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Elizabeth Mwanga: 'Almost losing my life motivated me to lose weight'

Elizabeth Mwanga of Queens Village lost 105 pounds

Elizabeth Mwanga of Queens Village lost 105 pounds after she was hospitalized and received a diabetes diagnosis. She cut out complex carbohydrates and does Pilates six days a week. Credit: Newsday.com composite

Who: Elizabeth Mwanga, 33
Town: Queens Village
Occupation: TV producer

Height: 5'1 1/2"
Weight before: 205 (June 2007)
Weight after: 100 (Oct. 2009)

>>Click here to see photos of Long Islanders who have lost weight

Her story: Elizabeth Mwanga was never a slim girl. At 27, she was an ample 5-foot-1 1/2 and 150 pounds. But after a bad breakup with a boyfriend in 2004, she began drowning her sorrows with sweets, fast food and alcohol. Three years later, her weight ballooned to 205, and she had swollen ankles, dizziness, raging thirst and frequent urination. "I thought it was the heat," she recalls.

She was diabetic and ended up in a hospital, where doctors said she was lucky to be alive. Mwanga was determined to regain her health.

Her doctor put her on insulin and gave her a diet limiting sugar and complex carbohydrates. She didn't trust that and discovered through research that complex carbohydrates, such as white rice and pasta, spike blood sugar. She completely eliminated sugar, processed foods and - with her doctor's approval - complex carbohydrates. She began exercising and, in five months, lost 50 pounds; 14 months later, she lost 50 more and, at 100 pounds, is no longer insulin dependent.

Her diet: Mwanga starts the day with coffee with half-and-half, followed by cottage cheese and fresh fruit. Her midmorning snack is an ounce of nuts. Lunch is salad with cheese or a lean protein, or a soup. Sometimes she eats turkey slices, wrapped around cheese and apple slices. Dinner is roasted or stir-fried vegetables with fish or another protein. She avoids refined sugar, alcohol and even diabetic cookies.

Mwanga, who's shooting a pilot for a diabetic cooking show, says: "I thought I would be eating straw and grass for the rest of my life. But there are plenty of meals for diabetics that are easy and delicious to make."

Her workouts: Mwanga started with the treadmill and exercise classes at Lucille Roberts. Today she maintains her weight loss with Pilates six days a week.

Final thoughts: "Take care of yourself, because if you don't have your health, you have nothing."

>>Click here to see photos of Long Islanders who have lost weight

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