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Downtown twins lose 100 pounds, bring others into healthy lifestyle

Two twin sisters losing a collective 100 pounds over one year is a strong achievement, but that was hardly the end of Marlene Elliott and Renee Danenberg’s weight-loss odyssey.

The 57-year-olds’ health quest now includes friends, relatives and merchants, all of whom were attracted to their drive for health and support of others trying to shed some pounds. They have even spurred one restaurant owner to develop a weight-loss healthy menu.

“When I moved up here, (1998) we gained a lot of weight,” Marlene said. “We were feeling sluggish and unhealthy” by 2007.



So last March, they decided to join the Weight Watchers’ Tuesday class in Grass Valley to lose some pounds and spend one day a week together.

After the class, the Nevada County sisters made a day of it by shopping in downtown Grass Valley and having lunch at Kane’s Fine Foods restaurant. Little did they know that they would become pied pipers for health.




“They were always cautious with what they ate,” said restaurant owner John Kane. “They sat at the counter, where they could talk with the chefs.”

Soon, the sisters had Kane intrigued by their dedication and verve.

“They really inspired me,” to join Weight Watchers,” Kane said. “I was 298 when I joined and now I’m down 30 pounds in 40 weeks and I want to go down 40 more.”

Kane soon realized that going out to eat was going to be more of a challenge, because most menus don’t include many low calorie items. So Kane began experimenting with low-cal dishes he served the twins.

“He’d feed us these beautiful meals and we’d say ‘We still lost weight,'” Marlene said.

It eventually led to Kane developing a special menu of “Heart Healthy Meals,” for all of his customers that he will unveil next Tuesday.

The twins health kick has now been passed on by Kane to his significant other, Maria Ramos, owner of Maria’s Mexican Restaurant down the street. Joining them in Weight Watchers are two of Kane’s chefs.

“We all eat very healthy every day,” Kane said. “When you have somebody with you it’s a fellowship and you help each other. It makes it a lot easier to stay on it.”

Support is one of the major components” of weight loss for Renee.

“It’s not just the support of our family,” she said. “Every Tuesday when we shop around town, the merchants are so supportive of us.

“The world in general is supportive right now,” Renee said. “Never has it been so easy to get foods that are good for you.”

“Our purpose is to be healthy and live a long time,” Marlene said. “Once you hit 56, you realize you have to do something,” if you’re overweight. “I’ve lost 60 pounds, but I want to lose 40 more.”

Now Renee’s son and his buddies have joined a gym to get in shape, spurred by the twins’ experience, she said.

“The support is like a karma thing, it goes around and around,” she said.

So what’s the secret to starting weight loss?

“There’s no secret, you just have to care about yourself,” Renee said. “You’ve just got to do it, today and tomorrow.”

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To contact Senior Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail dmoller@theunion.com or call 477-4237.


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