HER STORY After a lifetime of being overweight and many unsuccessful attempts to lose weight, it was her brother's wedding that was the push Jessica Shiels needed to start dropping pounds for good.
"My weight loss was partially a gift to him and also because I wanted to have more energy," Shiels says. "My thing was big portions of food, and I drank a lot of soda. I didn't have a favorite food. I just liked everything."
She turned to Weight Watchers and lost more than 50 pounds in the first six months.
"Now, I work out like a fiend."
Shiels says she is brimming with energy.
"I walk my dog for an hour every day," says Shiels. "I wanted to lose weight so I would feel better about myself. I was made fun of when I was heavier, and no one thought I could lose the weight. Now, people tell me I'm too skinny, but I don't listen to them."
DIET She eats fruits, vegetables, salads and lean proteins, such as chicken and turkey, in proper proportions.
"I count my calories," Shiels says. "I love this lifestyle."
Breakfast is a cup of Kashi or Special K cereal with soy, almond or coconut milk. Weekends, she'll add egg whites and turkey bacon. Lunch is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on a 70-calorie piece of bread, along with fruit. Dinner is often a more filling choice, such as potato soup, but she says she makes sure to have a small portion. "I don't pig out anymore," she says. "I apportion my food and eat what I want and what my stomach can take."
EXERCISE In addition to her daily walks with the dog, she exercises three to four times a week for an hour. This includes yoga, cardio and light strength training.
ADVICE "Don't listen to other people, live the life you want," Shiels says. "Others can steer you wrong. If you want it, you will succeed. And, you'll feel better about yourself."
Occupation: Home health aide
186 Weight before January 2008
130 Weight after January 2014