Real Weight Loss: Sarah and Donald Baum

The father and daughter pair are dropping pounds together.

Sarah and Donald Baum

Sarah and Donald before, and each of them after. Photos provided

Names: Sarah and Donald Baum
Ages: 30 and 63
Locations: Medford and Bolton
Total weight loss: Both lost roughly 100 pounds

When Sarah Baum decided to get bariatric surgery at Emerson Hospital, her father, Donald, offered to go with her to the information session. By the time the pair left the meeting, Donald had decided to undergo the procedure as well.

Sarah, a teacher, had her surgery in October 2014; Donald, a Department of Public Works employee, had his the following April. Since then, the two have been steadily losing weight, dropping about 100 pounds each. But as they lose weight, the Baums have gained something else: a partnership.

“We’ve always had a very close family, but my dad and I haven’t always seen eye to eye on everything,” Sarah says. “He’s a much more positive, happy person [now], and that has kind of snowballed into us finding something in common and finding other things that we can do together. I’ve seen a huge difference in our relationship.”

Donald says the effect goes both ways. “Sarah probably doesn’t realize it as much, but she’s a much happier person, too—and quite a bit easier to get along with,” he says. “It really changes your outlook when you feel so much better.”

Here’s how they’ve kept the pounds off after surgery:


Sarah starts her day with a protein smoothie for breakfast. For her other meals, she tries to stay relatively low-carb, avoiding bread and pasta. A former vegetarian, she’s re-introducing meat into her diet to get her doctor-mandated 60 grams of protein per day. “The majority of my diet consists of fruit, vegetables, and protein,” she says.

Donald has all but eliminated sweets from his diet, and instead focuses on portion control and well-rounded nutrition. “I probably eat less than a third of what I used to, even now,” he says. “If you screw up and kind of fall off the wagon, you feel lousy and want to get right back on. It really is a life-changer.”


Donald’s job keeps him moving, while Sarah relies on daily walks and staying busy in her classroom. Both focus on staying active and feeling their best, rather than on a specific workout regimen.

“It’s not just how you look, it’s how you feel,” Donald says. “That’s what changes the most.”