The five volunteers, co-workers at the Kinry Road Elementary School in upstate New York, each put a popular weight-loss plan to the test, and they all did very well.
If you go by percentage, Betsy was the most successful of the group. With 15 pounds as her goal, Betsy had the least to lose in the group. But, as eating specialist Dr. Louis Aronne pointed out, the last 15 pounds is the most difficult to shed.
And Betsy had the additional task of putting together an eating/exercise plan that would work -- and she did it by herself. Betsy lost 14 pounds and is very pleased with herself.
Betsy did not like exercise, but now her attitude about exercise has completely changed.
"I actually even miss it if I don't exercise now," she said. "Originally, I did things that were active. But I did them because they were fun. This time, I actually exercised because it was good for me, even though I might not have thought it was fun."
Georgia had the most weight to lose (125 pounds), and she has done an incredible job sticking with the program and keeping up with her exercise routine. She has lost 24 3/4 pounds on the Slim Fast diet.
"It was really easy, terrific. Didn't have to think about what I was eating," she said. She still has 100 pounds to go and is confident she will lose them. "I'm going," she said. From "Weight Off," she said, she has learned "to watch how much you eat and definitely exercise."
Lucretia has been successful at tracking down what she has been eating. On the Weight Watchers program, she has lost 17 pounds, which is great since she had been unsuccessful with other diets before. So what helped this time around?
"Every week, you had to be accountable to the public for what you did. So every single time you went to cheat, you thought, 'Wait a minute. It's going to show up on that scale'," she said, noting the only time she cheated was Friday when she got weighed for the last time. "I went out and got a Snickers bar," she said.
As for the diet, "It was easy to follow. You eat everyday food and once you got the point values down, it was really easy to follow and plan out your meals," she said.
Chris, however, did not have such an easy time following Dr. Atkins diet. "Atkins is very tough, because it's a whole change of what normal people when they diet what you diet, what you look for. Normal diets you look for fat and calories, and Atkins, you're looking at just carbohydrates. And I'm a carboholic. So it was tough. But once you get into the routine, you just keep following it and it works," she said.
She lost 15 pounds and is reading "Atkins For Life" to find out if she will stick with the plan, but says she is very happy with the results.
The one who is absolutely sticking to her plan is Marge. "I'd done variations, but not the Zone plan itself. It's something that's very easy to do. You can eat pretty much anything. And I definitely am going to stick with it for life," she said. Having lost 15 pounds as well, she still has 10 more to go.
Inspired by the "Weight Off" series, the principal started a fitness program at Kinry Road Elementary School.
"We wanted to be good role models for the children. We started a health and wellness club for the students -- not necessarily a weight loss program, but getting children involved in exercise, healthy eating choices, and making good choices as individuals for health," she said.
There are 50 kids in the program and they come early on Friday mornings and learn about exercise and eating healthy. "We limited to 50 children. We have about 65 enrolled and we just couldn't say no. We're going to do another series after we're done with the first group," Marge explained. Armed with pedometers, kids are now much more aware of how much walking and exercise they do daily.
So now not only are the five volunteers excited, but kids are as well. Thrilled about their weight loss, the women of "Weight Off" said they have done so well, because they are a team.