Mother, Daughter Tackle Weight Loss Together

Wilson joined the FirstHealth Center for Health and Fitness so she could workout alongside her mother. But last week, when contestant Lisa Rushing had to drop out from the program, Wilson was offered her spot.

“I’ve had the blessing to be a part of it from the get-go,” Wilson said.

Since her mom, Freeman, began her workouts with her trainer Patti Friedman and attending the nutrition classes, Wilson has been there learning along the way.

Both Wilson and Freeman have a goal of 50 pounds for the 13-week program. Freeman wants to lose more than 100 overall.

Before becoming a contestant, Wilson had already lost 16 pounds. She weighed in every week with the regular contestants even though weight wasn’t recorded for the newspaper. She lost seven pounds during her first week officially part of the challenge.

Wilson said she does the elliptical for an hour every day, which burns about 625 calories. She then bikes for 20 minutes and does the treadmill for 30. On both the bike and treadmill she’s increased the resistance and has even started to jog a little on the treadmill.

When she first started, she could only do three minutes on the elliptical.

“I feel like a whole new person,” Wilson said. “When I first started, I dreaded coming and it took Mom saying, ‘Come on, we’ve got to go,’ but now I look forward to coming now. The trainers have been encouraging and pushed me, and made it fun. I never thought working out could be fun, but it’s fun now.”

Freeman also does the elliptical, treadmill and bike like her daughter, and they both also enjoy the water aerobics.

“It’s absolutely wonderful,” Wilson said. “The instructors are really terrific and they push you and make it fun.”

Wilson works for Monarch as an employment specialist, helping people with disabilities find jobs in the local community. She works 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and either makes it to the gym before or after work, or takes an extended lunch and gets in a good workout.

But her workouts aren’t the only thing leading her to success.

“I was completely addicted to Mountain Dew, but I haven’t had one in over a month,” Wilson said. “I had the headaches and the cravings, but I got past that point. I totally changed, now I just drink water. And no junk food, that was another addiction, especially potato chips. But I don’t crave them anymore.”

Wilson said she always had the propensity to overeat, especially if what she was eating tasted really good, but through the nutrition classes she learned a neat trick.

“I eat out a lot, but Amy (Hamilton, the nutritionist) taught us that when we go out to split half of what they give us and put the rest in a box. I’ve been amazed that when I do that, I’m still full,” Wilson said. “That’s helped me a lot. And I’m eating more fruits and vegetables.”

Although it sounds like she’s got pretty good control over her cravings, Wilson said she still has some trouble when she gets bored.

“When I get bored, I want to eat,” she said. “But through the classes I’ve learned it’s OK to snack, but I have to eat fruit or something, not chips.”

Wilson was born and raised in Rockingham, but she lived in India for two years doing ethnographic research. During that trip Wilson lost 60 pounds because India is a mostly vegetarian country, “and everything is so much healthier there.”

“It was easy to lose weigh there,” she said. “But when I came back and was immersed in the American culture, I gained it all back, plus some.”

Both women say they never had weight problems until later in life. For Wilson the trouble started in college, and for Freeman it was after she gave birth to her daughter.

Freeman said she was inspired to start the program because her family has a history of diabetes and heart problems, though they were never overweight. Freeman was legally blind until January when she had corrective eye surgery. When she found out she’d be getting the surgery, that’s when she decided she might as well go all the way to creating a new her by signing up for the New Year, New You challenge.

She’s been successful having already lost 15 pounds, but she’s discouraged she’s not losing more weight at each weigh in. But she has seen a difference in the way her clothes fit, having put on a pair of pants that she couldn’t even zip up before.

To boost her metabolism, Freeman said she’s trying to jump-starting her metabolism by waking up and getting on the treadmill for one mile before she has to get ready for work.

Freeman said she’s changed the way she’s eating too and has cut out fried foods, candy and soft drinks.

“I don’t feel like I’m missing it,” Freeman said.

And because she’s the kitchen manager for Second Baptist Church Day School in Hamlet, she’s tried to incorporate healthier menu items for the students and teachers to choose from.

Both women said their coworkers are being very supportive throughout this process, and some are trying to lose weight with them.

Freeman said her husband was going to the gym with them but has slacked off in recent weeks.

Even though both women wanted to lose weight, they both were inspired by different reasons to enter this program.

Freeman said she enjoyed watching NBC’s The Biggest Loser on TV and thought about entering the 2009 New Year, New You program but thought her age and weight would disqualify her.

“But watching the show I realized you’re never too old or too heavy to lose weight,” Freeman said.

For Wilson, she wanted to improve herself to make a better life for someone else.

“I want to adopt a child here in Rockingham,” Wilson said. “I had him to the house a couple times and he wore me out, I couldn’t keep up with him. It was sad because I couldn’t give him the attention he needed. I saw the ad in the paper for this program and mom said we should apply. I hesitated, but she pushed me. We said even if we weren’t picked we’d join the gym and lose the weight, and we’ve done great.”

Wilson also had a “yippee” moment a few weeks ago when she tried on a pair of pants she hadn’t been able to wear in more than a year. So far on the challenge she’s lost 7.1 pounds.

Both women say they are committed to keeping this going and making a healthy diet and exercise a part of their lifestyle.

“We’d already decided we were going to keep going after the 13 weeks,” Freeman said. “We’ll keep it up until we meet our goals and after the 13 weeks we will continue to weigh in weekly and if we gain anything, we have to lose it before the next weigh in because that weight can creep back on you.”

by Eren Tataragasi
Richmond County Daily Journal