Janine Schwartz, 51, Tampa
STARTING WEIGHT: 175
CURRENT WEIGHT: 115
WHY I DID IT: I have always weighed between 125 and 130. Though I always wanted to get lower, my physician said I was within the correct weight range for my height. In 2011, I noticed my clothes getting a little tighter. Not wanting to deal with gaining a few pounds, I simply bought new clothes and stopped weighing myself. I thought I gained 10 to 15 pounds. I kept thinking I could take it off whenever I wanted and would do so "next week."
In August 2011, my husband and I went to Alaska, and I had to be weighed to take a helicopter ride up to the glaciers, I didn't want to look at the scale. I almost cried when a worker said, "She weighs 175 pounds."
I returned home and ate out of disgust. On Sept. 15, 2011, I was sitting on the couch eating an ice cream when I just looked down at myself and declared, "I don't like the way I look." I threw out the ice cream, and my quest for a size 2 began.
HOW I DID IT: When my son was younger, he was morbidly obese. I learned the sports he participated in didn't help; they did not increase his heart rate for at least 20 minutes. I couldn't find a gym that would take a child, and workout videos were geared to adults, so I developed two exercise videos for children. My son did great monitoring his diet and doing this exercise program.
He exercised to the videos three to five times a week and lost 20 pounds in three months. Remembering my son's success and how much I enjoyed doing the videos, I started to exercise to the 30-minute videos with warm-ups, aerobics, floor exercises and cool downs. They are approved by several hospitals and school systems, and most of all, they were productive.
In less than five months, I was down to 115 pounds and a size 0! Of course I had revised my diet. I'm a chocoholic, and I denounced all sweets and started eating fruit. No, it wasn't the same, but it helped me stay on course. I ate whatever I wanted (in moderation) except sweets, including pizza, bagels, etc. I realized how much I like food that is really good for you, like fish and chicken. I had been too busy eating sweets for dinner and I didn't realize that healthy foods taste good, too.
It has been two years and I am proud to say I still weigh 115 pounds.
HURDLES: During the holidays, I drooled over desserts, but I told myself I could have something at the next party. When I went home, the temptation was behind me. I told my husband that I skipped the treats and how good I felt. It felt even better when he said he was proud of me. I did the same at all events that had sweets.
GOING THE DISTANCE: Now that I have reaped my reward, I allow myself treats. Once a week, I go out to eat and order whatever I want, including dessert. If it is nice, I might go out for an hour and walk to compensate. Every month or so I might buy a fudge cake and have a SMALL piece every night until it is gone. I no longer sit down with a cake and a fork. I continue to do the videos one or two times a week. I walk my dogs for a half-hour every night. I weigh myself every Sunday. If I've gained a pound or two, I might go out for an extra walk, go on the treadmill for a half- hour or do the video an extra time. I never allow myself to gain more than 5 pounds. I don't like to weigh myself more than once a week. Naturally your weight goes up and down throughout the day and I don't want to become a fanatic.
BEST ADVICE: I hated it when someone said, "If I can do it, you can do it." It is not easy. I never knew I had it in me to be so focused and have so much willpower. You have to dig deep down and decide what your priorities are. I believe if you will do only one thing, it should be exercise. I think if you diet and don't exercise, you won't be successful. The best solution is to do both. To keep it off, throw out your "fat" clothes. As cheap as I am, I would not buy new clothes if my new size 0 clothes got tight.
I Lost It is a regular feature highlighting individual weight loss success stories and does not reflect the opinions of 4you, which encourages you to work with a physician or a nutritionist before starting a diet. To share your story, visit TBO.com, search Lost It; or email firstname.lastname@example.org; or mail to 4you, The Tampa Tribune, 202 S. Parker St., Tampa FL 33606.