GALLIPOLIS, Ohio — Even for two people, losing more than 120 pounds in three months is an impressive feat. But imagine a husband and wife team losing 93 of those pounds in just over three weeks.
David and Stephanie Killingsworth did it, and they did it together.
“We pushed each other,” David said.
The couple, formerly of New Haven, West Virginia, have been following the 22-Day Revolution, a “plant-based diet” created by Marco Borges and made popular by celebrities such as Jay-Z and Beyonce, since Oct. 1, when they appeared on “Steve Harvey” as part of a weight loss challenge.
“The DVR had randomly taped the show one day,” Stephanie said. “I didn’t know he had a talk show. So, I started watching it, and last March I got tickets.”
After going to a taping, Stephanie said she started following the show on Facebook, and one day she saw a post asking for applicants who wanted to lose weight with their spouse. “They called me within 20 minutes after I submitted the application,” Stephanie said.
Even though the diet wasn’t officially revealed until the day of the taping, the couple had an idea about what they might be going through.
“They asked a question during the application process about what we thought about being vegan,” David said.
“I didn’t know what vegan meant,” Stephanie admitted. “I didn’t know it was no animal products at all.”
During the 22 days, their meals consisted of things like shiitake mushroom yellow curry, smoky rosemary white beans, hearty granola and chocolate delight banana loaf. They also had two protein shakes per day.
On the show, David and Stephanie went up against Katie and Nate Brimhall, of Spanish Fork, Utah, and Kendra and Jayson Thornton, of St. Louis, Missouri, to see which couple could lose the highest percentage of body weight within the 22-day period by adhering to the specified diet.
David and Stephanie were the heaviest couple, weighing in at 664.4 pounds together, but after the 22 days ended, their combined weight had dropped to 571.4 pounds, for a total of 93 pounds lost and 14 percent of their total body weight. Separately, David lost 54 pounds and Stephanie lost 39 pounds.
Although they came in second to the Thorntons in the challenge, David and Stephanie received $2,000 and a motivator to help them continue their journey: a one-year supply of the 22-Day Revolution pre-packaged meals.
They haven’t stuck exactly to the two shakes, one meal plan that they were doing on the show. Now, they’re doing things their own way — having a shake and two to three meals per day.
“It really depends,” Stephanie said.
Beverage-wise, they drink mainly water and add almond milk to their shakes. They also indulge in one can of diet Dr. Pepper.
“We did not drink anything but water during the show,” Stephanie said. “We couldn’t even add flavoring. When we got back, we made a few changes.”
So far, it’s paid off, which is a pleasant surprise since both have struggled with their weight all their lives.
“I was big when I was little,” they said together.
“I was 200 pounds in 6th grade,” David added.
And it’s not the first time they’ve tried to drop the pounds.
“We’ve been trying to do it for a while,” David said. “It’s just hard to find something that you can really concentrate on.”
“I did the Atkins diet, and I’d lose 20 pounds but then I’d gain it back when I started eating carbs again,” Stephanie said.
Stephanie and David agreed their main issue before was eating fast and convenience foods because it worked with their busy nursing schedules — Stephanie works at CAMC and Cabell Huntington Hospital and David at Lakin Hospital.
“That was our biggest thing,” David said.
Having three children at home who like to eat the typical kid meals, like pizza, chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese, also hasn’t made the transition easy.
“We’ve got to segregate it,” David said. “We keep our stuff separate.”
As for cravings, Stephanie said she misses pizza, while David still has occasional hankerings for fish and chicken. Both agree, though, that once they reach their goals they’ll start to incorporate certain things back in to their diets.
“It’s all about discipline,” David added. “This diet, it really is a lifestyle.”
They do admit, too, that while they still stick to the meals the majority of the time, they have veered, like eating Cheesecake Factory after the final show taping and having traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.
“We don’t deprive ourselves,” David said. “It’s in moderation.”
Both also track their progress on the scale weekly and with a Fitbit on a day-to-day basis. Currently, Stephanie (5 foot 4) tries to stick to around 1,200 calories, David (6 foot 2) is between 1,500 and 1,800. Stephanie also uses MyFitnessPal, does water aerobics and workout DVDs. David prefers walking.
“That’s my biggest thing,” he said. “I try to average 15,000 steps a day.”
They’re feeling better, too. Stephanie said she doesn’t sleep as much, and David said he feels more rested.
“I feel like I sleep a lot better,” David said.
But what happens after the meals run out?
“The only place you can get any kind of gluten-free is Wal-Mart and it’s about an 8-foot section,” David said. “We have to go to Charleston to get the food that we’d need. If I didn’t get the meals, I’m not sure if we’d do it.”
Regardless of whether they maintain it, the pair is pleased with the results thus far.
“It’s super hard, but it does work,” Stephanie said.
They weighed their heaviest in September. Stephanie weighed 346 pounds and is now at 290. David was 329 pounds. He now weighs 258.
They’re not focusing too much on the numbers, though. David said he’d like to be around 220, but it seems to be more about how they feel and what they now can or will soon be able to do.
“Last March, we went to Disney,” Stephanie said. “I want to fit in the rides a little better.”
“My main goal is to get on a roller coaster,” David added.
Reach Dawn Nolan at email@example.com, 304-348-1230 or follow @DawnNolanWV on Twitter.