They had compelling, deeply-personal reasons for embarking on a life-changing mission to lose weight and regain their quality of life.
Kim Eidson, Eric Freemyer, Wendi Tillem, Marty Moorehead and Ken Schooltz worked hard -- exercising, dieting, eating well and resisting temptation. And they've lost a total of 696 pounds
Here are their stories:
Freemyer is a Dallas attorney who's married, with 13-year-old twin boys and a 4-year-old daughter. Freemyer said he wanted to sleep all the time before he started his diet. Before he began to lose weight, he couldn't play with his children and his wife worried that he would die of a heart attack. He was afraid he wouldn't be alive to walk his daughter down the aisle.
A trial attorney, Freemyer said his weight affected the way juries perceived him. Now, he runs a mile every day with his twin 13-year-old sons. Freemyer's brother and sister, who were also overweight, went on the diet and have dropped pounds.
Current Weight: 185 pounds
Total Weight Loss: 130 pounds
Diet: Medifast. The diet calls for five daily Medifast meal-replacement drinks or foods (available only through the company), plus one meal of lean meat or fish, plus salad or green vegetables, according to webmd.com. The high-protein, low-carb plans allow dieters about 800 to 1,000 calories a day, and is designed to yield a loss of two to five pounds per week while preserving muscle mass. Freemyer started the diet in March 2009 when he weighed 315 pounds, going down to 185 pounds in October 2009.
Tillem, a married mother of two, works in fashion retail but, because of her weight, could never wear the clothes she sold. The Monroe Township, N.J.-woman had lost two uncles and an aunt to Type 2 diabetes. Her father was dying of complications from the disease, and his doctor told her she, too, would die if she didn't do something about her weight.
Before her father died last spring, he saw that Wendi was well on her way to a healthy weight and getting fit. Tillem has put her entire family on her diet, and now runs 3 to 4 miles per day.
Current Weight: 156 pounds
Total Weight Loss: 124 pounds
Diet: Younger (Thinner) You Diet. The diet is based on a book by Dr. Eric Braverman, who says that imbalanced brain chemistry is the reason we have trouble losing weight and keeping energy levels up. His plan explains how different foods, spices and teas can help to bring these chemicals back into their proper balance. Tillem started out at 270 pounds and lost the weight in 18 months.
Eidson, a nurse from Joplin, Md., is a married mother of three and the grandmother of a 3-year-old girl. She was able to lose 100 pounds twice but gained it all back. She was considering gastric bypass surgery before she started her diet. She lost 30 pounds in the first month and had more energy than she'd had before.
Eidson was excited and motivated by her success, and her chronic heartburn stopped when she started to lose weight. She's now in the best shape of her life.
Current Weight: 180 pounds
Total Weight Loss: 159 pounds in about 18 months.