Who: Joseph Rossetti, 53
Occupation: Retired New York City police officer
Weight before: 454 (March 2005)
Weight after: 195 (March 2010)
His story: No one can ever say that Joe Rossetti didn't do his best to lose weight. At least three times in his life, the 53-year-old has been through major diets: Atkins, liquid, restricted calories. He lost a lot of weight. But he always returned to fast food and sweets, and regained the weight and more. By the time he was 47, he was 454 pounds and despairing. Finally, he said: "Enough is enough," and decided to get laparoscopic adjustable gastric band surgery in 2005. He lost 80 pounds, but did not follow after-surgery protocols, which included going to support meetings and avoiding liquids during meals. The weight came back, and in 2007 he had the band readjusted.
Rossetti realized his weight problems were the result of his mindset: He was always putting someone or something before himself. "This time I decided I would be first," he said. He met regularly with his doctor, went to his support group meetings and carefully watched his diet. Within two years, he was down to 185 pounds.
His diet: Rossetti now eats mostly fruits and vegetables and lean meats. For breakfast, he may have yogurt or a bowl of hot cereal; for lunch, a green salad, soup, or tuna or chicken salad. Dinner is usually a half cup of vegetables and four ounces of protein, such as chicken or fish. His portions are small, because he fills up quickly, and he never drinks anything with his meals. Liquids flush the food through the band faster, and you get hungry as a result, he explains. He occasionally eats sweets in small portions. "I do not want to deny myself," he says.
His exercise: Rossetti walks or runs every day, does a series of sit-ups to tone his abdominals and push-ups to strengthen his arms. He also does Wii Fit, a video game that calculates body mass index and allows him to exercise alongside an avatar, or online virtual body. He trains regularly for 5k runs.
"I used to get out of breath all the time," Rossetti says. "Now, I have a lot more energy, and I never get out of breath."