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Dropping Pounds: The Cirillo family of Garden City

From left, Robert Cirillo, Felix Cirillo and Betty

From left, Robert Cirillo, Felix Cirillo and Betty Cirillo have collectively lost 195 pounds through Jenny Craig. Credit: Cirillo family; Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

The Cirillo family, of Garden City:

Felix Cirillo, 53

Occupation: Chief information officer for a health-care company

Height 5-foot-6

Before: 209 lbs.

After: 167 lbs.

Elizabeth Cirillo, 64

Occupation: Nurse educator

Height 5-foot-5

Before: 269 lbs.

After 209 lbs.

Robert Cirillo, 26

Occupation: Pharmacy technician

Height 5-foot-11

Before 298 lbs.

After 205 lbs.

Three members of the Cirillo family are 195 pounds lighter, collectively, than they were a year ago. Felix, his wife, Elizabeth, and their son Robert, of Garden City, joined Jenny Craig as a group and attend weekly meetings together.

Felix said he and his wife were overweight most of their lives and, in fact, both had gastric bypass surgery 10 years ago. Felix lost 100 pounds and Betty lost 35 pounds, but much of it was regained. "We were eating out three to four times a week and the weight was coming back, he said. "It was getting pretty scary. My wife is a diabetic and on insulin, but our biggest concern was our son. He was young but getting huge, pushing 300 pounds," said Felix. So Betty took charge. "She literally put us in the car and drove us to Jenny Craig on a Sunday morning."

They met with a consultant and went home that day with frozen prepared meals. The routine is three meals a day plus a morning snack and an afternoon snack. On Sunday, Betty cooks a large quantity of vegetables to augment the Jenny Craig meals during the week. Felix and Betty are on a 1,200-calorie-a-day plan, while Robert's plan is 1,700 calories a day. "The food is good, it's convenient, there's no measuring, no thinking and it's low in salt," says Betty. All three have met their respective goals and will do a maintenance program once they've reached their ultimate goal.


Meals are primarily Jenny Craig products. Breakfast can be pancakes, cereal, a breakfast burrito, a breakfast pizza or a breakfast scrambler (eggs and potato) and a slice of 45-calorie bread. Lunch selections include turkey burgers, pizza or small hamburger sliders. For dinner, the Cirillos eat meatloaf, turkey, pasta selections or a fish-and-chips entree. They add Betty's cooked vegetables to round out the meals, and snack on Jenny Craig products like Anytime Bars, veggie chips or Cheese Curls. Felix feels they spend less on food now than they did before joining the program.


The three Cirillos don't formally exercise but instead employ Jenny Craig tips like keeping prepared meals in a freezer in the basement, which requires going up and down stairs before each meal, finding distant parking spots and avoiding elevators. Felix and Robert walk to some places they previously drove to.


Felix: "You can do it. You're talking to the guy with the least amount of willpower in the world . . . so if I can do it, anyone can do it." Betty: "You have to be ready . . . and you have to be prepared with cooked vegetables and salad." Robert: "There's always something dietwise that will cater to people's personal styles."