As I sat down with sisters Lisa Thermen and Stacey Vicari for the final time before Thermen returned to Chicago after eight weeks and unbelievable weight loss, Vicari glowed with pride for her sister.
“Oh Lisa, you look REALLY good,” Vicari said as she flipped through the photos I had just taken of her sister. “I think you need a full body shot in the paper for sure. Sam, at the risk of being high maintenance, I think you need to take a few more of us.”
Despite Vicari’s gushing and my insistence that she really did look different, Thermen was apprehensive to admit she looked great.
“See, I can’t see a difference,” she said.
But the change in her was clear. Having gone shopping for new, smaller clothes a couple days before, she rocked a new pair of crisp, white pants. Now, for all you men out there, understand that not every woman looks good in – or even has the confidence to don – white pants.
“Maybe it wasn’t the best color choice,” Thermen said as we discussed where to set up our photos. But she looked great.
And the numbers don’t lie. Thermen lost 39.4 pounds and went from a size 2XL to an XL on top and a 20 or 18 to a 16 on bottom.
“The weird part is, even losing weight, some sizes in some stores don’t fit and they do in others,” she said.
Although shopping still wasn’t incredibly easy, we agreed that the styles and options for an XL woman are way better than the choices for a 2XL body.
“The problem is – even my sister said this – we were at JC Penney and the size 16 I had on wasn’t fitting. I said maybe we should go upstairs (to the plus-size department),” Thermen recalled. “We got upstairs and she goes, ‘Oh my gosh. You come up here and all the clothes look ugly.’ And it’s the truth.”
“I just think the hanging loose kind of clothes, for me, when I was really overweight, it just encouraged me to keep eating,” Vicari explained. “It’s like, oh it’s spacious it doesn’t matter.”
And despite a few struggles shopping, Thermen labeled it her best day of her journey.
Her worst day? A week and a day after arriving, Thermen’s body stopped cooperating. Eating all raw foods just wasn’t working for her.
“Because of that, anything I had eaten prior to (getting sick) I have kind of an aversion to right now,” Thermen said laughing. “It’s been hard because some of the foods I got sick on were foods I ate all the time before and now the taste makes me sick.”
But, with the help of her sister, Thermen fought through and figured out a way to make Vicari’s diet work for her. By adding grains and beans, Thermen was able to maintain a vegan diet without making herself sick.
With all this talk of healthy foods, I was curious about Vicari’s weight loss story and how she chose the raw path.
“I got to my highest weight after college I think,” Vicari said. “You know, they talk about the Freshmen 15. It was far more than that for me.”
At about 170 pounds, Vicari went vegan 21 years ago primarily for ethical reasons and flipped the switch.
“I took out all meat and dairy and that cleaned so much junk out of my diet and so many unhealthy foods,” she explained. “And then I just kept cleaning it up over the years and just kept gradually improving my diet.”
Now a life coach, Vicari motivates others, like her sister, to lead, what she calls their “Ideal Life.”
Vicari has obviously helped Thermen on her path to leading a more balanced lifestyle and will continue her encouragement for as long as they are in each other’s lives. And, being blood and all, it could be a while.
Check Vicari’s blog for more updates on her sister’s journey back home as well as delicious recipes at www.myideallife.com.