COLUMBUS, GA (WXTX) - The major holidays are over and summer is right around the corner, and many people are looking to get in shape for bathing suit season.
In a special report, Fox 54's Taylor Barnhill followed four people -- all with different weight loss methods -- to see which person can shed more pounds over the course of one month.
On January 1st many people made a New Year's resolution to get in better shape, but the four people Fox 54 followed made a bigger commitment than that. They wanted to change their way of life when it came to being healthy and losing weight. So we followed them for one month to see which weight loss method is most effective.
Diet pills, fad diets, work-out plans. There are hundreds of ways to lose weight these days, but some aren't looking for a quick fix, they want a more permanent and sustainable solution for shedding pounds.
"My biggest motivation is to get healthy. I have a lot of health problems in my family between high blood pressure, heart disease and we have other small things that watching what you eat and exercising can control those," said Jessica Edge. Jessica says she has tried diet and exercise before, "When I went to the gym regularly I stayed smaller. I did not gain weight no matter what I ate and I felt better. I felt healthier, I had more energy. And that's the biggest issue is that now that I don't go to the gym my energy level is flat now."
This time around she just wants to feel better and maybe drop a few pant sizes by losing close to 20 pounds. She's attending a once a week boot camp to try and meet that goal, "I hope I accomplish feeling stronger and have more energy and feel like I can do more and not feel lazy like I do now."
For some, losing weight isn't about vanity, it's about necessity.
Freeman Worley told Fox 54, "My cholesterol is high and I need to bring it down and to help my health issues, I feel it's best to lose weight."
Freeman says exercise really isn't his favorite method, so he's just paying closer attention to what he eats on a daily basis, "Breakfast I'm eating Corn Flakes or Raisin Bran, lunch it's a grilled chicken sandwich or a Subway sandwich and at supper it's soup, chicken or tuna salad."
Freeman's starting weight is 332 and he hopes to get down to 275, "It can happen. I know for a fact. I've done it before so I'm confident it can happen."
Confidence is something Debbie Tarvin has plenty of when it comes to dropping more than 30 pounds, "You think of a diet as being something hard but because I've made up my mind to do this, it's pretty easy."
She's following a national diet program where you carefully monitor any food you eat, combined with some exercise. Debbie said, "It's really more of keeping up with points and writing down what I'm eating so I'm cutting out a lot of sugar and I'm eating more vegetables. Light exercise, I'm walking and using the bike."
But counting calories isn't for everyone. Jonathan Rome says he's always had a big build, but he'd like to slim down, "I'm already a big guy. I've always been big and I've always been battling my weight my whole life. Hopefully in the next interview I'll look a little slimmer and I want to have more energy and more determination to keep going."
In order to drop from 316 to 275, he's hitting the gym with a weight training routine, "I think exercise is really going to kick it into high gear for me because if I get out there and burn more calories than I take in, no matter what I eat, I'll lose weight."
Not only is he trying to gain muscle and lose weight, but because he's always struggled with his weight, he'd like to feel better about the way others see him, "I would like to lose weight to feel better and when I go in public I want my clothes to fit better and get that extra confidence when I go out."
So we gave each of our subjects an entire month to lose some weight. Jessica regularly attended boot camp, Freeman watched what he ate, Debbie counted calories and Jonathan pumped iron. Then we sat down with them to see how their weight loss programs went.
Jessica lost a total of 5 pounds and although it doesn't sound like much, she gained muscle mass and lost 10 percent of her body fat. And she told Fox 54 she's not stopping the boot camp anytime soon, "It's gone well, surprisingly. I haven't lost a lot of pounds but I've lost body fat. I can see it from head to toe which I think is more important than just pounds."
Freeman hasn't met his overall goal, but he's on the right track after dropping 17 pounds, "It's gone real well. I've lost two or three pounds a week. I haven't met my goal yet, but I'm well on my way."
The national diet program is not just a quick fix for losing weight, Debbie says it's more of a lifestyle change. In the month we followed her progress, she dropped seven pounds, "It's definitely easier. I've learned how to change my way of eating, the way I prepare things and it's actually pretty fun trying to come up with new ideas."
After a few set-backs with getting sick and lacking some motivation, Jonathan lost a total of 11 pounds, but says he still wants to get down to his goal of 275, "It's kind of "plateaued" a little bit. I didn't lose as much as I thought I should have lost. It's hard to get motivated in the winter because you want to sit down, sleep or watch a movie but I think it went pretty well."
In one month our weight loss participants lost a total of 40 pounds!
Freeman actually lost the most weight by controlling his portions and cutting out certain foods, but experts say you have to take into account how much you have to lose and factor in how much muscle you gain, since it weighs more than fat.
All our weight loss participants say they feel better and their clothes are fitting better.
This whole process shows that if you set your mind to something, no matter what the method you choose, you can lose the weight.