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Atkins low-carbohydrate diet was his key to losing 70 pounds

Michael Ferrara, 46, of Selden, is pictured in

Michael Ferrara, 46, of Selden, is pictured in August 2014, when he weighed 295 pounds, and in a more recent photo, showing off his 70-pound weight loss. Photo Credit: Ferrara family / Ken Sawchuck

Michael Ferrara

46, Selden

Occupation Owns a premium car service company

Height 6 feet

Before 298 pounds, October 2014

Current 228 pounds, September 2016

HIS STORY

“Everyone in my Italian family was overweight except for me. The running joke in the neighborhood was that I was adopted. Then my family bought a pizzeria in ’83 and over nine years my weight ballooned, and then I fit right in with my family,” Ferrara said.

After the pizzeria, he had a series of low-activity jobs. “I married in 1999 and along with the wife came all the fun times and fun fat.”

He started his own limo company and says, “The lifestyle of limo driving is sitting and eating on the road. The most exercise I got was putting luggage in the trunk, and even that winded me.”

Ferrara says he didn’t realize how he looked to others until he saw a picture of himself and was “horrified.” Around the same time, his brother was losing weight on the Atkins diet, a low-carbohydrate diet, and had given Ferrara clothes that no longer fit. They were too small on Ferrara, whose waist by then was about 48 inches. Brotherly competition, along with feeling physically and mentally lousy from overeating, led Ferrara to also start on Atkins. He likes that he has options for eating at fast food places as long as he skips bread and carbs. During the first six weeks he lost 10 pounds. “I was flying high at that point. On Atkins you have a surge of energy. I used to nap on the couch in a sugar coma. Now I have plenty of energy.” Ferrara wants to lose another eight pounds to reach 220 pounds.

HIS DIET

For breakfast Ferrara chooses between an Atkins meal bar, eggs or peanut butter on a rice cake and coffee. Lunch can be Wendy’s chili, sausage and peppers or a salad. Dinner can be steak on the grill, kielbasa, broiled fish, or roasted chicken and vegetables. He snacks on Atkins bars saying, “I’m a junk food guy. Atkins has candy bars that taste like regular candy.”

HIS EXERCISE

Ferrara is not an exerciser, but since losing 70 pounds he now takes walks with the family in the neighborhood two or three nights a week.

HIS ADVICE

“You’re never too old to lose weight or change your lifestyle. You have to motivate yourself by setting goals. One of the best feelings, and I wasn’t expecting it, is knocking on a client’s door and hearing them say, “Oh, my God you look incredible!”

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