Lisa Saladino says her weight problem started when she was about 7, and it continued into her adult life. At age 25, she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.

“I couldn’t go on heavy-duty drugs because I wanted to have kids, so they put me on prednisone. Between the prednisone and my poor eating habits I gained lot of weight,” says Saladino.

A year after the birth of her third son she went off prednisone and started a different course of medication. At a subsequent visit to her cardiologist, she was told that if she wanted to see her sons graduate and get married, she needed to lose weight. At her doctor’s recommendation, she started seeing a nutritionist and began a low-carb eating regimen that included having several small meals a day. It made all the difference in the world.

She lost 60 pounds and then plateaued for a while. After hip replacement surgery in 2014 she started running and dropped nearly 40 more pounds.

To date, Saladino has lost 126 pounds. “I can go on amusement park rides now. I love being with my kids and not being embarrassed,” she says.

Saladino has two fried eggs with a slice of Swiss cheese and a cup of coffee for breakfast. A low-carb protein shake suffices for lunch. Dinner is chicken or pork stir fried with lots of vegetables. She snacks on cucumbers, a cheese stick and a hard-boiled egg during the day and has Halo Top Ice Cream, a low-calorie, high-protein ice cream, after dinner.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Saladino runs two to three miles outdoors three times a week and does strength training with a trainer twice a week. She also plays ice hockey one evening a week. She completed a triathlon in April and participates in timed obstacle course races, most recently the Rugged Maniac in July.

“Rome wasn’t built in a day. It took an entire lifetime to gain your weight, it will take time to lose it. The trick to losing weight is [to think it’s] like hiking up a mountain. Be sure to stop and smell the roses and then continue on your journey.”