She Quit Drinking Soda and Dropped 100 Pounds

“Addicted” to soda, Marie Francis Barry ballooned up to 247 pounds. Since she cut the cola, she’s lost weight and gained newfound confidence

July 15, 2011
Marie after
Courtesy of Marie Francis Barry
Marie before

Before: 247 pounds
After: 147 pounds
Height: 5’8”
Age: 50

As a child, Marie Francis Barry, 50, had been naturally athletic and skinny—a combination that allowed her to drink most of her calories in soda without gaining any weight. She climbed up the corporate ladder, staying slim on small but unhealthy meals of apples and a can of pop. However, after giving birth to her daughter, losing her mother to cancer, and going through a divorce shortly thereafter, she found that the weight started piling on. “When I went through my divorce, I relied on Coke and cappuccinos. I was probably was hitting 3,000 calories in beverages and became a blimp of myself,” she says.


The Turning Point
While vacationing in California, Marie decided to step on the hotel bathroom scale. It showed 247 pounds. Thinking that the scale must be off, she asked her daughter and father to weigh themselves. When their weights registered accurately, Marie finally confronted her weight issues. (Jumpstart your own weight loss journey when you pick up a copy of the Flat Belly Diet!)

The Lifestyle
With the help of a trainer, Marie started taking stock of her life—and not just what she was eating. “I learned to prioritize food and to see food as nutrition, as well as seeing how sleep should be part of my overall health plan,” she says. For starters, Marie cut out soda in favor of cold carbonated water with a squeeze of lemon and started eating six small meals a day. She started cooking more and sticks to grilled meats and salads when she eats out. Instead of being caught off guard when work picks up or when she’s traveling, Marie now carries a protein bar or will pick up a bit of rotisserie chicken. (Search: Best protein sources)

In the beginning, Marie spent 3 days a week hitting the gym, doing resistance training, and 4 days a week doing a body weight routine at home. She does a little bit of cardio but focuses the majority of her time on building lean muscle mass with moves like the wood chop, dumbbell rows, squats, burpees, and medicine ball crunches. (Video: Chisel your abs in one move)

The Motivation
Throughout it all, Marie had great cheerleaders in her daughter and father. In fact, her daughter attended every single training session with her.

The Reward
Gone are the aches and pains Marie had from carrying an extra 100 pounds, and old coworkers have said she looks exactly as she did 15 years ago. Plus, after 8 years of being off the market, Marie has started dating again. “I’ve started allowing myself that joy of feeling female again,” she says.

Marie’s Tips
Plan, plan, plan. “You have to come up with a schedule and know when you’re going to work, when you’re going to relax, what you’re going to eat. You can’t wing it every day.”

Find a circle of trust. “When you’re losing weight, you have to put yourself in an orbit of support. You will have people who will taunt you and tease you with cake and pizza, but you got to be strong and surround yourself with supporters.”

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