Joseph Ardito

41, Farmingdale

Occupation Bricklayer

Height 5-foot-9


June 6, 2012 364

advertisement | advertise on newsday

AFTER Aug. 22, 2013 257

HIS STORY While being his own boss might have been good for his wallet, it didn't do much for his waistline.

"I started putting on weight in my 20s, and then owned my own business in my 30s and didn't do the physical work anymore," Joseph Ardito says.

"My wife wasn't a big eater, so I'd end up eating more than half of the appetizer and desserts," says Ardito, who would dine out as many as three times a week. "It also was the food I was choosing, things cooked in butter, things with sauces."

He eventually went back in the field, but 100 pounds heavier. The final straw was when he had a severe gallstone attack. "I thought I was having a heart attack and went to the hospital," Ardito says.

His doctor recommended Lap-Band surgery, but Ardito refused. Instead, he joined Weight Watchers.

"They teach you how to eat right and you don't have to give up the foods you love," Ardito says. He also says the group support is helpful. "They're like a second family to me now."

DIET Ardito remembers starting his day with an egg sandwich and a bagel, then having another egg sandwich as a snack, along with a hero for lunch. But not anymore.

He now eats an egg white sandwich or a turkey sandwich for breakfast. He brings yogurt and fruit as a snack. Lunch is lean meat on whole-wheat toast, cottage cheese with fruit or a salad. He also eats a Weight Watchers snack in the afternoon. Dinner is usually a lean protein with vegetables, a baked potato or rice.

"When we go out to eat once a week, I allow for eating out. If I don't have the points for the item I want, I'll make a different choice within the points I do have."

advertisement | advertise on newsday

EXERCISE He doesn't go to the gym because his work is physical. "I go from 7 until 5, five days a week," Ardito says. "You're lifting bricks, going up and down scaffolding. Maybe I'll go for a walk to add a little extra exercise, but pretty much the work I do is my exercise."

ADVICE "Just keep focused and stick with your program," Ardito says. "I've had weeks when I gained weight but would just get through it and start again the next week."