Matilde Tysz said she didn’t want to turn 50 and be taking blood pressure medication, using a CPAP machine (for sleep apnea) or dealing with an aching back and sore knees.
“I knew I was going down a terrible path,” she says.
Overweight her whole life, Tysz says she can remember going on a three-day diet when she was just 10 years old.
“As I got older, I kept on gaining. Then I had a child and gained weight and never lost it,” says Tysz. She says she’s spent thousands of dollars trying many diets throughout her life, even hiring a behaviorist at one point.
In 2016, she decided on gastric sleeve surgery. She lost 50 pounds in four months, but got stuck at 230 pounds.
“Of course, the big joke is that it goes back to the same things you’ve been fighting all your life — diet and exercise. The surgery is not a lobotomy," she says. "You have to change your thinking, your behavior and your lifestyle.”
She says she decided to join a gym, where she benefited from a combination of fitness classes, nutritional counseling and motivation, and she went on to lose 50 more pounds. She has subsequently quit her job as a chief operations officer and bought a gym to help and inspire others. “I’ve gained confidence, and I’m living again,” she says.
Tysz says she sticks to a protein- and vegetable-based diet. Breakfast is usually a protein shake with some fruit and spinach mixed in. Lunch is a protein such as chicken or salmon with a green salad and vegetables on the side. Dinner is similar to lunch, but she sometimes includes quinoa or brown rice. “I snack on fruits, almonds and cut-up veggies and berries and try to steer clear of processed foods and dairy products,” says Tysz.
Tysz exercises Monday through Friday for 45 minutes each day doing cardio work, strength training and kickboxing.
“Reach out for help. Find a program that works for you. Get a support system — friends, family members or just others going through something similar. Find a workout buddy to motivate you. Every day is a new beginning. If you fall off the diet wagon, make sure your next meal is a healthy one.”
Matilde Tysz, 51, Stewart Manor
Occupation: Gym owner
Before: 280 lbs., June 2015
After: 180 lbs., July 2018