37, East Rockaway
Occupation: Former letter carrier and educator
Before Weight 203 February 2015
After Weight 172 April 2015
Brian Barry says he weighed 160 pounds until a series of unfortunate events happened -- a post-traumatic stress disorder diagnosis stemming from Sandy damage to his house, a job loss and a work-related injury. "I lost it and started bingeing; eating bags of pretzels on the couch at 2 a.m. with a block of cheese," Barry said. "I was in denial . . . and depressed and ate to feel better. I'd eat a box of Cheerios at a time."
Barry sought counseling and medical attention. His doctor said his body mass index and cholesterol were up and his counselor encouraged him to get active in his community. He went to a Knights of Columbus hall to help with bingo the same night an annual weight loss contest was starting. The deal was $20 to get in and a weekly weigh-in. No weight change cost $2, and a weight gain cost $4. Barry signed on and got "really psyched about getting healthy." He bought a stationary bike, spoke to a nutritionist and collected lots of information. He read "Dr. [Don] Colbert's 'I Can Do This' Diet" saying, "I was really touched by the book. It talked about willpower, goals and how you have to push yourself to lose weight." He won the contest and $188.
Breakfast is two to three hard-boiled eggs, a bottle of water over ice, a cup of coffee with soy or skim milk or a cup of tea with honey or lemon. Lunch may be plain, nonfat Greek yogurt tossed with fresh berries or a small salad with lettuce, spinach and apple cider vinegar and lemon dressing. Dinner can be three thin-sliced free-range, organic, low-sodium chicken breasts sauteed with green vegetables and a pinch of Mrs. Dash, a non-salt seasoning. He drinks 16 ounces of seltzer before dinner. Snacks are a variety of fruit.
Barry is on the stationary bike 30-60 minutes each morning and after lunch and uses a treadmill during physical therapy appointments four nights a week.
"You have to learn about . . . carbohydrates, sodium, sugar and refined sugars and what a portion is . . . You can't have an effective weight-loss program by just reducing your food. You need an exercise program, too."