HIS STORY Chubby all his life, Mike Frias says he even gained sympathy weight during his wife's two pregnancies.
"I just didn't lose the weight when she did," Frias says with a laugh.
Things finally turned around for this yo-yo dieter when he entered into a bet with co-workers about who could lose the most weight from New Year's Day through Memorial Day weekend. He won in a landslide by losing more than 60 pounds, which earned him $500 from his competitors.
"I actually want to be below 200 pounds on my 35th birthday in March," Frias says. "But it was the motivation of the bet that was what got me going."
He refuses to call his life change a diet; rather he says his goal is to get and stay healthy.
"The bet got me started, but the successful results are keeping me going," says Frias, who had tried the Atkins diet, Weight Watchers, going vegetarian and fad diets. "This way of life has just become who I am and what I do."
Even though they weren't successful for him, Frias doesn't blame the diets.
"It was my lack of commitment and motivation that made me fail," Frias says. "I've now cut the garbage out of my diet."
DIET After years of fast-food meals and overindulgence (two hamburgers, a couple of hot dogs, rack of ribs and sides at one sitting), breakfast is now a bowl of multigrain cereal. He snacks on fruit.
"Lunch is my big meal," Frias says. "I'll have a turkey sandwich or ground turkey over a salad, with fruit and yogurt."
Dinner most nights is grilled lean protein with salad and greens.
"I don't believe in denying myself, but I find that I don't want a lot of the garbage food I used to eat," Frias says.
EXERCISE "Just because I've lost weight doesn't mean I'm in good shape," says Frias of his daily exercising. "I do fat-burning workouts each night with my wife."
These include jogging a mile three nights a week, along with 40 minutes nightly of push-ups, lunges, sit-ups and crunches.
ADVICE Frias says he could never stick to a weight-loss program when he was doing it for or at the behest of others.
"This time, I stuck to it because it is something I decided that I wanted to do, not something that others wanted me to do."