With a simple “recipe” of a low-calorie diet and an hour of exercise everyday, one Ahwatukee Foothills couple lost more than 130 pounds combined in a year’s time.

Brian and Rhonda Jones committed to a healthier lifestyle in December 2011, after Rhonda was first inspired by a neighbor. Though after consulting with a doctor, she found that a plan for weight loss would serve to help a medical issue.

“I had heart palpitations I didn’t know about, and that really motivated me,” she said.

Rhonda’s condition was treated with medication in addition to the couple’s exercise and diet. After losing her first 20 to 25 pounds, Rhonda’s palpitations stopped. She continued taking heart medication as a precaution, however, and hopes to end treatment next month.

“That was my wake-up call,” said Rhonda, who is also the president of Kyrene de la Sierra’s PTO, where the Jones’ two sons attend school.

Since the couple jumped on board to losing weight and getting healthy, their home cooking changed to exclude heavy sauces, fried and junk food. They also admitted it was the most difficult part about their weight loss journey.

“It was the hardest thing to keep up with, we could do all of the stuff in the gym, but that’s only about 10 percent of the effort,” Rhonda said.

The couple started working out for an hour everyday at the Ahwatukee Foothills Family YMCA, broken up into a half hour of cardio and the other half hour with weight lifting. They also credited a big part of their consistency to using an app for the iPhone that tracked their weight, meals, and exercise.

“Our boys are active in sports, we also didn’t want our old habits to affect them,” Rhonda added.

Taking small steps at a time, the Jones said they began with an idea to lose 10 percent of their starting weight, moving on once they reached that initial goal.

“I really think the support helped,” said Rhonda of Brian’s willingness to join her. “It was great to have him along.”

Brian started out weighing 280 pounds at the end of 2011, and is now about 210 pounds. Rhonda started out at 226 and has since lost more than 60 pounds, putting her at 163 pounds.

“We kept our goals small, and we started seeing the results that kept us going,” Rhonda said.

Now, the couple works out about five or six days a week and maintains the same eating routine along with lots of water and protein shakes.

In the future, they plan on working with a fitness trainer to stay motivated and maintain their healthy weights.

For others wanting to start a health or weight-loss change, Rhonda recommended to see a doctor first, and to “just go for it.”

“Don’t be afraid to get started, and don’t give up,” advised Rhonda. “I’m so glad I didn’t stop.”

Ahwatukee Foothills Family YMCA is located at 1030 E. Liberty Lane.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or dmartinez@ahwatukee.com. Follow on Twitter: @_dianamartinez.

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