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Twins lose over 100 pounds together by focusing on non-scale wins

After Shannon Mariano saw a picture of herself with her family, she was sad. She did not like the way she looked and thought the pictures would look better without her.

"I was going through a really painful moment for me to look at the pictures of my own family. I wish I had not been in them," the 33-year-old stay-at-home mom from Tracy, California, told TODAY. me to look at my purpose. "

Frustrated with her weight, she decided to join WW (formerly Weight Watchers) to develop healthier eating habits and lose weight. But she did not tell anyone - not even her twin sister Brytni Soto. She was worried she might fail again and did not want anyone to know.

"I've tried so many programs, just a lot of different techniques, things ... to lose weight fast," Mariano said. "They did not work for me and so I knew this was my moment. 2020 was my chance. You could not gather so no one could see me fail. No one could have a lens into what I tried and did not work. "

When Shannon Mariano saw pictures of herself with her family, she decided to change her eating habits to lose weight.  (Courtesy of Shannon Mariano and Brytni Soto)

When Shannon Mariano saw pictures of herself with her family, she decided to change her eating habits to lose weight. (Courtesy of Shannon Mariano and Brytni Soto)

When the two were FaceTiming in May 2020, Soto noticed something new with its sister.

"I said, 'is there anything else? What is different about you? ' And she shared with me, ”said Soto, an official in the departmental administration of a national security institution, TODAY. "That day I signed up and I was fully committed."

Soto had started gaining weight after having a baby. Long working days and a stressful commute meant that she did not have time to make healthy meals and often went out and ate for lunch.

"I realized at the beginning of the pandemic that things had to change," Soto said. "I did not know what those things were at the time, but I knew I had to make a difference."

Having the support of her twin sister and the WW community helped Shannon Mariano lose weight and maintain this loss.  (Courtesy of Shannon Mariano and Brytni Soto)

Having the support of her twin sister and the WW community helped Shannon Mariano lose weight and maintain this loss. (Courtesy of Shannon Mariano and Brytni Soto)

Mariano's starting weight was 184 pounds and Sotos was 179. They both set goal weights. As they worked toward their goals, they focused on non-scale victories to keep them motivated.

"(One) was able to put on a pair of thigh-high boots - that was a big thing for me," Mariano said. "I could not even put on regular boots."

Soto remembers when her wedding ring fit again.

“My wedding ring actually didn’t fit me and I had to go out and buy a costume that was bigger,” she said. "When I was able to put my actual wedding ring back on and make it get too big, that was one of the things I was really surprisingly proud of."

After Brytni Soto saw that twin Shannon Mariano successfully lost weight, she also decided to join WW.  (Courtesy of Shannon Mariano and Brytni Soto)

After Brytni Soto saw that twin Shannon Mariano successfully lost weight, she also decided to join WW. (Courtesy of Shannon Mariano and Brytni Soto)

Both reached their goals - Mariano lost 57 pounds and Soto lost 54 - by eating healthier foods. They incorporate more fruits and vegetables into their diets, even when they go out to eat, and make healthy change when they can.

"We want to make valuable trades," Soto said. "We might change a pizza sauce. That does not mean we do not eat pizza. It just means we make changes that are worth it to us."

Making healthy change means Brytni Soto can enjoy food like pizza while still maintaining her weight loss.  (Courtesy of Shannon Mariano and Brytni Soto)

Making healthy change means Brytni Soto can enjoy food like pizza while still maintaining her weight loss. (Courtesy of Shannon Mariano and Brytni Soto)

They appreciate the help they receive from the WW app and the community.

"You're so incredibly empowered to do the things you've always loved. Maybe it's a slightly different, but delicious, healthy option," Mariano explained. She added that one tool in the app she used a lot was the recipe builder, where you can enter food you have and it will provide recipe options.

Through this experience, the twins feel that they have learned a lot about themselves.

"I stopped everything I've ever started, and it was not until WW that I realized I did not have to be that anymore," Mariano said. "I realized I was powerful. I can make a change that is as difficult as losing weight."

Brytni Soto's non-scale victories kept her motivated as she lost weight.  She was thrilled when she could wear her wedding ring again.  (Courtesy of Shannon Mariano and Brytni Soto)

Brytni Soto's non-scale victories kept her motivated as she lost weight. She was thrilled when she could wear her wedding ring again. (Courtesy of Shannon Mariano and Brytni Soto)

For Soto, weight loss has helped her set healthier boundaries and thrive.

"What I learned through this process was the process of getting well-rounded and how it starts to take shape in all different areas of my life, remembering what's important to me, setting a good example for my daughter," she said. . "I really want to understand what a healthy, balanced life looks like."

Both women are lifetime members, meaning they lost weight and kept it off for six weeks. Soto reached his goal weight in September, and Mariano reached his goal weight in October.

Here is their advice for others hoping to get healthier eating habits.

1. Take pictures.

Sometimes the number on the weight does not change when trying to lose weight. But there may be other benefits that people experience. Mariano often looked at before-pictures to determine how far she had come.

Shannon Mariano took a lot of before photos so she could see how much she was doing in her weight loss journey.  (Courtesy of Shannon Mariano and Brytni Soto)

Shannon Mariano took a lot of before photos so she could see how much she was doing in her weight loss journey. (Courtesy of Shannon Mariano and Brytni Soto)

"Take the before-pictures. You'll hate them, but you will thank me later when you can make them look back at how far you have come," Mariano said. "Pay close attention to the other things. that can tell this bigger part of the story. "

2. 'Do not do it alone.'

Soto felt lucky that she could talk to Mariano about what they ate and share big and non-scale victories. But she was also happy to trust the WW community.

"Do not do it alone because there are lots of people, whether they are in the WW community (or) people around you, who may be going through the same thing," she said. "I learned a lot from Shannon, through this journey, and I know I could not have been so successful and stuck with it without her."

Having each other while losing weight helped Shannon Mariano and Brytni Soto succeed.  (Courtesy of Shannon Mariano and Brytni Soto)

Having each other while losing weight helped Shannon Mariano and Brytni Soto succeed. (Courtesy of Shannon Mariano and Brytni Soto)

Mariano agreed that having his sister helps as well as using the WW "Connect" platform, a website where people using WW can get support.

"I've made lifelong, lasting relationships," she said. “Connect has been a source of power for me. It has been a source of responsibility for me. It has given me the opportunity to build, create, promote relationships with people. "

Focus on the small changes.

When one thinks of weight loss, it is easy to feel overwhelmed when trying to reach a certain number. But making a lot of small changes can make weight loss feel easier.

"The other thing for me was to focus on taking small steps in the right direction and just commit to the small steps," Soto said. "Just find something you want to commit to, small goals in the right direction and just celebrate when you achieve them."

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