HER STORY "I started ballooning when I was 9 or 10 years old and kept ballooning until my 20s," says Jamie Lynn Granelle of her lifelong battle with weight.
Granelle, a banker who is also attending nursing school, says her busy schedule contributed to her weight problems. It was always easier to grab a slice of pizza than to sit down for a salad, she says.
"I was learning about all these diseases at the hospital and seeing all these things obese people were going through," Granelle says.
She says the turning point was the night she dreamed she was dying of diabetes. "The next morning, I woke up and decided it was time to change my life," Granelle remembers.
Granelle says making things work with her schedule and dietary changes was the hardest part. "I suddenly was counting and weighing everything, every potato chip," says Granelle, who uses the MyFitnessPal app on her phone to track her calorie intake and exercise.
After a lifetime of obesity, Granelle is experiencing a world of new things.
"The first time I placed a napkin on my lap, I started laughing," Granelle remembers. "I had never known what that was for. My breasts formed a shelf where the food fell. Every day, I experience things that slender people take for granted."
DIET She breakfasts on Special K or oatmeal with flaxseed and coconut milk. She snacks on fruit or yogurt. Lunch is often a salad with low-salt cold cuts or chicken. Dinner is a lean protein such as chicken or fish, or the occasional steak.
"From what I've learned in school and from what I read, it says to keep your metabolism working you should be snacking every one to two hours," Granelle says.
EXERCISE "I started walking one mile a day, and by August I was up to four miles a day with intermittent running," Granelle says. She now runs three to five miles at least three times a week.
ADVICE "I lost the weight very quickly, 70 pounds in four months," says Granelle, who adds that the support of family and friends was vital to her success. "That's what kept me going. There were times when I'd cry because I wanted a cheeseburger just that much, but I didn't want to let anyone down. I had to see it through."
Jamie Lynn Granelle
30, Deer Park
Occupation: Banker and nursing student
293 Weight before April 16, 2012
183 Weight after Aug. 22, 2013