- Associated Press - Saturday, January 10, 2015

WHEELING, W.Va. (AP) - Chester and Heather Bise have eaten more fresh fruits and vegetables in the past year than they did in the previous 13 years they have been together.

A radical lifestyle change-including calorie conscious eating and daily workouts at the gym- have transformed the couples’ looks and lives.

Chester, 46, an Ohio County deputy sheriff, has dropped half of his body weight, going from 335 to 175 pounds in 18 months. Heather, 43, has trimmed down from 260 to 158 lbs. They lost 160 and 102 pounds, respectively.

The extra weight temporarily crippled Chester’s law enforcement career and limited his wardrobe options.

“I got passed over twice because I could not pass the mandatory physical agility test,” he said. “I also got tired of shopping in the big and tall sections of the clothing stores.”

Chester’s obesity presented more problems in his life than clothing and agility. In September 2012, he learned his body sugar readings were more than 300.

“Even after being diagnosed with diabetes, it did not sink in,” he said. “I was on two medications when my insurance coverage changed and I learned it would not cover my prescriptions. I decided at that time that I was not going to pay for medicine if there was any other means to treat it.”

He soon learned that diabetes can be treated and even cured with healthy eating and a consistent exercise plan.

“We used to go the gym and workout, then go the pizza shop and pig out,” he said. “Now we work at being healthy.”

He no longer has diabetes and he takes no prescription drugs.

Heather, who joined the weight loss effort a few months after her husband, said she talked to a dietitian.

“She said we needed a lifestyle change, not a diet,” she said.

The couple watched their weights zoom up over the 14 years since they married, so they became their own support group.

“We put it on together,” Heather Bise said. “And, we took it off together. I got a new husband without getting a divorce.”

Chester credits much of their success to a cellphone app called “My Fitness Pal.” It has the tools to keep a diary of daily calorie intake and exercise.

The diet part of Chester and Heather’s lifestyle change allows them to eat much of the same foods as they did before, but in smaller portions.

“We weigh everything to make sure it is within the allotted calorie count,” he said. “Our meat consumption is limited to venison, turkey and chicken.”

Heather points to fresh fruits and vegetable as a major source of their nourishment.

“We have eaten more fruits and vegetable in the past year than we did in all the years we have been together,” she said. “Fresh fruits satisfy our cravings for sweets.”

Chester said they are able to fill up on less calories when with fruit and veggies.

“We also substitute a lot of foods, like cracker chips rather than potato chips,” he said.

The Bises are pleased with the way they look and feel.

“People tell us we look 10 years younger,” Heather said. “We also feel 10 years younger.”

They both attribute their new look and life to leading a more active lifestyle with lots of hiking, walking and enjoying the outdoors.

Chester has been at his target weight for three months and is now working to maintain it. Heather wants to shed another 5-10 pounds.

He also has since passed the agility test-and he is medicine free.

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Information from: The Intelligencer, http://www.theintelligencer.net

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