April 22, 2009

Weight Loss Stats:

Aimee Lickerman, Illinois

Age: 36

Height: 5'7"

Pounds lost: 50

At this weight: 1½ years

Aimee's challenge

Through her teens and 20s, Aimee's weight fluctuated. "I tried many diet and exercise programs but never stuck with them," she says. After she got married and had a baby, Aimee found it even harder to eat right and work out-and her weight climbed to 170 pounds.

No more procrastinating!

Aimee's attitude changed when she had her second son at age 34. "My first son was already 3 years old by this point and I still hadn't managed to get in shape since his birth," she says. "All of a sudden it hit me that I wasn't getting any younger, and if I wanted to be around for my kids when they grew up, I had to stop making excuses and start taking care of myself."

Home, healthy home

Aimee knew it would be hard to skip exercise if she had workout equipment at home, so she invested in a treadmill and an elliptical machine. "The first time I jogged, I lasted five minutes," she says. But she kept at it, sneaking in runs while her older son was at school and her younger son was napping. At the same time, she started eating smaller portions-without cutting out the foods she loved. "If I wanted a slice of pizza, I'd have one, not three," she says. Aimee also stocked her kitchen with light versions of her favorite sweets, such as lowfat ice cream and 100-calorie packs of cookies. "That way I could still treat myself, but in a sensible way." After six months, exercise became part of Aimee's routine. "I felt like something was missing if I didn't do it every day," she says. She worked up to running six miles-and shed 30 pounds. To tone her newly slim body, she hired a personal trainer, who taught her some strength training moves and showed her how to up the intensity of her workouts. Five months later, she was down to 120.

Leading by example

Just before her son's first birthday, Aimee's brother got married. "I'd never been as fit as I was at his wedding-I felt fabulous in my bridesmaid's dress," she says. Soon Aimee's husband was picking up her healthy habits: The couple began biking with their sons and cooking dinner together. Most important, they both started to view being healthy as a way of life. "When I'm eating right and working out, I'm empowered," says Aimee. Six months after the wedding, her husband shed 100 pounds, and now even her sons have become mini fitness buffs. "They're 'lifting' little weights with me on weekends," she says. "It makes me happy to know they're growing up with a love of exercise."

3 stick-with-it secrets

  • Splurge-sometimes "About every two weeks my husband and I go out for dinner or a movie and I'll have dessert or a small popcorn. Having a treat to look forward to keeps me from feeling deprived."
  • Be realistic "So many celebrities seem to lose their baby weight in weeks-it took me almost a year to lose mine! By setting manageable goals instead of crazy deadlines, I took a lot of pressure off myself."
  • Adjust your attitude "I used to think of working out as a chore; now I look at it as a way to relieve stress."

Weekly workout schedule

  • Cardio 45 minutes/5 days a week
  • Strength training 30 minutes/2 days a week

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