A Colorado couple lost a total of 280 pounds together after they set a goal to become healthy role models for their four children.
Robert and Jessica Foster weighed in at 327 and 287 pounds, respectively, two years ago when they had what Robert describes as a “conversation about the way we were.”
“We felt bad about not being able to do certain things with our kids,” Foster, 32, told ABC News. “We’d come home from the grocery store and unload all of the groceries and the kids would want to play and we’d have to say no because we’re too tired.”
“We didn't fit on amusement park rides,” said Foster, who lives with Jessica, 31, and their four kids -– an eight-year-old, seven-year-old twins and a four-year-old -- in Boulder, Colorado.
It was Jessica Foster who got the couple started on their weight loss journey, attending Zumba classes on her own and encouraging Robert, who did most of the family’s cooking, to, at first, cut down on portions and eventually change what the family was eating entirely.
“A typical meal for us before would have been a big pot of spaghetti loaded with Italian sausage and bread and we’d each have two or three helpings and the kids were starting to pick up on that,” Robert said. “We ate a lot of fast food and when we cooked at home we were just making a lot of it.”
The family started making small changes -– like first cutting out sugary drinks -– and then made bigger ones as their weight loss progressed. The entire family switched to an all-organic diet last year and, since May, Jessica and Robert have followed a plant-based diet with no meat or dairy.
“It was steady for the most part,” Foster said of the couple’s roughly two-pounds per week weight loss. “We had some plateau periods that we had to work through and, of course, we tended to hit our plateaus during the holidays, when everyone is trying to feed you.”
The Fosters both picked up running –- motivated at first by Jessica’s desire to compete in a local “Ugly Christmas Sweater” 5K –- and hiked, swam and played tennis with their kids for exercise.
Robert, a full-time college student who plans to pursue a medical degree, and Jessica, an apartment concierge who is also in school part-time, used a calorie-counting app to keep track of their diet and relied on each other to help them through the inevitable hard times.
“There were times when we would sit and look at each other and say, ‘You know what I could really go for right now,’” Robert recalled. “We held each other accountable and would be there to help each other and at the same time we have a playful competitiveness with each other.”
The couple now are both at the same weight -– 167 pounds -– but focused on different goals.
Jessica, according to her husband, is working to lower her body fat percentage while Robert is focused on adding lean muscle mass and running sub-four hours in his next marathon, his second.
“The best advice I can give somebody is to get the right goals from day one,” Foster said. “If you set out and your goal is to lose weight, when you get to the weight you want, you think what’s next and you go back to your old ways.”
“Our goal was we want to become healthy, fit role models for our kids, something that we want to continue for the rest of our lives,” he said.
Tune in to "Good Morning America" tomorrow, Wednesday, beginning at 7 a.m. to see more of the Fosters' incredible weight loss journey.