A Diet-to-Go Success Story
It’s one thing to lose weight as an individual — it’s quite another when you get the entire family to do it.
But that’s exactly what 47-year-old Sandra Hardeman did with her three sons and husband one year ago, and, since then, the family has collectively lost more than 330 pounds.*
Sandra’s journey to that point was an emotional one. Growing up, her family always put an emphasis on food.
It was the cornerstone of family gatherings, especially after church on Sunday’s.
“I grew up in a household where my mother cooked big meals on Sunday. So we would cook a chicken, pot roast, rice and potatoes. She’d cook a big meal after church. However, weight wasn’t an issue because of activity,” Sandra said.
Sandra even participated in beauty pageants, and said weight wasn’t something she started thinking about until she was 19 years old.
“I was working as a model for a company that’s no longer in business, and during my time doing the work for them, one of the people came to me and said, ‘you probably need to take off 10 pounds,’” Sandra said.
“Weight loss is confusing, but for me in my teenage years, that’s where it started,” she added. “I had size-confusion. We never talked about it in my household. My dad is small. My mom has always struggled with weight. I think there’s a thing about society that puts that on women in general.”
Over the years, Sandra started putting on weight after her marriage to Steven, particularly after she had her sons: Steven Jr., age 21; Sterling, age 15; and Seth, age 12.
At 43 years old, she was diagnosed with diabetes.
“I started feeling bad…I couldn’t figure out what it was. I went to my OBGYN and my OBGYN drew blood and then called me and said, ‘Sandra, you need to see a primary care physician, you have diabetes,’” Sandra recalled. “They put me on pills, then I progressed to insulin.”
It was tough on her and her family, and Sandra started to consider weight loss surgery.
“My doctor said, ‘you should do weight loss surgery…you could rid of diabetes with surgery,’” Sandra remembered.
Sandra agreed, and it was a decision that ultimately saved her (and her family’s) life. Days before her surgery, Sandra’s son Seth looked at her and said, “Mommy what’s going to happen to us? You’re going to be skinny, and we’re going to be fat.”
“I cried like a baby. I thought, ‘wait, I need to try one more time to do this the right way,” Sandra said.
The Diet-to-Go Solution
Sandra opted to skip the surgery and change her lifestyle and eating habits instead, a decision that became a family affair. Sandra applied to be on the Lifetime TV show “This Time Next Year,” which focuses on how people achieve a specific goal over the course of a year.
Sandra’s goal was for her and her family to lose weight and get to healthy BMIs, as well as to reverse her diabetes.
She had also heard about Diet-to-Go, and after being selected for the show, wanted to give it a try.
“When I went to Lifetime and did the show, I told them I would not do the show unless they supported us using Diet-to-Go,” she said.
Diet-to-Go supplied the Hardeman family with three meals a day, seven days a week over the course of 2017.
During that time, the entire family lost an incredible amount of weight* — all simply eating Diet-to-Go meals for one year:
• Sandra lost 57 pounds.*
• Steven, Sandra’s husband, lost more than 100 pounds.*
• Steven Jr. (21) lost more than 100 pounds.*
• Seth (12) lost 48 pounds.*
• Sterling (15) lost 28 pounds.*
And they not only lost weight*, but also dropped into the “healthy” category for BMI. Most importantly, Sandra managed to reverse her diabetes* and is now off her diabetic medication.
Sandra said the biggest struggle for her and her family before the weight loss was portion control.
“That’s what makes Diet-to-Go amazing. It showed us exactly how much we needed to eat,” Sandra said. “We took every meal out of the container and put it on a plate. I needed to be able to get a better perspective on what food portions look like.”
On top of that, Sandra said the meals’ taste made it easy for the family to stay on-track.
“I loved all the chili’s. Whether it’s the black bean, the turkey chili; it’s simple; it’s comfort food. It tastes like something I would make,” Sandra said. “The Santa Fe burger, that’s another one that was my favorite. I’m not a big burger eater, but it had a lot of flavor, spicy, savory. The one breakfast that everyone would fight over is the raisin bran muffin.”
And, after a few weeks on Diet-to-Go, the family’s desire for unhealthy food began to dissipate.
“After a while, you stop having the same cravings,” she said.
Along the way, the Hardemans rewarded their successes.
“We were unsure what you do when you go outdoors, so we made it our quest to hit as many Virginia state parks as we could. We hiked and walked through them,” Sandra said. “We [also] went to the Grand Canyon, and we walked five miles of it. We wanted to experience life as a family and doing things.”
The family also went white water rafting and to Disney World. And eventually, Sandra forayed into the gym, something she didn’t think she would ever be able to do.
“I now go to the gym three times a week, I do a lot of strengthening to keep my core intact. I rely on rolling a lot,” she said.
And, most importantly, she found a level of self-confidence she didn’t know existed.
“When I look at pictures of myself a year ago, I thought I looked okay. You’re comfortable in your skin,” she said. “Now when I see the comparison I think, ‘wow how’d I ever let myself get to that point?’”
* Weight loss results may vary. Results not guaranteed.
Author: Caitlin Hendee
Diet-to-Go Community Manager
Caitlin is the Diet-to-Go community manager and an avid runner. She is passionate about engaging with others online and maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle. She believes moderation is key, and people will have the most weight loss success if they engage in common-sense healthy eating and fitness.