BROOKE KOENIG, 26, Franklin Square
OCCUPATION: Works in sales for Stark Carpet
WEIGHT BEFORE: 205 (April 2011)
WEIGHT AFTER: 148 (May 2012)
HER STORY Being unable to fit into her clothing or shop at her favorite places was the wake-up call for Koenig.
"I was with my husband on a trip to Florida to visit his dad," says Koenig, who lost 57 pounds with the help of a nutritionist. "It killed me. I wouldn't even take off my cover-up on the beach."
The embarrassment was the least of her problems. She had high cholesterol and feared other medical problems would creep up on her as the weight had.
She turned to a nutritionist who tailored a dietary plan to her specific needs and tastes. "I'm a picky eater," says Koenig, who first tried Weight Watchers. "The packaged diet foods are horrible because of all the salt. My nutritionist asked me what I liked and had me keep a food journal."
With this research in hand, she and the nutritionist crafted a program for Koenig. For example, she loves pizza, so the nutritionist suggested the grandma-style pizza that has less crust and cheese and more vegetables.
"She taught me to make healthier choices. I feel so healthy and beautiful," says Koenig. "I feel like the old me again."
DIET While she was losing weight, Koenig ate five to six small meals a day. "I'd start with a protein shake with fruit and yogurt," says Koenig, who ate healthful snacks such as nuts and grapes between meals.
She also ate tuna and lots of turkey, vegetables and fruit. "At least half my plate was vegetables," Koenig says. "While I was losing, I had to keep eating to keep my metabolism working." Koenig says portion control also was key to her success.
EXERCISE She goes to the gym three to four times a week. She also does yoga and bikes with her husband. "I completed a 75-mile bike tour last summer," Koenig says. "I hope to ride the century [100 miles] this summer and am training for a triathlon."
ADVICE "Even if you have one bad day, each day is a new start," says Koenig, who added that by eating right and balancing carbs and proteins, the weight came off at a steady pace.
"As long as you're doing the right thing and sticking to a plan, you will be successful and lose weight," Koenig says. "Find the healthiest diet for you and stick to it."