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Strength In Numbers: Families Shed Excess Pounds Together

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Sometimes the best workout partner is someone from your own family, according to experts.

And one couple from Dallas proves it, having lost 100 pounds together.

When James and Cynthia Spann looked at their picture last year, they didn't like what they saw

"When I looked at them I said 'I don't recognize those people' and I want to do something about that," said James.

The Spann's tried several diet plans before but this time around it was different. They decided to work together... logging each bite on an app called Lose It!

"We have tried various diets in the past and they are usually very gimmicky. They have something you have to stick to and makes it very restrictive."

The couple is like many people looking to shed of few pounds by dieting. But eliminating food groups and skipping meals is more of a diet "evolution" than a "resolution," according to Assistant Professor of Public Health at University of Texas in Arlington, Dr. Becky Garner.

The expert said starting a diet gradually leaves room for failure.

"Along the way we are going to fall and slip but if our lifestyle is evolving, we can approach it as part of the process," she said.

One diet plan made popular recently by the Dean family is the F.A.S.T plan or "Families Always Succeed Together." It works on motivation, team work and the most important, accountability.

Together the family of 8 lost more than 500 pounds.

Dr. Garner said along with diet, exercise is paramount.

"A good solution might be to try to make the exercise time a priority," she said.

But for the Spanns, incorporating exercise four months into their routine after watching their eating habits helped.

Accountability and support made a huge difference for them.

"She can look at me when I am snacking and say 'hey do you have enough calories for that?'," said James. "She keeps me honest and I try to help her with that too."

Dr. Garner said the plan that people will most likely stick to is often the plan that involves baby steps and making conscious lifestyle changes.

(©2017 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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