My L A Weight Loss Diary

Daily musings for and about real women and men who are reshaping their bodies and their lives on the LA Weight Loss program. To become one of our bloggers, write to

Friday, May 22, 2009

Rachael Wyrick drops 112 pounds and lands a feature in People Magazine

LA Weight Loss's Rachael Wyrick was one of only three women chosen across the country to flaunt her new bikini body in the People Magazine that hits newsstands today!

Before showing off her amazing new figure, Rachael struggled with her weight for most of her life. After she gained 50 pounds with each of her two pregnancies her husband became concerned with her health. Rachael did not want to pass on an unhealthy lifestyle to her family, so she decided to make a change with the help of LA Weight Loss.

Rachael went from eating a lot of starches and creamy, fatty sauces to eating cereal, oatmeal, turkey, salads, chicken, and tuna. LA Weight Loss helped her learn to make healthier choices as well as how to control her portions. In addition, Rachael began incorporating exercise into her new lifestyle. It took some time, but she was able to build up her stamina and now spends over an hour doing cardio exercises at least five times a week!

It's no surprise that all her hard work landed her in People Magazine. But that's not all, Rachael was invited onto ABC's Good Morning America. She will be appearing on the show next Tuesday, May 26th. Make sure to tune in to see her amazing transformation!

Congratulations Rachael, you look fabulous!

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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Life gets a little easier for this Kentucky mother

Heather Scott is a 25-year-old mother from Mayfield, Ky. She struggled with her weight all of her life, leaving her uncomfortable and insecure. Weighing as much as 260 pounds as a teenager made high school anything but easy. In fact, if you ask Heather, she'll tell you the only good thing that came out of high school was the day she met her future husband.

Heather's husband has never judged her, even when she continued to gain weight after high school. But that still did not ease Heather's insecurities. Wherever Heather went, she felt like people were pointing at "the fat girl."

As if dealing with the thought of people stereotyping her wasn't enough, Heather also had to deal with the physical demands of being heavy. She was always out of breath, and her joints constantly ached.

She had a hard time doing everyday tasks. Getting out of bed every morning was an obstacle for Heather. When she was nine months pregnant with her daughter, she was so large she couldn't even fit in a booth at a restaurant.

Shopping was never a good experience. Heather used to go shopping with her older sister, and would be jealous of all the cute clothes her sister could wear and how much more items she could buy. Heather's clothes cost more, and she was always stuck wearing whatever was made in her size, which was generally big t-shirts and sweats.

Heather never quite understood why she was so much bigger. She didn't eat much, but she would justify a day of starving for a late night batch of brownies. She chose pizza and fast food or cooked dinners loaded with starches. Healthy was never an option for Heather.

She finally had enough when she couldn't even play with her young daughter. Heather's mom had joined the LA Weight Loss program and was very successful. So along with the support from her mother and husband, Heather made the commitment to the LA Weight Loss program in May 2007.

LA Weight Loss worked for Heather because she joined for herself. She didn't want to lose weight because someone else wanted her to -- she wanted to lose weight for her health and her children.

Heather preferred the one-on-one counseling LA Weight Loss provided. She kept a food journal to keep track of her meals, and the counselors worked with her to realize what foods helped her gain or loose.

Now Heather's diet consists of turkey bacon and yogurt for breakfast, plain turkey burger for lunch with no bread, a salad for dinner and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables in between. She also started walking at least one mile a day.

And the results have shown. Heather's lost over 100 pounds! She now feels like she can communicate better with people. She realizes her insecurities lead her to believe everyone was judging her. She also has more options to chose from when she goes shopping, and can shop at any store, not just the stores that carry plus sizes. She can even wear heals!

Heather's biggest obstacle was resisting temptations. She learned that eating foods that are bad for you is not worth the five minutes you can actually taste it in your mouth. Anytime Heather would get off course, especially around the holidays, she would walk extra and work harder to get back on the right mindset.

Way to go, Heather! We're proud of you!

