When it comes to losing weight, sometimes we need a helping hand. That strategy worked for two couples and one set of roommates featured in PEOPLE’s Half Their Size issue. Here’s how the six of them supported each other and dropped a combined 832 lbs.!
Adam and Krista Kirschbaum (above) saw their waistlines grow after meeting in 2001. By the time they reached their wedding day seven years later, they were the heaviest they had ever been.
“We just got comfortable and would eat indulgent meals like chicken alfredo pasta with garlic bread,” Kirsta, 37, tells PEOPLE. The weight gain continued even after they had their son Mikey, 5. “We would get winded running around outside with Mikey. We couldn’t keep up with him,” says Krista. “We were putting him in front of a TV when we knew we needed to get him outside, but we couldn’t physically motivate ourselves to get up.” The ability to run around and play with their son became a motivating factor in the Kirschbaums’ desire to lose weight.
Finally, after years of trying different diets, they found one that stuck. The couple adopted a plant-based lifestyle in 2013 and never looked back. (Krista went from 235 lbs. to 135 lbs. and Adam went from 290 lbs. to 155 lbs.) “The main reason it works for me is because I like to eat a lot,” says Adam, 33. “And you can’t overeat kale and broccoli.”
For more amazing transformations and the hottest Hollywood slimdowns, check out PEOPLE’s Half Their Size issue, on newsstands now.
Roommates for the last four years, Allyson Pearcy and Chantel Rohdy, both grew up overweight. “I got called fat a lot,” Rohdy, 29, tells PEOPLE. Her best friend and fellow preschool teacher, Pearcy, 31, turned to food after losing her mom at 16. “I dealt with my emotions by eating.” she says.
But after joining Weight Watchers in 2013, the pair lost a combined 312 lbs. – Pearcy went from 323 lbs. to 147 lbs. and Rohdy from 289 lbs. to 153 lbs. – and they were happy they could share the journey. The friends now cook healthy meals like spaghetti squash, chicken and veggies, and work out together and support each other. “I couldn’t have done this without Ally,” says Rohdy.
Married for 36 years, Susan and Steven Smelser became self-proclaimed “yo-yo” dieters once their kids were born. “After Steven and I got married, I had my two children one right after the other. So from 21 on, I would just gain, gain, gain, diet, gain,” Susan, 55, tells PEOPLE.
Her husband, whose weight hit 345 lbs., followed the same pattern until their daughter’s 2010 wedding. “The thought of having all of those beautiful pictures of the family with us being the size that we were, [we thought], ‘Okay, we have to do something,’ ” says Susan, whose highest weight reached 283 lbs. The couple turned to Take Shape for Life, which relies on Medifast meals. The results were so impressive (Steven and Susan dropped down to 190 lbs. and 153 lb., respectively) that Susan is now a health coach for TSFL. “It helps me keep the weight off, and it’s so rewarding to help other people.”
–Michelle Ward Trainor