Dropping Pounds: Kelly Espitia

Kelly Espitia, 34, of Great Neck, lost 124 Kelly Espitia, 34, of Great Neck, lost 124 pounds on Weight Watchers, going from 271 to 147. Her tip for successful weight loss? "Don't get discouraged if you don't lose 6 pounds the first week," Espitia says. "I gained weight my first week. As long as you're doing what you're supposed to do, the weight will come off." Photo Credit: Handout; Newsday / J. Conrad Williams, Jr.

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HER STORY After a lifetime of being overweight, Kelly Espitia said she had the aches and pains of old age despite being only 28.

"I would get winded walking up a flight or two of stairs," Espitia remembers. "I had the stamina of a dead horse."

She credits a lifetime of carbs for part of the problem.

"I'm Latina and much of my life was centered around food," she says of family celebrations, big family meals and other food-focused activities. "Food was always there. I never learned to have a healthy relationship with food."

She says it was a co-worker's success that convinced her to join Weight Watchers.

"I was nervous, reluctant, scared when I walked in the office," Espitia remembers. "My first week, I gained weight. I wasn't doing what I was supposed to do. I hadn't changed my mindset."

Espitia says she spent the early part of the program learning to change her behaviors and how not to self-sabotage.

"I no longer bring certain trigger foods into the house," Espitia says. "I love salty food, sweet foods. Now, if I really want to have some chips or ice cream, I pay the extra money to have the single-serving size. And, I plan in advance for the treat."

She says she's learned to have control over food, rather than allowing food to control her.

DIET After a lifetime of eating white, starchy, processed carbs and anything out of a box, Espitia tries to eat mostly fresh and natural foods. She also eats lots of proteins.

"I eat a more low-carb, high-protein diet," she says.

Breakfast often is a couple of egg whites and one whole egg, with the addition of avocado or chicken breast and coffee with half & half. Lunch is vegetables with a lean protein. She snacks on a protein shake with additives like spinach and banana. Following her daily workout, she has a high-protein snack such as nuts. Dinner is usually a large salad with a lean protein.

EXERCISE She has gone from no exercise to an hourlong boot camp workout six days a week.

ADVICE "Don't get discouraged if you don't lose 6 pounds the first week," Espitia says. "I gained weight my first week. As long as you're doing what you're supposed to do, the weight will come off."

Kelly Espitia

35, Great Neck

Occupation: Legal assistant at a law firm

Height: 5-foot-4

271 Weight before April, 2007

147 Weight after Dec. 16, 2013

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