Here's Heather at 301 pounds:

And here she is today at a much slimmer 197 pounds.

You look great Heather! All your hard work has paid off! Keep it up!


Name: Heather Scott
Hometown: Mayfield, Ky.
Age: 25
Height: 5'6"

Starting weight: 301 pounds
Goal weight: 170 pounds
Current weight: 197 pounds
Program start date: May 2007

Favorite food: Pizza.

Biggest temptation: Chocolate or sweets.

Biggest motivator: Shrinking into a smaller size and watching the numbers dropping on the scale.

Biggest obstacle: Being around other people who were not dieting.

Old eating philosophy: Chowing on pizza, brownies, cookies, candy bars, chips, and soft drinks.

New eating philosophy: Eating meals with fish, yogurt, turkey, chicken, and fresh vegetables and fruit.

Best thing about losing weight: Feeling good about herself, and knowing that she is healthier to play with her daughter.

Best weight loss secret learned: Reducing intake of sodium will help you drop the pounds.

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Monday, May 04, 2009

Mother-daughter duo rely on each other

Kathy Fendley and her daughter Emily Jenkins are from Knoxville, Tenn. They decided to join their local LA Weight Loss center together in January 2006. Kathy and Emily share similar stories with their weight struggles.

Kathy was active growing up, but was always heavier. In college, she lost 50 pounds, and after that, she would yo-yo. Emily struggled through middle school up until after college. Both women knew their choice in food was not the healthiest. They would eat a lot of fast food, and Kathy would skip meals and instead eat a milkshake. She found ways to justify her eating.

When Emily was asked to be in a friend's wedding in August 2006, she knew she wanted to get the weight off. She asked her mom to join the LA Weight Loss program for the added support. Kathy was very excited to get the extra weight off too, but she knew she would not be able to lose as much as Emily would.

Little did Kathy know, she and her daughter went pound for pound. Along with eating healthier, receiving one-on-one help and support from LA counselors and each other, Kathy and Emily exercised at least three days a week. They would do a circuit training that LA Weight Loss offered, walk outside or on the treadmill, weight train, and all around became more active.

Emily also wanted to lose weight for her own wedding. Ever since Emily was a little girl, she dreaded picking out her wedding dress. She thought she would have to pick a dress out to cover her up. But when she did marry just about a year ago, she could pick out the dress of her dreams.

The mother-daughter duo thanks LA Weight Loss for their healthier lifestyle. They have noticed a change in their overall quality of life. Kathy loves taking her daughter shopping and seeing how excited she gets when she feels comfortable in what she wears.

They no longer dread putting on a bathing suit to go to the beach. They always make sure they bring their own snacks and drink a lot of water. Teamwork is what led this mother and daughter to the happiest they have ever been in their own skin.

Emily and Kathy before:

Emily and Kathy after:


Name: Kathy Fendley
Hometown: Knoxville, Tenn.
Age: 61
Height: 5'1"

Starting weight: 179 lbs.
Goal weight: 135 lbs.
Current weight: 132 lbs.
Program start date: January 2006

Favorite food: Hamburgers.

Biggest temptation: French fries.

Biggest motivator: Getting rid of clothes that no longer fit.

Biggest obstacle: Cooking/preparing her own food to follow the plan.

Old eating philosophy: Ignoring calories, and just eating anything that was fast and tasty.

New eating philosophy: Planning ahead, having good and healthy food in the refrigerator, and talking to the waiter if she goes out to eat.

Best thing about losing weight: Having more energy, feeling better about herself, and not having to stand in front of the closet and wonder what pair of pants she can get into today.

Best weight loss secret learned: Don't let yourself get hungry. Stay ahead of your hunger pain.

Name: Emily Jenkins
Hometown: Knoxville, Tenn.
Age: 26
Height: 5'4"

Starting weight: 185 lbs.
Goal weight: 132lbs.
Current weight: 143lbs.
Program start date: January 2006

Favorite food: Any kind of cake.

