Bend woman loses 60 pounds, gains spring in step

Credits weight-loss support group for helping her succeed

POSTED: 6:55 PM PST January 3, 2013 
BEND, Ore. -

Diane Peterson vows this is the year she'll learn to ski.

Three months ago, and 60 pounds heavier, she never imagined it would be possible -- she didn't even like moving around her apartment.

Peterson said Thursday she has another 70 pounds to lose, but she doesn't worry about getting there.

"I get up in the morning and I have energy, where before I'd sit around all day and I could sleep all day," Peterson said.

Peterson slowly gained weight for 20 years, until she was nearly 300 pounds. Like many of us she unsuccessfully tried various diets, even hypnosis.

So she went a more traditional route:  eating smart, exercising any time she can and finding strength in numbers.

"It makes me accountable, you know, the support group and stuff," She said.  "And it's fun to go and hear other people talk about the same thing, and that they're still struggling and stuff too."

Andy Elliott started a weight loss group in Bend to make friends, and to help people struggling to lose weight.

Peterson joined in October, and Elliott said she is an inspiration to everyone.

But what makes him really proud has nothing to do with weight.

"One time I called her, and she had been on a trip with her daughter and they went hiking at the beach or somewhere," Elliott said. "And I asked how was the trip and how it had been like, and she was like, 'I made it all the way to the end of the hike! I made it all the way!' And to me that's really cool, because that's relational,"

Peterson now has a better relationship with her daughter -- and herself.

"I'm happy! Three months ago, I'd be sitting here all depressed, and I'd go back to sleep," she said.

Now, her smile and enthusiasm for life is infectious. She celebrates the big things, like cutting her insulin for her diabetes in half, and her new-found excitement to go shopping.

"One of my passions is to go shopping in a regular clothing store and be able to pick something out," Peterson said.

And she doesn't take the little things for granted.

"I can get out of my car easier, too," she added.

About 20 percent of Americans will make a resolution to lose weight. But only about 8 percent  will succeed.

Peterson said that percentage would go up if people didn't try to lose weight alone.

"I wouldn't have the support, and I would be accountable," she said.

Peterson said the first few days of her diet were miserable -- but the success and being able to share it with others makes it worth it.