Success Stories

Six months goes quick. Six months ago you were complaining about the cold and wondering when spring would arrive. Perhaps your New Year’s Resolution to workout every day was still intact. Maybe you thought you’d be a size - or three - smaller by now. No matter where you are today, read on to find out how far you can go in six, short months. “I didn’t know where to start,” said Debra Cole. “I knew I needed to lose weight, but it didn’t seem possible.”

An accomplished graphic designer, Debra found it difficult to find time to eat, not to mention exercise. When she did eat, she usually ordered from a restaurant without regard for calories or nutrition. This changed in February, when Debra committed to training three times a week for an hour.

The first few weeks were challenging for her because she had never worked out before, but “I’m going to do what I commit to,” she said. “And I noticed how much more energy I had.”

She began writing down what she was eating and learned about eating better. She also spent time at the grocery store reading labels for the first time and finding healthy and appetizing meal options. She started trying and adding fruits and vegetables to her diet as fast food became a thing of the past. Over time her sometimes uncomfortable workouts became easier as she drastically changed her body. In fact, she reduced her body fat by 50%, while losing 7 inches from her waist and 5 inches from her hips!

“I am committed to working out,” she said. “This is the best thing I’ve ever done for myself.”

Talented singer and songwriter, Holland Stroud, is nothing if not committed. She balances writing sessions with studio work, vocal practice and gigs, all while working in a restaurant at night. However, just six months ago she had reached a tipping point with her health.

“I know looks matter for an artist,” she said. “And there is a culture [sic] of obesity in my family. My family eats out a lot and fries everything. They would fry lettuce if they could!”

Holland had struggled for years with her weight. She attended her first Weight Watchers meeting when she was 12 and her weight yo-yoed in her teens and early 20s as she bounced between exercise and diet plans.

“Food used to be all I thought about,” she recalls. “I didn’t know what to eat or how much, so I would get frustrated and give up.”

A food journal (“My saving grace,” she called it.) was the first step in changing her diet and Holland was meticulous. She began focusing on all of the healthy foods she could eat, rather than the (mostly processed) ones she was letting go. She made time to cook although this often meant getting up 30 minutes early to prepare her food for the day.

She attacked her workouts with a vengeance and now exercises every day. She started taking yoga, learned to box, became a dedicated runner and swims. Her strength workouts are intense, hour-long sessions.

Now 41 pounds lighter Holland said, “I never felt athletic until now…I’m outrunning my skinny friends.”

Still, time is at a premium for her so she does cardio first thing every day and often adds a second session at night. On Sundays, she cooks for the week so there is never an excuse for not eating well. Her next goal is to run the Country Music Half Marathon.

“If you have a bad day, start over tomorrow,” Holland stresses. “Every day is a chance to get it right.”

You know what Holland and Debra did in only six months. What can you do?

Fitness & Health, Wellnessadmin