Biggest temptation: Cake and pizza.

Biggest motivator: Being able to buy clothes she wants to buy.

Biggest obstacle: Watching her husband eat, because he can eat whatever and stay skinny.

Old eating philosophy: Eating whatever was there.

New eating philosophy: Controlling portions.

Best thing about losing weight: Getting compliments and knowing she looks better.

Best weight loss secret learned: Use fat-free Cool Whip on fruits to make it more like a dessert.

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Franchise owner's success inspires many

Courtney VanderPol's conflict with her weight started in high school. The problem grew worse when Courtney went away to college. During her first semester, she gained close to 30 pounds. The added weight caused Courtney to develop an eating disorder. Courtney would eat very little and exercise excessively, suffering from exercise bulimia.

Courtney soon was underweight, and was advised to seek counseling. She met with counselors and gained 40 pounds in six months. Something was missing from the counseling Courtney received though. She was eating and exercising regularly, but was still not cured of her weight battle.

Courtney tried other means of weight loss, but was unsuccessful. She was depriving herself. She would try diet pills, which would help her lose weight, but then she gained it right back. She was also a big snacker. She thought that since some snack foods would say "low fat" she could eat more than one serving in a sitting.

Portion control, not incorporating all the food groups, and lack of support and education were all contributing factors to her weight struggle.

The many attempts Courtney took to improve her body image was taking a toll on her mentally and physically. She was lacking calcium in her body from the eating disorder, which could result in bone loss. The diet pills were pulled from the market because they were not safe, and the unhappiness she felt looking in the mirror wore her out.

In February of 2002, still struggling with her weight, a friend suggested Courtney come in to LA Weight Loss to interview for a job in the Phoenix market. Courtney landed a job as a sales rep for LA Weight Loss, and decided to join the program. She bought all the products, and became a believer. Courtney wanted to learn how to lose weight and keep it off, adopting a healthier lifestyle.

Courtney met with the counselors, and learned how to balance and eat foods from each group. She started to lose weight, and felt comfortable putting on a bathing suit to enjoy the hot days Arizona offers by the pool.

Courtney became such a believer in the LA Weight Loss program that by November of 2002, Courtney and her husband moved to South Dakota and became LA Weight Loss franchise owners.

Her success and confidence in the program has influenced many of her family members and people in South Dakota to join the program. Courtney is a model to her family, teaching her children the right way to eat healthy and stay active.

Courtney says the worst part about being and feeling heavy was the time it took up in her life. She felt selfish, because she would put a lot of energy in what she was going to eat and how she felt, instead of spending it with her job and family. The LA Weight Loss program taught Courtney how to make eating healthy part of her lifestyle.

Courtney also had the privilege of starring in a LA Weight Loss commercial recently. The thought of wearing a bikini in the commercial challenged her, but she received great feedback from producers and LA Weight Loss. The commercial only showed others the confidence Courtney had in the program. She knew there was a reason why she was selected for the commercial: Her job is to inspire others.

Courtney at 162 pounds:

Courtney at 117 pounds:


Name: Courtney VanderPol
Hometown: Sioux Falls, S.D.
Age: 34
Height: 5'7"

Starting weight: 162 lbs.
Goal weight: 133 lbs.
Current weight: 117 lbs.
Program start date: February 2002

Favorite food: Ice cream.

Biggest temptation: Cheez-Its.

Biggest motivator: Continuing to be a good role model.

Biggest obstacle: Stressing out.

Old eating philosophy: Thinking that the less she ate, the less she would weigh.

New eating philosophy: Eating more often while watching portions. Keeping her body fueled with fuel.

Best thing about losing weight: Having more time to focus on the quality things in life.

Best weight loss secret: It's important to incorporate the right amount of each food group.

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

LA Weight Loss saved this Tennesse woman's life

Mitzi Ivey has been overweight all of her life. Coming from a family with a bigger build, Mitzi was never able to lose more than 25 to 30 pounds at a time, and only gained it right back.

