PITTSBURGH (CBS) — Dieting and exercising can be lonely.
So, when it comes to fitness goals, experts say there’s strength in numbers. They say the best workout partner is usually someone from your own family.
One couple decided to give that theory a try, and they lost more than 100 pounds together.
When James and Cynthia Spann looked at their picture last year, they didn’t like what they saw.
“It was looking back at photos that had been taken throughout the last several years, and we just looked at them and said, ‘I don’t recognize those people,’ and that’s not the way I feel. I want to do something about that,” said James.
The Spanns had 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,” James said.
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Most of us make mistakes when it comes to our diet, like skipping meals and eliminating entire food groups. More often than not, experts say that’s a recipe for disaster.
“If people look at changing their lifestyle in ‘evolution’ versus ‘resolution’ type of approach, it gives them a better chances to succeed,” said Dr. Becky Garner, a kinesiology professor.
Dr. Garner says gradually easing into a plan leads to a lifestyle change that most people can stick to.
“Along the way we know that we’re going to fail and slip at little bit, and I think that if our healthy lifestyle is evolving, we can accept those slips as part of the process,” she said.
One diet plan made popular recently is the F.A.S.T plan or “Families Always Succeed Together.” It was pioneered by the Dean family. Together, all eight members of the family lost more than 500 pounds. It works on motivation, team work, and the most important, accountability.
Dr. Garner said along with diet, exercise is paramount.
“A good solution might be for families to at least try to make the exercise time a priority,” she said.
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?’ and I say, ‘No, probably not,’” said James. “So, 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.