Willpower, support essential for resolutions

LOS ANGELES We followed two local ladies who resolved to lose weight. We've been checking in with them throughout the year.

If you've ever tried it, you know it's not easy. Here's what it takes to be successful.

2008 will be Carla Flagg's year of freedom. In January, she resolved to lose 60 pounds. Her size 20 jeans were tight.

"Commitment, dedication, having a great support system made the difference this year," says Carla.

Carla also made a good friend in dance class: Laura Lee. Her goal: Shape up and lose those last 15 pounds.

"But it was fun, it was good," says Laura. "It was a great experience."

Both had a year full of ups and downs. Their dance and fitness motivator Joey Dowdy says the biggest challenge to any resolution is learning to take setbacks in stride.

"It's OK to make mistakes. It's OK to have some setbacks in life. But the main thing is that you're able to keep going. Each day is a new day to get it right and to move forward," says Dowdy.

Besides dance class, the ladies exercised on their own, learned about portion control and what to buy when there's no time to cook.

They even met with a psychologist who helped them navigate their weight-loss plateaus.

"This is a lifestyle that I need to maintain," says Carla.

Dance inspired them to tackle projects that seemed inconceivable a year ago.

Laura, who never belly-danced before, entered a big competition.

"Well, I competed in that Belly Dancer of the Universe competition," says Laura. "Personally, I think I did well."

Carla took up running in a big way.

"My clothes are looser. I have more stamina, energy, cardio endurance," says Carla. "And I've done a 5K, and I've done a half-marathon."

Did they meet their weight-loss goals? Laura started the year at 138 pounds; now she's 120. And she's tightened her abs.

"Don't think about it and just do it," says Laura. "Don't overanalyze."

Carla started 2007 at 287 pounds and ended at 259. She's maintained a 30-pound weight loss. And the tight jeans she wore in January are loose.

The lesson for 2008: Stay positive, stick with people who will support you, and you too will find success.

Both Carla and Laura have tried weight-loss resolutions before, and this is the first time they've followed through.

For 2008, Carla is resolving to run a full marathon, and Laura wants to do something adventurous, like river rafting.

Joey Dowdy's World Dance Groove

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