Who: Abbey Meeks, 35
Town: Lake Ronkonkoma
Occupation: Senior compensation specialist for Con Edison
Weight before: 216 (Feb. 2008)
Weight after: 144 (August 2009)
Her story: Abbey Meeks had struggled with her size since she was a teenager. She avoided going outside and didn't have the energy to play with her two kids. "I was very lazy," she said. "I wanted to hide more than I wanted to live my life."
In February 2008, Meeks decided she needed a new way of life. "I was tired of being unhealthy, unhappy and uncomfortable," she said. "I didn't want to show my daughter that it was OK to be this way."
What she eats: Before, the working mother never made time for breakfast and was an avid soda drinker. Evening snacks included double-stuffed Oreos and milk. A typical lunch was a few slices of pizza, and dinner would be anything in large portions.
She started counting calories and fat content and lost 6 1/2 pounds the first week. She registered with a dietitian, who gave her a "protein-happy" meal plan but decided she did best on her own plan. "I never wanted to feel like I was on a diet," she said. "A diet ends. Eating healthy is a lifestyle."
These days, Meeks eats an egg-white and vegetable omelet for breakfast and a high-fiber turkey wrap with low-fat Swiss cheese and avocado for lunch. For dinner, she'll have whatever her family is having but in small portions. She traded in the Oreos for fruit, low-fat string cheese and English muffins with peanut butter. She eats every two hours to keep her metabolism going and drinks 100 ounces of water a day.
Workouts: Before, Meeks led a sedentary lifestyle. When she began working out, she went full-force. She hired a trainer and went to the gym five days a week for two hours at a time, lifting weights and doing cardio on the treadmill, elliptical and stationary bike.
Final thoughts: While she is still trying to lose 20 more pounds, Meeks is happy with the progress she has made. "Not only has this had an impact on me, but it's had an impact on the whole family."