Mitzi also comes from a family with health risks. Her mother was a diabetic, and suffered from her first stroke at 51. She suffered from 12 more before passing away at 60. Mitzi gained the last 85 pounds after her mother passed, making Mitzi 289 pounds. Her mother's health still did not encourage Mitzi to a healthier lifestyle.

Mitzi was also a diabetic, taking insulin and medicine for high blood pressure and high cholesterol. In August 2003, Mitzi Ivey was rushed to the University Hospital Emergency room. Her blood sugars were at 430 and her blood pressure was at stroke levels. Nine days later when Mitzi was released her orders read: "Patient dangerously obese -- must lose weight."

Mitzi was afraid. She tried several times to lose weight, trying every program and trend out there, but gained the weight right back. She asked her doctor what he recommended. He suggested LA Weight Loss, his wife was on the program and was very successful and very happy.

Later that same month, Mitzi joined LA Weight Loss. Checking in at 289 pounds, Mitzi lost nine pounds her first week, losing a total of 118 pounds in 11 1/2 months.

LA Weight Loss has taught Mitzi the importance of breakfast, eating within the first hour she is awake. She learned how to incorporate all the food groups, drinking a lot of water and making healthier choices following the LA Weight Loss program.

Mitzi was able to lose 26 pounds in the first five months of joining LA Weight Loss. She lost a grand total of 138 pounds.

Mitzi's success has been an inspiration to others in her town after being selected to be featured in a local LA Weight Loss ad. She never lets herself get seven pounds from her goal weight.

Her doctor warns her that she will always be a diabetic, so Mitzi works her hardest to never get back to the point where she will have to take medicine everyday. Mitzi has been able to maintain her weight loss for the past five years.

Mitzi has the life she was never able to have before. Her stamina is unbelievable. Her hobbies include hiking and hunting for deer and turkey, shopping with her two daughters, volunteering, and going to the beach in a bathing suit!

Mitzi could not head down the path her mother did, leaving her children behind. Mitzi can't wait for grandchildren to run after and see grow up.

Mitzi says the vanity of looking better is good, but her health and energy levels at age 53 are the biggest blessings of all. Mitzi thanks LA Weight Loss for saving her life.

Mitzi before at 289 pounds:

Mitzi today, weighing 151 pounds:


Name: Mitzi Ivey
Hometown: North Knoxville, Tenn.
Age: 52
Height: 5'7"

Starting weight: 229 lbs.
Goal weight: 200 lbs.
Current weight: 151 lbs.
Program start date: August 2003, maintaining for almost six years.

Favorite food: Mexican.

Biggest temptation: Any kind of chips, salty foods.

Biggest motivator: Her health and size 8 skinny jeans.

Biggest obstacle: Sticking to the program and making sure she eats while traveling to keep on schedule.

Old eating philosophy: Eating without thinking.

New eating philosophy: Knowing better choices and maintaining proper portions.

Best thing about losing weight: Having a better marriage, and better relationship with herself and children.

Best weight loss secret learned: Food is in your mouth for about 30 seconds. Is it really worth it? Stop and really think about what you are eating.

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Friday, April 10, 2009

Easy Easter dinner recipes

It's Easter season and that means ... chocolate! But don't worry, I've put together some delicious recipes to keep you satisfied and on track with the L A Weight Loss program this Easter season.

Glazed Ham

2 pound ham
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 cup apricot halves in lite syrup
3 Tbsp no sugar added apricot preserves
1/2 tsp whole ground cloves

Trim all visible fat from ham. Place ham in baking pan. Rub Dijon mustard all over ham.

Pour apricot halves and juice over ham. Dot cloves throughout ham, gently pressing into flesh.

Cook ham in oven according to package directions.

To prepare glaze, place preserves in small dish. Place in microwave 10-20 seconds, until preserves begin to melt.

