• 54°

Couple work hard to take off pounds

An East Brewton couple is busy working on changing their lives becoming healthier, more fit and more comfortable with themselves.

Michael and Nikki Cosey began a weight-loss journey nearly two years ago. Between them, the couple has shed nearly 300 pounds during the journey that has changed their lives and their lifestyle.

“We got to a point that we knew we needed to do something,” Michael said. “When you get to the point that it’s hard to walk, you can’t turn over in bed and you feel like you’re on the verge of a heart attack, it’s time to make a change.”

Shopping experiences were reasons enough for Nikki to see that a change was needed in her lifestyle and her physical being.

“I felt like every time I went shopping people were looking at me differently,” Nikki said. “I felt like people look at big people differently and I didn’t like the way that felt.”

The Cosey’s began their weight-loss journey by making a Christmas Eve announcement to their family in 2008.

“They laughed at us when we told them we were going on a diet,” Michael said. “They said we wouldn’t stick it out and that we’d quit after a couple of weeks. Well, here we are nearly two years and all those pounds later and we’re doing it.”

The Cosey’s began slowly with their new plan to lose weight by changing their eating and exercise habits.

“We started out walking at first,” Nikki said. “We started out at the track at Jefferson Davis Community College. Walking is a great way to start any kind of exercise program.”

Through a change in their diet, Michael said it was just a matter of will power and determination.

“We wanted to make this work and we knew we’d need to change the way we ate and how we looked at food,” Michael said. “We have a diet of yogurt and oatmeal for breakfast followed by a 100 calorie snack about 9 a.m. Lunch is usually a salad and we have a protein snack in the afternoon. Dinner usually is a piece of meat, no bigger than your hand, vegetables and a salad.”

Those meals have held the Cosey’s in a good pattern to continue to drop unwanted pounds from their lives.

“We don’t eat any sugar and only eat whole grains,” Nikki said. “We drink lots of water and don’t eat anything past 8 p.m. It’s been a big change, but we’ve seen big results.”

Although a change in diet and some walking helped the Cosey’s get to where they are, the couple said continuous exercise is a good key to weight loss.

“We’ve increased our exercising a good bit since we started this,” Michael said. “We’ve become regulars at the YMCA and have even started doing some 5K runs and walks.”

The couple works out four days a week at the YMCA participating in exercise classes and using the track and pool for additional exercise opportunities. The training and exercises at the YMCA have led the couple to venture out into the world of competition.

“After we had been exercising for a while, we decided to get in on a 5K walk/run,” Nikki said. “We started out by signing up for the Blueberry Chase this year.”

Michael said the experience was something he enjoyed and helped get him interested in similar events.

“I ran the Blueberry Chase and Nikki did the walk,” Michael said. “It was a lot of fun and I never knew how much I loved to run until we did that. Two years ago I couldn’t have even dreamed of running a 5K event and now I can’t wait to do more running.”

The couple is continuing their participation in such events by having been involved in a 5K Hope Walk/Run for charity in Jay, Fla., just last week. The couple is hoping to raise funds for breast cancer awareness when they take part in a Mall-to-Mall Walk/Run later this month in Pensacola, Fla.

“We have enjoyed the exercise and the weight loss we’ve been able to do since we started all of this,” Nikki said. “Now, we can use what we enjoy to help others.”

With a 163-pound weight loss for Michael and 130 pounds for Nikki, the couple is spreading the joy of weight loss to other family members.

“We have gotten our daughter Danyelle involved in our weight-loss too,” Michael said. “She got going with us and she has lost 36 pounds so far. We’ve even got some of those family members who laughed at us in the beginning asking us to help them lose some weight, too. It’s a good feeling to know what we’ve accomplished. We’re not through, but our lives have certainly changed for the better because of what we’re doing.”