO THINGS THEY WANTED TO CHANGE:
1. "We want to eat healthy on the go"
Tara runs around all day for her job, so she often dines out. "I'll buy a big meat and cheese-filled sub from a deli for lunch and pick up something heavy like eggplant Parmesan for dinner," she says. Jill, on the other hand, grabs a bite when she can. "I eat cereal, fruit, or soup between classes or during my planning period," she says. "I never have much time, so it has to be quick."
Canyon Ranch expert tips: "Every meal should include complex carbs, a fruit or veggie, and protein or healthy fat," says Feeney. She suggests that Jill replace the cereal with raw veggies and string cheese, and Tara order only half a sandwich and pair it with a salad. "To prevent energy dips, have a meal within an hour of waking up, and eat at least every three hours," says Feeney. "Even a banana and a few almonds will keep you going."

2. "We want to nix the cigarettes"
Jill and Tara have tried to quit smoking at least 30 times between them. "I haven't lasted longer than a week," says Jill. Tara, on the other hand, has made it to 21 days: "As soon as I get stressed out or my friends light up near me, I give in."
Canyon Ranch expert tips: "Not only is nicotine addictive, but smoking is a habit," says Holt. "Start by changing one part of your routine at a time—so if you smoke while watching TV, sit in a chair instead of on the sofa. Simple tweaks like that help break the automatic link between the activity and smoking, helping you stop."

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Jill, Six Months Later:
"Things have been going so well since I left Canyon Ranch! I found a trainer I love and am following the strength training routine she set up for me. I also do yoga regularly and go walking as often as I can after work. To keep meal planning fun, I've created my own personal cookbook. I go through old cookbooks and magazines, try the recipes out, and if the dish is healthy, quick, and delicious, it goes into my book. Now that I'm eating so much better, I have tons of energy. I can't believe how much I can accomplish during the day: I've painted my kitchen, cleaned the junk out of my attic, and done a lot of work out in my yard since leaving Canyon Ranch. I'm also a lot more social and make more of an effort to see my friends. It takes a great deal of concentration and time to change things in your life, but I'm so happy with my progress."

Tara, Six Months Later:
"It's been six months since leaving Canyon Ranch and I'm still sticking with the exercise plan. I go for a 15-minute run two days a week before work and hit the gym twice a week to meet with a trainer. I bought a package of 20 sessions to make myself go. I also do yoga on the roof almost every night at sunset—either alone or with friends. I make a point to eat something between meals like veggies and hummus or some almonds so that I'm not starving when I have lunch or dinner. And where before my days were filled with work, I make it a priority to do a lot of different things. I take guitar lessons and have gotten involved with a nonprofit that helps fund small businesses in third world countries. It's nice to spend time on projects that add to your own life as well as others. If I start to slack off, I notice how bad I feel and get right back into it. I'll never forget the energy I had while at Canyon Ranch."

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