HER STORY An avid softball player through her senior year in high school, Brianne Dorato never worried about her weight or what she ate. Then an injury and resulting back surgery ended her career. In the two years following the surgery in 2007, she put on 100 pounds and stopped being her outgoing self.
"It was a whole new thing to gain weight," says Dorato, who is engaged and is to marry in February. "I was always big because of the muscles from playing softball, but I was never overweight."
The excess pounds changed her life. She no longer enjoyed getting together with old friends, or even making new ones.
"After I gained weight, when I walked into a room I always thought people were staring at me thinking how heavy I was," says Dorato, who also had to consider her family's health history.
"Diabetes runs in my family," she says. "I wanted to be healthy for myself and for my family. I also knew I didn't want to be overweight when we started trying to have a family."
She joined the Health Management Resources weight-loss program at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola that includes meal-replacement shakes.
DIET She has four weight-loss shakes with added fruit a day. Dinner, her only solid meal, consists of a lean protein and vegetables. She says she doesn't snack. After losing 25 more pounds, Dorato says she will taper off the shakes and return to all solid food.
EXERCISE After years of inactivity, she now does 60 minutes a day of cardio on the elliptical machine. She also does a private boot camp on Sundays.
ADVICE "No matter how heavy or uncomfortable you are with your body, you have to find the motivation to lose weight," Donato says. "I woke up one day and said this is the day I want my life back."
24, East Meadow
Occupation: Medical secretary at Winthrop-University Hospital
301 Weight before November 2012
181 Weight after October 2013