HW: Weight loss April 14, 2009

'It’s nice to wear jeans again.’

Andrea Laible of Grand Junction lifts weights at E-Fit, 2829 North Ave., as she follows her workout routine.

Andrea Laible spent the winter wearing sweat pants. No more.

More than halfway through a three-month weight-loss study at e-fit, Laible, 37, has pulled once-too-tight clothes out of her closet and back on her body.

“It’s nice to wear jeans again,” Laible said.

Laible, along with Linda Johnson, 37, and Hollie Caudell, 37, of Grand Junction, are three of 143 people who volunteered to be part of a weight-loss study at e-fit, 2829 North Ave.

The study began Feb. 2 and ends

May 1. To qualify for the free study, participants had to be at least 50 pounds overweight.

In conjunction with the study, Laible, Johnson and Caudell agreed to share their weight-loss struggles, victories and tips with Daily Sentinel readers.

More than two months into the study, they have lost more than 60 combined pounds.

All the women have said they feel healthier, are more energetic and are wearing clothes that did not fit when the study began. But changing their lifestyles in order to lose weight has not been easy, the women said.

“If it were easy, everyone would be skinny and healthy,” Johnson said.

Johnson was diagnosed with hypothyroidism in August. Several weeks ago, her physician increased the dosage of her thyroid medication when Johnson wasn’t losing weight as she thought she should.

Since then, Johnson dropped about 15 pounds.

If Johnson weren’t properly treating the hypothyroidism, a condition where the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough of certain hormones, she would not be able to lose weight. The thyroid gland helps with metabolism.

Now, Johnson puts all her pants in the dryer, a weight-loss sign she said other women would understand. The heat of the dryer typically makes pants tighter.
Instead of snacking on vending machine items, Johnson eats apples and grapefruits at work.

However, eating healthy doesn’t come naturally, she said.

“I have to be conscious of my eating,” she said. “For people like myself, who have been overeaters our whole lives, it’s hard to change that.”

Like Johnson, Caudell has cut the junk-food snacking from her life. She still sits in front of the computer or television, but she doesn’t sit in front of either for hours on end while mindlessly snacking, she said.

“The last month, I’ve felt so much better,” she said.

When Caudell started the study, she couldn’t complete a 30-minute workout in the e-fit circuit room, which is designed to work the entire body. Now, Caudell can complete the circuit on

Level 7. She started at Level 1.

She has lost almost 10 inches off various parts of her body. Losing inches was her goal.

“I’ve done a lot of little changes,” she said. “I actually look forward to coming to the gym.”

Tara Uhl, manager at e-fit, created various workouts for everyone in the study. People who come to the gym to see her have lost varying amounts of weight in the time since the study started.

Uhl began the study with 143 weight-loss study participants and now there are 108. None has gained weight.

The majority of those who quit the study gave no reason for doing so, she said. Everyone in the study was asked to attend weekly meetings, come to e-fit a minimum of three times a week for at least 30 minutes a session and be honest about their diet.

The success of Laible, Johnson and Caudell is a testament to how serious they are about becoming healthier, Uhl said.

“I used to buy fruit because I thought you should buy fruit,” said Laible, who has lost 22.4 pounds. “I’d throw most of it away because it’d get rotten.”

Now, she buys fruit, puts it in a bowl and eats it, she said.

“I craved Diet Coke once but had water,” Laible said. “I’ve found when I’m craving something and I have a glass of ice water, that’s actually what I wanted.”


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