For many, weight loss means health, happiness, respect and a new wardrobe.
For Kim and Tom Nicholson, it's all that and celebrity too.
The Riverview couple, along with sons Carson, 9, and Kyler, 7, began the new year featured in People magazine's "Half their Size" issue of Jan. 11.
A few days later, they appeared on the Today show, where they were interviewed by co-hosts Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb.
"I was so nervous, they asked us how long we'd been married and I couldn't remember," said Kim, a 39-year-old homemaker.
Chances are, the TV audience was too focused on her amazing transformation from 285 to a svelte 133 pounds to even notice her momentary lapse of memory.
That's a 152-pound weight loss — more than half her starting weight. "People I haven't seen for a while don't recognize me," she said.
Once he saw Kim's success, husband Tom got in on the incredible shrinking act too, dropping an even 100 pounds.
They did it all without diet drugs or surgery.
Kim can't remember a time she wasn't "on the chunky side.'' But with her two pregnancies, the weight poured on. She has tried all kinds of diets — cabbage soup, Nutrisystem, Weight Watchers, Atkins and other low-carb plans. She even saw a nutritionist.
It was January 2008 when Kim decided to give Weight Watchers another try.
"I was tired of feeling tired," Kim said. She was on high blood pressure medication and pre-diabetic.
There was the emotional facet too. "I was worried my children's friends would make fun of me," she said.
She recalled one humiliating experience at an amusement park when she was pulled out of the line at a roller coaster ride to see if the seat belt would fit.
These days, she's confident and in control of her eating habits.
"I love Weight Watchers because it's very easy and not a diet," she said. "There are no forbidden foods."
The program works by assigning point values to food. Participants are given a certain amount of points per day, with more points awarded to those who exercise.
"I eat a lot of salmon and actually crave fruits and vegetables now," she said.
Typically, she may have an omelet for breakfast and a grilled chicken patty on a whole wheat bun for lunch. Dinner is a usually lean meat with vegetables and a salad.
For snacks, she turns to fat-free popcorn or low-cal frozen treats.
"I feel so much better, it's amazing," Kim said.
The couple exercise religiously too; their elliptical machine at home has been getting quite a workout. Recently, they ran a 5K race.
Kim favors resistance bands and exercise DVDs like Slim in 6 and The Firm. She also takes a Zumba class at a community center.
She rewards herself by buying chic and trendy clothes that look great on her size 6 body.
Tom, 40, lifts weights and does calisthenics.
"It became a mission," said Tom, a sales representative for a construction equipment company.
Helping to motivate him was a family history of chronic health problems, including the fact that his brother died at age 40 from a heart attack.
He was on four medications for his Type 2 diabetes and facing the prospect of daily insulin shots. He drank a gallon of diet soda a day to wash down the sweets and "cheesy, greasy high-carb foods'' he loved.
Today, he's off the meds, and "no longer considered diabetic," he said.
Though Tom didn't officially join Weight Watchers, he follows the program under Kim's guidance.
"I like it because you can choose what you want to eat as long as you stay within the calorie range," he said. "If you constantly deprive yourself, you're going to fall off the wagon."
The couple has even selected a joint "cheat day."
While Kim enjoys the way clothes look on her now, Tom said losing weight was a great career move.
"When you're in sales, being overweight can adversely affect you. Now, the respect is at a whole new level," he said.