Who: Walter Priestley, 47
Weight before: 265 (Feb. 2008)
Weight after: 225 (April 2009)
His story: When Walter Priestley and his wife decided to have children, his wife was not the only one who gained some baby weight.
The chiropractor's lifelong healthy habits went out the window, and he packed on 50 pounds. After his third child was born, Priestley applied for life insurance. The broker told him because of his weight, he would have to pay a higher rate.
"I did not want to be dead -- and I certainly did not want to pay more life insurance," said Priestley, of Farmingdale.
What he eats: Priestley dropped 30 pounds in just six weeks by eating a highly structured diet. He had six small meals a day of high protein, mostly soy protein shakes and bars, and low carbs. All of his food was pre-made by a weight-loss program, Take Shape for Life.
After the six weeks, "I went back to regular food, but healthier." He now has egg whites for breakfast, salads every day for lunch, and meat with green vegetables for dinner. Also, Priestley joined an organic farm co-op and stocked his fridge at work with healthy snacks.
Workouts: While he was dropping the first 30 pounds, Priestly did not exercise because the diet change was challenging enough, he said. However, losing weight was the easy part. Priestly knew that keeping it off would be a whole lot harder.
In April last year, he decided to compete in the Tobay Triathlon in Oyster Bay. "My wife humored me, my friends laughed," he said. "That only fired me up."
Priestley became hooked on exercise and endorphins, swimming and biking five days a week. He lost 10 more pounds. In August, he finished the triathlon in the middle of the field with a time of 1 hour, 33 minutes.
Final thoughts: "The most surefire way to improve your life is do vigorous exercise for at least 40 minutes every morning."