How Two Sisters Helped Each Other Shed a Collective 106 Lbs.: "Sisterhood Gave Us the Strength to Change"

Amy Budler and Gina Troia-VanNess shed a collective 106 pounds, thanks to their strongest supporters: each other!

Gina: In college, late night takeout was one of our favorite pastimes. I soon found myself just shy of 200 pounds, while Amy weighed in at 138. Being overweight began taking its toll.

Amy: A stranger’s rude comment here, a pair of extra-large pants there added up, but photos from a family beach trip in 2004 were the final push we needed. That fall, we signed up for Weight Watchers.

Lessons in healthy

Gina: From day one, we attended the weekly meetings together, debriefing each other on lessons learned. For me, having smarter portions of my favorite foods—hello, pasta!—and logging regular runs and boot camp classes were key. I was down to 155 pounds by the summer of 2005.

Amy: While the point system helped me make better food choices and drop 30 pounds in just six months, after a year I trusted myself to eat clean on my own. I started meal prepping staples like egg muffins or avocado toast for breakfast.

Gina: I fluctuated after my initial loss, but staying true to what I had learned helped me ditch another 20 pounds by 2007. After that, I turned to MyFitnessPal.

Stronger together

Amy: Exercise wasn’t on my radar until 2011, when Gina and I ran a 5K. After that, I was hooked.

Gina: Tracking what I ate and working with a trainer with Amy kept me at 135 pounds for years. Then, in 2015, I stopped snacking after dinner and started using a food scale. The result: I hit my goal weight of 122. Finally, victory.

Amy: We’ve now completed five half marathons, and I’m down to 108 pounds, even after having a baby in 2015.

Gina: We love that our weight loss has been a team effort. Sisterhood gave us the strength to change.

slim with sister
Jennifer Schultz

Gina and Amy's tone-it-up tips

1. Go halfsies: We often share an entrée when we eat out. That way, we know we’re eating a reasonable portion. Bonus: We don’t feel bad getting the occasional scoop of ice cream afterward! It’s all about balance.

2. Love your lower body: We used to hate leg day, but strengthening our lower bodies helped us shave 20 minutes off our half-marathon time.

3. Remix your sweets: We love creating healthier versions of our favorite splurges, like Brownie Overnight Oats: oats, mashed banana, almond milk, vanilla, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and chia seeds. Yum!

As told to Anthea Levi

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