Steven Ingargiola

55, Elmont

Occupation Sales representative

Height 5'8"

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272 Weight  (summer 2005)

183 Weight (March 2011)

'Don't procrastinate. Just start to move. Aim high, but start small.'


I gained a lot of weight after a divorce in 2002. I love to eat and cook. I was probably eating 8,000 to 9,000 calories a day. I'd come home from work and plop down on the couch, eat and watch television.

One day in 2005, I had bloating, numbness in my arm, heaviness in my chest. I was on my way to work on the bus. I was having a heart attack.

The doctors at Nassau University Medical Center couldn't get my heart rate down. I had a huge strangulated hernia in my intestines and they couldn't operate until they could get my heart rate down. My heart had a tear in the wall and the heart sack was full of fluids. They finally got me stabilized, operated on the hernia, allowed me to recuperate for a few days and then shipped me off to North Shore-LIJ for heart surgery. North Shore was able to perform the necessary heart surgery and implanted a defibrillator.

When I was finally released in September 2005, I weighed 217 pounds. Part of it was all the fluids they drained off. Part was the hospital food. I went on a crusade to get to 180 pounds. I now fluctuate between 180 and 185.


I eat roughly seven small, low-calorie meals a day. I have fruit and vegetables between three main meals. I have no carbs. I have a calorie counter on my BlackBerry and chart everything. I keep the calories under 1,200.

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I do a lot of floor exercises. I also do chair and mechanical exercises using things in my apartment. I can't do anything that raises my heart rate above 200 beats per minute. I wear a heart monitor and I can do light cardio. I can simulate a treadmill workout at home using stairs in my hallway. I do a half-hour in the morning and evening, enough to get my cardio going.


Don't procrastinate. Just start to move. Aim high, but start small. You have to have a mirror and a scale. I didn't have either. Now, I have both.