49, East Hampton
Before: 215 (November 2010)
After: 149 (December 2015)
Because Mendez was athletic growing up, she didn’t have a weight problem until after her first and second daughters were born. She gained 40 pounds with her first pregnancy, and that was the starting point of many years of yo-yo weight cycling.
She says her weight fluctuated between 160 and 190 pounds, and she tried “every diet in the world.” Disappointed seeing herself in pictures during a 2012 Costa Rica vacation, Mendez eventually convinced herself to go to Jenny Craig, where she lost 47 pounds. “The food is delicious and it’s an easy plan to follow,” Mendez said. But she says she never really completed the program, where she would have learned how to maintain her weight. A combination of overconfidence, a broken foot, a car accident and moving 30 minutes away from her Jenny Craig office led to a weight gain. Skip to July 2014, when her husband Edgar tells her they’re going on a Caribbean cruise in May 2016 for her 50th birthday. Her response? “I’m not going to the Caribbean heavy.” She went back to Jenny Craig and expects to reach her goal weight of “in the 130s” by next month. “I feel amazing. No more aches and pains . . . and when getting dressed, I can put anything on and it looks good,” she adds.
For breakfast she has Jenny Craig’s French toast, to which she adds her own blueberries. From the Jenny Craig entrees, her lunch can be a Philly cheesesteak, a pizza, or a quesadilla. Dinner can be lasagna, spaghetti and meatballs, a Salisbury steak, or chicken fettuccine. She saves her one daily snack for dessert after dinner, a triple chocolate cheesecake.
Mendez walks 3 to 4 miles two days a week and hits the gym two to three days a week, where she works on circuit machines and an arc trainer (a stationary, non-impact exercise machine).
“You have to do it for yourself, not for anybody else. The way I feel is so much better than anything I’ve ever put in my mouth. I’m so focused on that cruise.”