Who: Amanda Jones, 35
Where she lives: East Hampton
Occupation: Pianist and piano and voice teacher
Weight before: 250 (2009)
Weight after: 147 (2010)
Her story: "I feel like I fought being overweight my whole life," says Jones, recounting a story so many women can relate to. The 60 pounds Jones gained while pregnant with the first of her three sons eight years ago didn't come off. Jones' turning point came last year.
Her mother, Barbara Borsack, also of East Hampton, had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and Jones walked in a 5k (3.1-mile) fundraiser for breast cancer research. She had trouble breathing on the walk and, two days later, she had pneumonia. Lying in bed, Jones said to herself, "That's it, I'm done being fat and being out of shape."
Her diet: Jones made gradual changes in her eating habits, starting by replacing the bagel and cream cheese for breakfast with oatmeal and banana. Next came lunch, which is now often egg whites on a bagel thin, a slice of cheese and a piece of fruit. But Jones eats a "regular dinner" with her family, eating smaller portions than she used to and stopping when she is full. "I didn't want my kids to see me dieting," she says. "I want them to know I'm just eating healthily."
Her exercise: Although Jones always hated exercise, she told herself it would be the key to weight loss. She and her mother started going to a gym three days a week at 5:30 a.m. At first, walking 20 minutes on a treadmill was difficult, but Jones built stamina. A friend suggested during a walk around a track that Jones try running one lap around. "I was dying," Jones recalls. "I said, 'I can't do this anymore.'" But she kept at it until she found herself running three miles on the treadmill. Today she works out at least five days a week for 45 minutes at a time on the stationary bike, elliptical machine and lifting weights. And now Jones has a new goal: training for the Montauk Point Lighthouse Sprint Triathlon & Relay in July.
Her advice: The hardest part is getting started, Jones says. "You don't have to join a gym or do anything fancy, just go for a walk three days a week and you will start feeling better about yourself and begin seeing improvements and want to do more."