Vitals Vernette Vergara, 30, San Antonio, TX 
Occupation Office Administrator 
Height 5'5" 
Time required to reach goal 1 year, 5 months 
Lesson learned Take your time. "For long-term results, you need to make long-term changes." 
Secret weapon A doggie bag. "I ask for a to-go box with every meal, and before my first bite, I wrap up half so I'm not tempted to overeat." 
Weight Before 210 
Weight After 140 

The Gain
Vernette was a big eater as a kid. In college, she ate out often, polishing off huge portions. "I was eating two or three times the amount a person should," she says. In 2004 she hit 210 pounds and hovered there for three years. She also was plagued by high cholesterol and chest pains. 

The Change
At the end of 2007, Vernette was hit with a double whammy: She and her husband divorced, and she was laid off from her job as a mortgage processor. Though devastated, she says she saw it as an opportunity: "I was tired of feeling sorry for myself. I wanted to change. And I could change every time I ate." 

The Lifestyle
Vernette started by cutting portions in half. "I can still eat what I want and not feel deprived," she says. She cooked instead of going out, traded fried foods for steamed vegetables, and satisfied her sweet tooth with bits of dark chocolate and dried fruit instead of nutritional zeros like pastries. In a few months, she was down to about 175 pounds and started going to a gym. As a kid, Vernette couldn't finish a lap around the track; now she plugged away on the treadmill, building speed and endurance. A few weeks later, she added weights to her workouts, and by the end of the summer of 2008, she was doing yoga and Pilates, too. That fall, she got to 140 pounds—less than she weighed in middle school. 

The Reward
Vernette didn't lose just weight; she lost baggage too. Her health problems disappeared, she landed a great job at an investment firm, and she started dating a competitive cyclist. "Surrounding myself with people who feed my energy is how I stay happy and healthy." 

Vernette's Tips
Make produce a priority. "Have fruits and veggies with every meal, and eat them first." 

Adopt a mantra. "Mine was 'I'm stronger than ever.'" 

Choose smart subs. "I liked milk but worried about the fat, so I switched to skim." 

About The Author

Founder of BeMozza

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