(BUFFALO, N.Y.) — Four members of the same family are ringing in 2019 a combined 450 pounds lighter after committing to changes in their diet and exercise.
Sarah Bentley, 31, started her family on their weight loss journey five years ago when she turned to a 24-day jump-start program to lose weight after having children and always feeling tired.
“My energy was up and I was trying recipes and I had a lot of support,” said Bentley. “In three months I was able to lose 50 pounds and that’s when my mother and husband decided to join me.”
“For me to make change in my family, I had to make change for myself,” said Bentley, a mother of two children who has lost 100 pounds and counting.
Bentley’s husband, David Bentley, 33, said he was motivated by both his wife and their two children, now ages 7 and 9.
“For my kids, that’s what really kinda kills me,” he said. “I felt like I was living off of the couch and I was just feeding them microwave chicken nuggets.”
David Bentley went from weighing 347 pounds to around 200 pounds.
Sarah Bentley’s parents, Debbie and Steven Hoffman, both in their 60s, lost around 200 pounds combined.
The family members, of Buffalo, New York, lost the weight without the use of diet pills or weight loss surgery. They focused initially on just their diet and then began adding in exercise, CrossFit for David Bentley and spinning and a personal trainer for Sarah Bentley.
“We didn’t work out that first year,” Sarah Bentley said. “Then we had goals we set for ourselves after losing 100 pounds.”
The Bentleys and the Hoffmans have all kept their weight off for the past five years and are continuing to lose weight and tone. They also turned their weight loss into a family business by working with AdvoCare, a health and wellness company.
“We have meetings at our house and show [people] how to cut carbs and calories,” said Sarah Bentley. “It’s teaching people how to eat and how supplementation works.”
She added, “When I started, I had so much support. That’s why I succeeded.”
People magazine editor Zoe Ruderman said support is what is key to the kind of weight loss success stories the magazine has profiled in their “Half Their Size” issue for the past 17 years.
“Every year we do this and every year we hear over and over that it was about the support system, the trainer or family,” Ruderman said. “It’s really hard to do on their own. With this family, they were all there for each other.”
“It makes diet and lifestyle easier when you are all doing it together, but it doesn’t have to be a family,” she added. “Find a friend or professional who can help support you and who you can call in tough moments to help keep you motivated.”
People magazine’s “Half Their Size” issue hits newsstands on Friday, Jan. 4.
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