Girlfriends' Diet Club: The Weight-Loss Program That Helped 3 Women Lose 60 Pounds

By Kristyn Kusek Lewis, "Girlfriends' Diet Club," January/February 2014

Three women discovered they shared the same goal: to lose 20 pounds and keep it off. Here’s how they developed their own weight-loss program to slim down—and how you can too.

An Idea Is Hatched.

It all started one morning back in 2001 at the school bus stop, where Nancy, now 47, ran into her next-door neighbor Judy, now 56. “We were outside anyway and we thought why don’t we start walking together after the kids go to school?” says Judy. They began walking a three-mile route around the neighborhood, and often saw their neighbor Julie, now 45, out walking her dog, so she joined them.

In 2010, nine years into their walking routine, they started talking about weight, and each confessed that she wasn’t happy with her numbers on the scale. “I felt like I’d been gaining and losing the same 15 pounds for years,” says Julie. Like many moms, she struggled to make food that was family-friendly but would also help her reach the goal weight that had eluded her since having kids. “I found myself snacking on the Goldfish crackers or treats that I gave my kids.” Judy, a lifelong athlete, had recently returned to work as a hospital dietitian and no longer had time to keep up her workout routine. Her weight started to creep up for the first time in her life. And Nancy wanted to set a good example for her family: “I felt a huge responsibility to provide good choices and be the healthy role model that I wanted to be for my kids,” she says.

To help her shed that unwanted weight, Julie started researching meal-delivery programs: “The idea of ready-to-go, pre­portioned meals appealed to me,” she says. But the cost and the potential that delivery dinners could be loaded with processed ingredients or not very tasty was a concern. And then—lightbulb moment—the women had an idea: what if, instead of paying for ready-made food from a company, they prepared healthy dinners for each other?

All three women love to cook. Judy’s work as a dietitian for the University of North Carolina hospital system included developing recipes for heart patients. Julie volunteered at the cooking school at Southern Season, a local gourmet-foods store. Nancy grew up in a large Italian-American family, had been cooking since she was a kid and loved trying new recipes.

Over the next few days, the idea took shape. It wasn’t long before they’d established a meal plan for Monday through Friday dinners for the next two weeks. They also set a goal: for six months, they’d plan and prepare healthy dinners for each other, and in the process, aim to each lose 20 pounds. Here’s how they did it.

Next: The Diet Club Plan »

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