Cyndee Dunn says the weight issue she had most of her life was exacerbated by her husband’s cancer diagnosis and then her own infertility treatments. “My weight just kept creeping up from the stress,” Dunn says.

By November 2016, she decided it was time to make a change. “I had reached my highest number on the scale and didn’t want to keep going down that path. I knew I had to do something,” Dunn says. Though she had experience with Weight Watchers from 10 years earlier, she discovered the program was now more focused on self-esteem. “That was a big benefit to me, the change in focusing on myself, putting myself first,” Dunn says. (Her husband had a bone marrow transplant and has been cancer-free for nearly five years.)

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She started with meetings and, after a month, switched to an online membership to accommodate her schedule. “This time, instead of focusing on a big goal, I took it 5 pounds at a time. I took a selfie every time I lost 5 pounds. That’s been helpful to be able to look at my progress on Instagram and Facebook. It helps keep me accountable,” Dunn says.

When she was down 30 pounds, Dunn joined the CrossFit gym near her office. “It’s group personal training, where they have varied fitness schedules every day, based on gymnastics, weight training and Olympic lifting. I went through the four basics classes, so you learn how it works. I saw changes in my body the first month. And because it’s group personal training that meets the same time every day, you connect with people and bond quickly. It’s an intense but positive atmosphere,” Dunn says.

She has a banana or protein bar before going to the gym and a protein shake when she returns. Lunch and dinner are meals she orders from Fit and Fresh, a meal prep company. Her choices are usually a vegetable and chicken or beef entree. She snacks throughout the day on almonds, apple slices, string cheese or nectarines. She also periodically has Halo Top ice cream for dessert.

Here is Cyndee Dunn in a photo from September 2016 when she weight approximately 250 pounds. Through Weight Watchers and exercise, the Merrick resident has lost almost 70 pounds. Photo Credit: Julie Parker

Dunn is usually at the gym five days a week doing a three-part program. Part A is a warm-up; Part B focuses on skill work (targeting a specific area of fitness or a particular exercise); Part C is more intense cardio-based routines.

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“Focus on putting yourself first,” Dunn says. “Try not to hold yourself back. Push through your fear to do something you normally wouldn’t do.”