Having trouble losing weight? Try a little teamwork

Kris Gates, left, and Debra Robinson have lost more than 200 pounds together since creating a fitness challenge for themselves a year ago. Their workouts include water aerobics at Lakeside Wellness Center.


Sometimes it takes two.

Together, Debbie Robinson and Kris Gates lost more than 200 pounds since last January. They have each other to thank. The women motivate each other to go to the gym, even when they would rather watch TV, and resist the siren call of waistline-wrecking foods.

“You try to stay more focused because you know you're accountable to another person besides yourself,” Gates said.

She has lost 91 pounds and shrunk to a size 10. Robinson, her workout partner, has lost 111 pounds. The two friends met almost three years ago at Lakeside Wellness in Omaha where they both take a water aerobics class.

Back then they worked out, but they didn't work hard, and neither paid too much attention to what they ate. A year ago, almost to the day, they decided to make a change by revving up their workouts and watching their diets.

Robinson, 54, turned to Metabolic Research Center for eating advice. The experts there explained what foods she should be eating and how much. So she takes in more protein now, mostly in the form of chicken, fish, nuts and cottage cheese. She also knows to not skip breakfast. Starting the day with a meal jumpstarts her metabolism and helps her avoid binging later. The center taught her to make healthier choices at restaurants, too.

Gates, 61, said one of the keys to changing her eating habits was learning proper portions. She also chooses chicken and turkey over red meat and sweet potatoes or spaghetti squash over white pasta and bread. She said she consumes about 1,200 calories.

“For me, the most important thing was tracking and becoming aware of what I was taking in,” Gates said.

Gates and Robinson log what they eat on MyFitnessPal, a website and smartphone application that allows users to track their exercise habits and everything they eat, as well as discuss their progress with other members.

The women, who live in Omaha, stepped it up at the gym, too. They attend a water aerobics class five or six times a week. You're always moving, they said, and sometimes the instructor incorporates water-friendly weights for an added challenge.

Gates said she prefers high-energy days. “I like to keep moving,” she said. “That's not something I did before.” She also does weight training once a week.

It's Robinson's favorite workout, too. “I love the water. I don't feel like I'm exercising,” she said. “If I'm sweating, I don't know it.”

Regular exercise and eating well means she has more energy. At Methodist Hospital, where Robinson is a nurse, she can stay on her feet the entire shift, and it doesn't bother her. She said she meets Gates at the zoo where the two will walk around the complex without any problems.

Gates said she has more energy, too, and can also move more easily. She was able to go tent camping this summer and “enjoy the outdoor world,” thanks to her weight loss.

“I could comfortably sleep on the ground, get up and down and not mind,” she said.

Their success inspires each other to stick to their new exercise and eating habits.

“Every piece of it is important,” Gates said.

Contact the writer:

402-444-1071, katy.healey@owh.com

twitter.com/KatyHealey5

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