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That clicking sound herald's change, cheers us on

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'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Joanne Barron
Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

My daughter is determined to lose weight this year.

As she continues to fill me in on her struggles along the way — turning down pizza, eating only a small salad for lunch, learning to cook the low-fat, healthy way and exercising to a Beyoncé video — I feel optimistic that the certain something that clicks in people's heads when they really decide to make a change will happen for her.

It made me reminisce about my own “click” about 25 years ago. There was a time when my weight had ballooned to about 170 pounds on my 5-foot-4 frame.

About that same time, my best friend was getting married.

When we were growing up, my friend always had been heavier and had worn a larger dress size than I did. I found out that had changed.

When I went to try on a bridesmaid gown, I found out my dress size far surpassed not only my friend's but everyone else's in the wedding. I never have been skinny, but it was the biggest I had ever been.

Something clicked.

I told myself that day that by the time the wedding came along, I was going to be half that size.

I began going to aerobics classes at the YMCA and following a strict diet — never forgetting my goal. Three months later, it was time to go back to the dress shop.

As the lady was helping me to try on the dress, we had a conversation I never have forgotten.

“Why did you let them order you a dress that's so big?” she asked.

“Because I was that big,” I said with a giggle.

“Wow,” she said with a shake of her head. “You're half as big!”

Since then, I have lost more weight, become an aerobics instructor and even have run a marathon. I have maintained a 45-pound weight loss for all those years.

I just told my daughter that story because she recently found out she, too, soon will be a bridesmaid for her best friend, who she has known since the second grade.

Maybe when her friend gets married, she'll have to have her dress altered, as well, and that “click” will be heard once again.

Joanne Barron is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-324-1406 or

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