CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Taylor Everson and Cynthia Ray have more in common than their affection for the same man. The daughter-in-law and mother-in-law in 2018 committed to a journey of getting healthier together, pushing each other to make better food choices with guidance from WellSpan Weight Management and losing the weight of a person - a combined 165 pounds.
"I'd been on so many diets - I'd try everything out there," explained Cynthia, noting wraps, pills and starving herself were just a few of the methods that failed. "I didn't have the support."
In her late 20s, Cynthia had two children just 10 months apart.
"I gained weight and then - boom - got pregnant again so, I didn't have time to lose it."
When daughter-in-law Taylor suggested the two go to WellSpan Weight Management together, Cynthia knew it was the structure and accountability she needed to make a true lifestyle change.
In fact, the accountability kicked in before Cynthia and Taylor even enrolled in the program - the women attended an information session about the weight management program and challenged each other to lose 10 pounds on their own, first.
"When we had started in June, it was her and me pushing each other," Taylor noted.
Once they began regular appointments, Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner Jen Hutsler helped the duo understand proper nutrition as they embarked on their journey, which was complemented by medication to enhance their weight loss efforts.
"They both did very well," said Jen. "They tracked and journaled their calories. They made healthier selections, eliminated liquid calories and started eating at home more. They both continue to follow up with me at medical weight management and continue to journal their calories."
Taylor explained that the continued appointments with Jen and the team at WellSpan Weight Management are times to check in and continue accountability.
"They're just so wonderful," Cynthia said of the staff.
Taylor has gone from a size 18 pant and 2X shirt to a size 6 pant and shirts in Small or Medium. Cynthia started her journey wearing a size 20 in pants and 2X in tops. She now wears a size 10 and Large in pants and shirts, respectively.
While they did take medication to aid in weight loss, it was only a small piece of the puzzle - about 80 percent of their weight loss is attributed to learning how to eat properly and make a true lifestyle change with the remaining 20 percent of weight loss being a result of the medication.
"You can't depend on that pill," Cynthia explained.
Agreed Taylor, "You have to change your lifestyle."
Beyond the weight loss
As their weight-loss journeys are nearing an end, both women have turned to Dr. Wayne Ledinh with WellSpan Plastic Surgery & Skin Care Center for what they consider the final pieces of the puzzle.
"You work so hard to lose this weight," explained Taylor, noting she and her mother-in-law were both left with excess skin as a result of weight loss, which hindered confidence. "I wanted to feel confident."
Cynthia had excess skin removed from her arms in Spring 2019 and is planning a tummy tuck this Fall. She said Dr. Ledinh's accessibility helped put her at ease when she had questions.
"Any time I messaged him, he has told me to 'come on in.'"
In June, Taylor had a "Mommy Makeover" surgery that consisted of a breast augmentation and tummy tuck.
"I'm so glad I did it. It's a good feeling - a confidence booster," she said, noting, "Dr. Ledinh is phenomenal. I couldn't have asked for a better surgeon."
Three solid tips
Cynthia and Taylor learned listed three things they learned from Jen at WellSpan Weight Management that were especially helpful with weight loss.
- Don't waste calories on drinks. Instead, fill your calories for the day with nutritious foods.
- Log calories using an app such as MyFitnessPal to track how much you consume.
- When eating at restaurants, order off the children's menu.