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Published January 03, 2013, 11:34 PM

Holt: Moorhead couple lose combined 140 pounds

MOORHEAD – “Huge Bon Jovi fan” Alie Farren splurged a little extra on second-row tickets for her 10th Bon Jovi concert, which include a pre-show party and a tour of the stage.

By: Meredith Holt, INFORUM

MOORHEAD – “Huge Bon Jovi fan” Alie Farren splurged a little extra on second-row tickets for her 10th Bon Jovi concert, which include a pre-show party and a tour of the stage.

“I realized after I bought them that before, I would never have done that. I would have thought I wasn’t good enough,” she says.

Over the past few years, the 26-year-old Moorhead woman with “BONJOVI” license plates lost about 50 pounds and gained a better sense of self-worth in the process.

Throughout middle school and high school in Hankinson, N.D., Alie was “one of those kids that you hate that can eat anything.”

Weight didn’t become a problem for her until college.

“In college, I really had blinders on. I didn’t want to realize how bad of a problem I had until it was a battle every morning to get on a pair of jeans,” she says.

When she and her 24-year-old husband, Joel, got engaged in March 2008, she decided it was time to face it.

“Nobody wants to be an overweight bride, and that’s when I really started to try to make those changes,” she says.

At her heaviest, Alie weighed 206 pounds and wore a size 16/18.

“Just seeing that number above 200 really freaked me out,” she says.

A fit co-worker who served as her role model and a growing obsession with “The Biggest Loser” helped Alie get started, and she lost 10 pounds by their wedding in June 2009.

“My husband was bigger, too. He’d been bigger his entire life. Both of us were bigger at our wedding, so I didn’t feel so bad being a bigger bride because my groom was bigger, too,” she says.

One of their first diet and exercise struggles was over wheat bread. Alie was adamant that they switch to wheat, but Joel resisted the change at first.

“That’s one thing I’ve been really stubborn about: I’m not going to eat white bread!” she says.

She was, however, hesitant to try any kind of weight-loss “program.”

That is, until she saw Valerie Bertinelli’s bubbly Jenny Craig commercials. There was something about them that spoke to her.

“For me, it was that face-to-face accountability that I needed,” she says.

Alie hasn’t missed a meeting with her Jenny Craig consultant, whom she calls her “cheerleader big sister,” since her first day, June 1, 2011.

By that time, she’d worked with a personal trainer for a while and seen some results, but she wasn’t focusing as much as she wanted to on her diet.

“The food’s always been a struggle for me. I didn’t realize how much of a struggle it was until I got a trainer, and I wasn’t losing as fast as I wanted to, but I was still losing inches and I was gaining muscle,” she says.

Alie started the meal plan cautiously, but once she made it through the first week, she promised herself, “This is the food I’m going to eat.”

“The fact that I had spent money on it kind of helped me stick to it more,” she says.

The self-described picky eater says she’s done well with the Jenny Craig meals.

“You don’t realize how sick you used to feel until you start to feel good. Even now, if I eat something ‘off’ or I have an ‘off’ day, I can feel it right away,” she says.

Alie’s weight-loss journey hasn’t been without obstacle.

In April 2012, she and her husband went on a weeklong Caribbean cruise for their delayed honeymoon.

“What do you do on those things? You eat and drink! I gained 10 pounds that week, and my husband gained 10, too,” she says.

Both husband and wife have struggled to get back on track, but they support and encourage each other when they can, and they share in the other’s successes.

Alie says Joel weighed close to 300 pounds at his heaviest, and his extended family only knew him as “fat Joel.”

During a holiday visit last year, they received a shock when they met the new slimmed-down Joel, who’d lost about 90 pounds.

“I fell more in love with him, if that’s possible, seeing what he can accomplish, and knowing that he’s worked just as hard as I have, and it’s something that we’ve really worked on together,” Alie says.

Do you have a weight-loss story to tell? Email me at mholt@forumcomm.com.

Forum reporter Meredith Holt has lost 105 pounds since May 2010. She will share stories of her weight-loss journey in her column, which runs the first and third Friday of each month in SheSays. Readers can reach her at (701) 241-5590.