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Weight Off with the Early Show, Part 3

As we continue our weight-off series till the end of May, we are going to help you eat better and lose some unwanted pounds. So far we've profiled two of the six people across the country who have agreed to allow our experts to monitor their progress while on the plan. We head now to the Southwest--Fort Worth, Texas--to meet a mother-daughter team. Mom, Rita Clinkscales, 58, weighs 230 pounds and has a goal--to lose 60 pounds. Her daughter Vonne Velez, 35, weighs 280 pounds and wants to lose 50 pounds.

This mother-daughter team is a typical example of how years of weight gain directly related to poor eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle can result in a definitive disease diagnosis. Both Rita Clinkscales and her daughter Vonne Velez have recently been diagnosed with adult-onset diabetes. Rita has tried many diets before. Vonne has never really dieted. Rita and Vonne's personal physician supports their following our 8-week weight-loss plan. He wants to reevaluate their health after the program and then decide whether medication will or will not be needed to control blood sugar.

Rita, the Mother

Rita has tried just about every diet around, and--all jokes aside--she wants to look like a star when all is said and done. She can't ever remember reaching her ideal weight, even when she was under the supervision of a weight-loss doctor. The older she gets, the more worried she is about having one or more ministrokes. Exercise has never been a part of her normal routine. Rita loves Mexican foods, snacks all the time, and can't get enough popcorn with white chocolate melted on top. She eats when she's not hungry. She eats because food tastes good. Breakfast has never been a meal option and lunch is always take-out food. On average, Rita spends about 6 hours at work sitting. Rita is motivated to lose weight again because she is more concerned about her health as she gets older.

Vonne, the Daughter

Vonne has never dieted. According to her, she has been "habitually overweight," even as a child. Growing up she wasn't bothered by her weight. Vonne loves vegetables, but doesn't eat many of them, and cooking is one of her favorite pastimes. Like her mother she is sedentary almost all the time. Vonne loves anything made with butter and cream. Her biggest problem is snacking, especially during the times when she is out of work. During one 5-month stretch of unemployment, she estimates having gained some 10-20 pounds. At work, she takes a trip to the vending machine to stock up on goodies, especially carbonated drinks. She has never allowed her size to get in the way of anything she has wanted to do. Vonne had begun to modify her eating habits before she heard about our plan. For the past 5 years she has taken blood pressure medication. Aside from health concerns, Vonne wants to get her weight down because she would like to start a family. She thought it would be best to get the weight off first.

Monday, the first daon the plan was definitely hard for Vonne because she was hungry all day. Interestingly, she could feel a difference in how her body was responding to the food she had eaten compared with how she ate before Monday. Vonne and her husband have instituted an exercise plan where they walk together every morning before work. She and Rita have also started doing a long walk every Saturday.

In Dr. Aronne's Words

Our expert, Dr. Louis Aronne, director of the comprehensive weight control program at New York Presbyterian Hospital, says that about 85% of diabetes is related to weight.

Here you have two people who were never before diagnosed. Now they can no longer eat what they want anymore. It takes years of weight gain to have an impact that results in the onset of adult diabetes.

He goes on to say that excessive weight and diabetes have now become a problem in children. Half the children he sees at his center have developed type 2--adult-onset--diabetes.

In thnext 10 years, he says, I expect to see an increase in diabetes because of excessive weight.

There's yet another concern, says Aronne. As noted with Aishia Mester on Monday, Vonne is apple-shaped, which means a good portion of her weight is concentrated in her abdominal area. Extra fat nestled in the area of the heart can significantly increase the risk of coronary heart disease.

Tip of the Day

"Set a realistic goal." Another item of note for both mother and daughter is their weight-loss goal. Aronne says that most people say they want to lose about one-third--30%--of their body weight. But that is just not realistic. The average person cannot maintain that amount of weight loss over time. Aronne says weight gain can begin quickly, due to frustration, when an unrealistic weight-loss goal has not been met. Plan for a range that is truly manageable.

For Rita he suggests a good first goal is 30 pounds. For Vonne he suggests trying to lose anywhere between 35 and 40 pounds. A 30-40-pound weight loss will also improve Vonne's odds of becoming pregnant. Although pregnancy is not impossible at her current weight, Aronne says women who are obese often have a much more difficult time conceiving.

Click here to find out more about the "Weight-Off" program.
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