Yvette M. Thomas
53, Bay Shore
Occupation Works in purchasing at Stony Brook University Hospital
203 Weight before December 2010
148 Weight by April 2012
Despite battling her weight since age 13, it took Yvette Thomas' grandchildren to inspire her to get healthy. "I loved fried chicken, chocolate cake, bacon, grits," says Thomas, who struggled with Type 2 diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol. "I liked all the yummy stuff."
Thomas, who has temporary custody of four grandchildren -- ages 8, 5, 3 and 1 -- knew she had to take better care of herself for them. "I became a diabetic about 14 years ago," says Thomas, who also quit drinking liquor and soda to help improve her health. "My sugar was out of control."
She turned to the Internet for help, finding the Calorie Tracker app for the iPhone. "I put in my weight and how much weight I wanted to lose," Thomas says of the app that also allowed her to monitor her food intake and exercise. "It became like a bible to me."
Now that she's in maintenance mode, Thomas keeps track of everything in her head. "I pretty much know how many calories something is after tracking it for so long," says Thomas, who says she teaches healthy eating habits to her grandchildren.
Thomas usually lunches on a Lean Pocket and a salad. Dinner is either a chicken tostada, one of her favorite things, or a reasonable portion of whatever she fixes for her grandchildren.
With four children in her care, Thomas has learned how to fit things in. "I start my day with 50 sit-ups by hanging my legs off the end of the bed and sitting up," Thomas says.
Her major exercise is at work. "I get there before anyone else and set the microwave for one minute and run the hall." She continues her one-minute plan by doing a minute each of jumping jacks, then side bends and finishes with a combo of waist twists and push-ups. "Then, I do leg bends in my cubicle," Thomas says.
"Exercise first thing in the morning," Thomas says. "There are so many things you can do in the morning when you're fresh. At the end of the day, there's so much tugging at you."
She also says that exercise doesn't have to take a long time, as her minute-of-this and minute-of-that philosophy proves. "If you do it every day, you can do a little at a time and get there."