Carolie, 68, and Bob Brenan, 73, moved from the Los Angeles area to Nevada County, Calif., a smaller, more rural area, in 1992. Married for nearly 50 years, they have three children and four grandchildren.
When Bob had a medical scare, it created a sense of urgency about getting fit. Beginning in September 2005, Bob lost 35 pounds and 21 inches; Carolie, 37 pounds and 39 inches, for a total of 72 pounds and 60 inches between them, during a three-month period.
Both maintained steady weight loss until they reached their goals, despite Bob's frequent business travel and a trip Carolie made to New Zealand.
"For years, I've walked around a dishonest woman," Carolie jokingly said, "I'll be so thrilled when my weight and driver's license match."
Even so, their progress didn’t follow a straight downward line. Both suffered occasional lapses. Before the lapses turned into collapses, though, they helped each other reconnect with their fitness goals.
"Working together and not having to think of two menus made all the difference. Simple dinners and long walks together work for us," Carolie reported. Bob concurred and added:
"Both Carolie and I tried various 'diets,' but always slid back to our old habits. Advertisements suggest a pill to curb your appetite, a high-protein drink in place of meals, or just eating certain types of foods will do the job.
"Now we know that what it takes is a desire to change old eating habits. What matters is what you eat, but also how much you eat, of the high-calorie foods. Salads with lots of veggies and a lean protein have become dinner staples. Success is built upon recording what we eat and reducing calories.
"But even that is not enough,” Bob said. “We have learned that to really achieve weight loss, we must exercise.
“Both Carolie and I enjoy positive comments from friends who notice the difference," he related.
"And," Carolie asked, "what better use of our remaining time than taking care of our bodies?"