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Dropping Pounds: Tom Cittadino, East Rockaway

Tom Cittadino of East Rockaway has lost more

Tom Cittadino of East Rockaway has lost more than 100 pounds since September 2008 and has kept it off. Photo Credit: Mary Rendina; Newsday / Chuck Fadely

Name: Tom Cittadino

Age: 64

Community: East Rockaway

Occupation: Retired postal worker, now a labor crew chief with the Town of Hempstead

Height: 5-foot-8

Before weight: 293 September 2008

After weight: 185 May 2015

His story

Tom Cittadino has had a weight problem since he returned from Vietnam in 1971. He had success with diets from time to time, but any weight he lost he usually gained backed, plus some. His weakness was sweets, chocolate in particular. "I could down a pint of Chunky Monkey in one sitting," Cittadino said.

When he went to Las Vegas for three days in 2008 for his brother's 50th birthday party, he spent the whole time in pain with back issues.

"I came home and told myself, 'Enough is enough,' " Cittadino said. He was on four medications, three for conditions usually associated with excess weight. After a month of building up the courage, he walked into a Weight Watchers meeting. It took Cittadino 3 years to reach his goal weight, and he has stayed within 2 to 5 pounds of it since August 2011. Cittadino still goes to Weight Watchers meetings. His wife, Darlene, also follows the program.

His diet

Cittadino says breakfast is two eggs with cheese, scrambled or in an omelet, or three egg whites with onions, zucchini, peppers and broccoli. To avoid processed foods, the Cittadinos often cook a turkey breast and slice it for lunchtime sandwiches. They use Arnold's light bread and add a large slice of tomato and a piece of low-fat or fat-free cheese. Dinner can be a veggie burger, steak, pork or chicken and sides of broccoli, peas or string beans and always a green salad. Snacks are usually yogurt. "Two to three times a week, I have a chocolate candy bar, a piece of cake or cookies as a treat," Cittadino said. He is off the three medications associated with being overweight and takes a multivitamin daily.

His exercise

"When I started, there was no exercise," he said. "Now I exercise five days a week at the gym on a treadmill or an elliptical and do a spin class one or two days a week."

His advice

"Change your eating habits. Make permanent lifestyle changes. Weight loss is not a sprint, it's a marathon. I hope to inspire others to make healthy lifestyle changes."

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