HIS STORY James Calderon struggled with his weight most of his life, going up and down as he'd try different weight-loss strategies.

"I'd diet and exercise some, drop some weight and then have it come right back after I quit dieting," Calderon says. "I actually became vegetarian, and that's when I shot up to 240 pounds because I was eating a lot of the wrong things."

Those "wrong" things included a lot of carbs -- wheat, pasta, breads and rice.

"It was when I learned about fasting, detoxing and acidity and how to keep the body pH more alkaline that I began to drop the weight," Calderon remembers.

"I read books and took herbal and nutrition classes," says Calderon, who offers all he's learned to others as a volunteer life coach. "I don't tell people what to eat or what not to eat. I just want to help people learn to eat better."

He sticks to mostly fruits and vegetables, essential oils and lean proteins such as nuts and legumes.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

"If you're going to eat meat, think of it as a treat, not as the bulk of your meal," Calderon advises.

DIET He starts most days on an intermittent fast that includes distilled water with lemon juice or other natural juices. He has his first meal of the day between noon and 3 p.m. If he is feeling particularly hungry on a fasting day, he'll start with a vegetable or fruit smoothie.

He breaks his fast with an apple or berries, followed by a large, raw salad.

Later in the day, he'll have cooked vegetables with walnuts, almonds or another protein. He uses either balsamic or raw apple cider vinegar with extra-virgin olive oil as a dressing.

"You want to find things that you enjoy and that keep your metabolism working]," says Calderon, who encourages people to eat what they like but consider including healthier choices.

EXERCISE He does 20-25 minutes of stretching exercises and yoga two to three days a week.

ADVICE "Think about what you're putting on your plate," says Calderon. "Then think about what you're putting in your mouth. You should really enjoy every bite that you put in your mouth."

James Calderon

35, Freeport

Occupation: Business solutions sales and life coaching

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Height: 5-foot-11

240 Weight before September 2007

158 Weight after July 19, 2013