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MyFitnessPal helps Lake Ronkonkoma first responder drop 122 lbs.

Gary Stadler, 42, Lake Ronkonkoma, is pictured in

Gary Stadler, 42, Lake Ronkonkoma, is pictured in May 2016, when he weighed 322 pounds, and in a more recent photo, showing off his 122-pound weight loss. Credit: Carol Osipowich; John Paraskevas

Gary P. Stadler

42, Lake Ronkonkoma

Occupation First responder for Lake Ronkonkoma Fire District

Height 5-foot-7

BEFORE 322 May 2016

AFTER 200 May 2017


When Gary Stadler was hospitalized in 2015 for a deep vein thrombosis and a pulmonary embolism, he was afraid the medicine wouldn’t work on a 300-pound person. He spoke to a nurse practitioner about getting his weight down. One possibility, weight-loss surgery, meant he would need to come off blood thinners.

Not willing to take that risk, he opted for seeing nutritionist Briana Galiardo. At the end of the consultation, he left with a 1,600-calorie-per-day nutrition plan, exercise recommendations and instructions for the My Fitness Pal smartphone app. He was told to come back every six weeks. “When I got home I told my wife that this woman’s either setting me up for failure or trying to kill me. I eat 1,600 calories just at breakfast!”

But Stadler said he wanted to give it an honest try. To make it easier for him, his wife, Maria, said she would follow the diet, too. Six weeks later, he returned to the nutritionist 25 pounds lighter. “I was thinking she really knows what she’s talking about and not trying to kill me,” said Stadler. He never missed an appointment and had documented weight loss at every visit.

Now down more than 120 pounds, Stadler is experiencing “a whole new world.” On a plane to a Disney World vacation he didn’t need a seat belt extender nor were his hips sore. He wants this new lifestyle to stick, saying, “Every day I wake up and say, ‘Today’s not the day I’m going to stop doing this.’ ” He and friends have signed up for July’s Tough Mudder Long Island, a 10-12-mile timed race with 20 obstacle challenges. Stadler says he wants to lose another 20 pounds.


Stadler starts the day with either oatmeal, almonds and yogurt or a two-egg omelet with low-fat cheese on a 90-calorie piece of flat bread. He snacks on a protein bar or a piece of fruit midmorning. Lunch is usually a sandwich, sometimes a protein bar. Dinner is usually chicken or fish with a vegetable. If he has rice, it’s long-grain brown rice, and if he has a potato, it’s a sweet potato. Five nights a week he adds a garden salad with light vinaigrette or balsamic dressing.


Stadler hits the treadmill three or four times a week, walking/jogging for 45 minutes followed by 45 minutes of weight training.


“It’s never too late. I never thought I’d be the person I’ve become, but you really can.”