During last 30 minutes of cooking, brush ham with warm glaze. Continue to brush ham every 10 minutes until cooked through.

Preserves may need to be re-heated, as needed, before basting.

Allow to rest 5 minutes, before slicing.

Makes 8 servings.

Balsalmic Roasted New Potatoes

2 pounds new potatoes, quartered.
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
dash of salt
nonfat cooking spray

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Coat large cast iron skillet with nonfat cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat.

Add potatoes and seasonings and heat through.

Remove skillet from heat; place in oven, uncovered, for 30 minutes, or until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally.

Add vinegar, and toss well.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast, uncovered, 6 more minutes.

Serve immediately.

Makes 10 servings.

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Thursday, April 02, 2009

Tennessee mom's last resort

Cheryl Miller is a mother of four, a loving wife, and a caregiver. Her active life left her with little personal time to take care of herself. She was constantly on the go, working for a preschool, caring for her sick grandmother, and trying to care for her own four children. This all played a major role in her weight gain.

Each of Cheryl's pregnancies put a toll on her body. After Cheryl had her second child at age 23, her weight increased and she started suffering from severe back pain. Her back pain sometimes required her to be carried or pushed in a wheelchair, or even to be on bed rest for a week.

Finally, she went to the doctor's when the pain was so fierce she could not walk. The doctors took X-rays, and discovered flipped discs, fragmentation, and nerve damage -- all due to the weight she had gained after having children. The doctor recommended back surgery as the only cure to her suffering if she did not lose weight.

Cheryl was 29 years old, almost a size 20, and her weight was continuing to increase. Cheryl was not ready to undergo back surgery and take time away from her family. Cheryl tried to lose weight on her own, but still did not eat right and was unsuccessful. She did not understand why the older she got, the more she ate and the more weight she gained.

Cheryl decided to look into LA Weight Loss after a suggestion from a friend of the family who was on the program and had also suffered from back pain. Cheryl liked the LA Weight Loss program because of the accountability it offered.

Within the first two weeks of the program, Cheryl lost close to 20 pounds, and people started to notice. She received positive reactions from friends and family, which encouraged her to commit and stay on the program.

Cheryl's diet changed from eating red meat, fried chicken, pasta, fast food, and canned vegetables, to eating lean cuts of turkey, fresh green vegetables, and plenty of fresh fruit. Water has also become Cheryl's choice of beverage.

She lost 103 pounds on LA Weight Loss! Cheryl has not pulled her back out since her youngest son Parker, 6, was six months old. Her new lifestyle also encouraged her to exercise more. Cheryl started walking every day, doing exercise work outs on TV, and lifting weights to tone her arms and legs.

Cheryl has a new level of confidence. She is no longer hiding herself from others. She went from a size 22 to a size 4, playing softball in the summer and keeping up with her active children.

She also gained the confidence to be more outgoing and approachable, allowing her to connect with people. She finally feels that people listen to her while she talks, always asking for more insight. After all the years of caring for others, she believes this is the first time she is truly caring for herself.

Cheryl is an inspiration to those surrounded by her and to us all! You look great Cheryl, keep up the hard work for yourself and for others!

Cheryl at 226 pounds:

Cheryl at 123 pounds:


Name: Cheryl Miller
Hometown: Kingston, Tenn.
Age: 35
Height: 5'4"

Starting weight: 226 lbs.
Goal weight: 120 lbs.
Current weight: 123 lbs.
Program start date: April 27, 2006

Favorite food: Chinese food.

Biggest temptation: Chocolate.

Biggest motivator: Her kids.

Biggest obstacle: Not getting the encouragement that she needed for others.

Old eating philosophy: Eating pizza, pasta, Chinese food, fried chicken, French fries, and hamburgers.

New eating philosophy: Enjoying turkey, asparagus, grilled chicken, broccoli, blueberries, and bananas.

Best thing about losing weight: Being a role model to others who want to lose weight.

Best weight loss secret learned: Lowering your sodium intake can help you lose weight.

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