By Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa The Arizona Daily Sun, Flagstaff.
It took Tammy Linares and Tad Moore two years to meet one of the most common New Year's resolutions in the U.S.: lose weight.
Both Linares and Moore had been battling the bulge for a number of years. That all-too-common creep of a few extra pounds a year.
"I have two kids. I never lost the weight after the first kid or the second kid," Linares said.
At her heaviest, Linares said she was about 175 pounds. She now weighs around 148 pounds.
"I was super overweight," said Moore.
Moore was about 300 pounds. He now weighs around 125 pounds.
They both tried at various times to exercise more and eat better, but like most people, they would be doing well for a few weeks at a time and then fall off the wagon. The two Flagstaff residents reached their limit in 2013.
"I was really depressed. I was uncomfortable with the way my clothes were fitting. It's an emotional thing for women," Linares said. "It makes you not feel good about yourself."
While both took a similar approach to losing the weight through more exercise, joining a gym and a better diet, they went about it in slightly different ways.
Linares started going to the Flagstaff Athletic Club and using the elliptical machines. Then she started taking spin classes, which are indoor cycling workouts. As she started to lose weight and become more comfortable with her shape, she added other exercise classes to her list.
"I took lots of different classes. I didn't want my body to become too used to one form of exercise," she said.
She also started running. At first it was just around the block, but then she started adding 15 minutes, 20 minutes and then 30 minutes to her runs. Now she can run around Buffalo Park easily.
"I remember trying to run with a friend of mine about two or three years ago and it hurt. I thought 'There is no way I would ever do this again,'" she said.
Linares also started eating out less. When her kids would ask for a hamburger from one of the fast food restaurants in town, Linares said she would treat them to one, but then stop at Subway for a sandwich for herself. She also cooks different meals for herself than the ones she serves to her husband and kids. It makes for a lot of work, she admitted, but it's worth it.
Moore said he started off in a similar way. He started working out at the Aquaplex in the morning, when there weren't as many people around, but he didn't feel comfortable asking questions of others working out at the Aquaplex. He also tried running, but running hurt his back.
"I tried to teach myself by going to the Internet, but I didn't really know what I was doing. There just wasn't a way for me to learn it on my own," he said.
He turned to his friend Brenden Cabral, who owns Thrive Athletics on 7th Avenue, for advice. Cabral encouraged him to come to Thrive Athletics, where he set Moore up with an exercise program tailored to his needs and his physical limitations, including his back pain.
Linares said she looked at hiring a personal trainer, but the cost was just too great for her. She found another way to support her weight loss goals: Facebook.
She said people started commenting on the photos of her that were posted on her Facebook page or other family members' pages.
They were saying things like "Have you lost weight?" or "You look really good." When people found out that she was exercising and watching her diet, the compliments and encouragement increased, which boosted her confidence and enthusiasm.
"It became something of a mental focus thing for me," she said. "I didn't want to gain back the weight. I think I've actually become kind of obsessed with exercise."
Moore said one of his main encouragements to get up and out the door to the gym has been the atmosphere at Thrive.
"It's very inclusive and encouraging. You're not trying to compete with the guy next to you," he said. "We're all good friends with each other. We understand that it's about bettering ourselves."
Linares has added weight-lifting to her regular exercise to increase her strength as well. Which has caused her to measure her weight a little differently. Muscle weighs more than fat, so the scale no longer reflects how much excess weight she's lost, she said. Now she measures her success by how her clothes fit and how she looks in the mirror.
Linares said one thing people have to remember when starting an exercise regimen is to not give up.
"It's always going to start off hard," she said. "It was hard for me, but the more that you do the more you can do. Just take it step by step and day by day."