Danielle Asher

35, Greenlawn

Occupation Community organizer for social justice through the Long Island Progressive Coalition

Height 5-foot-3

226 weight before May 2010

147 weight by February 2012

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Asher had always battled her weight, but after a traumatizing few years, things really got out of whack. "My father, my biggest supporter, died suddenly of colon cancer," Asher says. "Then, I was diagnosed with narcolepsy. And, at age 30, I was raped."

She says these events triggered a sort of multiyear feeding frenzy in her basement apartment. "I turned to food," Asher says. "Part of the problem is that there isn't a food that I don't like." Asher remembers regularly cooking dinner with a stick or more of butter. "I would cook tilapia in a stick of butter and then cook the accompanying broccoli in another stick of butter. Looking back on it, it was disgusting."

Although she had family and friends who mentioned her weight, it took a co-worker to help her see how bad things had gotten. "I told her how I was feeling emotionally," Asher remembers. "She suggested that I do an action plan for myself like we do at work."

Asher's action plan included walking at lunchtime and going to the Weight Watchers meeting around the corner from her apartment. After a post-meeting conversation with a counselor, she chose to attend the Sunday meeting with many members who had lost 100 pounds or more.

"I loved it there," says Asher, who has 6 pounds to go to reach her goal. "It was like a family. I've never looked back."


Vegetables, healthy grains such as quinoa and brown rice, and fish. "I love sushi," Asher says. She also has yogurt every morning for breakfast and has incorporated raw food into her diet. "I hardly ever use butter now," she says.


After years of being sedentary, Asher regularly runs, practices Bikram yoga and boxes. And she also works out at home.

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She believes that you first have to forgive yourself, then learn to love yourself. She has a tattoo on her arm of a quote from Mahatma Ghandi: "Be the change you wish to see in the world." She says to pay attention to your body. "Only eat until you're satisfied," Asher says. "When you're full, stop eating. And keep moving."