47, Rocky Point
Occupation: He manages a computer networks company
Weight before October 2009: 243
Weight by February 2012: 168
It took a medical scare to finally convince Joe Darmiento that he needed to do something about his weight. "Like most people, my weight has been a battle," Darmiento says. "I'd lose weight and then gain it back." What turned the tide? "My doctor examined me and told me that I would have to take medication for high blood pressure and high cholesterol," Darmiento remembers. "I asked him for one last chance to get my weight down."
Darmiento turned to Weight Watchers, which he knew well. His mother has been a lifelong member of the program.
"I do it online," he says. "I don't attend any meetings." He says he finds Weight Watchers man-friendly. "They've come a long way," says Darmiento, who credits the program with teaching him how to eat healthfully and control portion sizes. "I no longer eat as much as a small village each time I sit down for a meal."
A big advocate of natural, simple foods, he starts out the morning with a green, leafy-vegetable-based shake or a smoothie. He has a salad with protein for lunch, prepared by his wife. Dinner is a reasonable meal shared with his family.
Once sedentary, now he's swimming, going to the gym and has become a devoted runner, even preparing for the Long Island Half Marathon on May 6. "The only running I used to do was from the couch to the refrigerator," he said. "Now, I run 20 miles a week as I prepare for the half-marathon."
He also exercises his fingers as he types updates on Facebook. "I post my exercise daily," he says. "I've gotten so much support there. I love when people write me and say they were going to skip the gym that day until they read my post about what a great workout or run I had."
"If a 47-year-old guy can lose weight and start running half-marathons, anyone can do it," says Darmiento, who ran his first half-marathon in 2011. He says commitment was the important thing, taking that first step. "I'm healthy and so motivated to get out and do more things."