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Dropping Pounds: Sharon Klein of Jericho

HER STORY After years of watching her weight go up and her self-esteem go down, Sharon Klein said she decided to make some changes in her life.

"When you're unhappy, you don't care what you look like," says Klein. This year, she decided it was time to be her best self. Part of that self-imposed dictum was taking an honest look in the mirror.

"I realized that this is not what I wanted to walk out the door looking like," says Klein. She started with little things, like sprucing up her makeup, her clothes and her hair.

After a New Year's resolution, Klein joined Weight Watchers.

"I wanted a plan that taught me how to lose weight in my own kitchen," says Klein. "I wanted someplace that would teach me how to use real food that I could buy in the supermarket."

This was important for Klein, who in the past turned to fast-food chains, pizza parlors and Chinese restaurants for her evening meals.

She has since learned to shop the perimeter of the grocery store, spending most of her time and food budget on fruits and vegetables.

"I've tried so many new vegetables," Klein says. "I've learned to cook grains I'd never heard of before."

DIET Breakfast is no-fat cottage cheese with berries, coffee and skim milk. Lunch is a salad with low-cal dressing. Dinner is usually fish or chicken. Most of her snacks are fruit.

EXERCISE She has gone from being a couch potato to initiating a daily exercise routine, working her way up to a brisk 4.9 miles per hour on the gym's treadmill for 75 to 85 minutes five days a week. She also lifts weights. She rounds things out with 30 minutes a day of floor exercises at home.

ADVICE Think small goals, because every goal is an accomplishment, Klein says. "Losing the first five pounds means you're doing something right, so keep doing what you're doing and maybe add a little more."

Sharon Klein

56, Jericho

Occupation Sales clerk and homemaker

Height 5-foot-1

182 Weight before Jan. 1, 2012

122.5 Weight after Oct. 1, 2012