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Nutritionist’s advice helps educator lose more than 100 pounds

Mary Myer, 56, of Ronkonkoma, at left in

Mary Myer, 56, of Ronkonkoma, at left in August 2016 when she weighed 276 pounds, and after her more than 100-pound weight loss. Credit: Composite photo; Myer family, left, and Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

Mary Myer

56, Ronkonkoma

Occupation Adult literacy educator

Height 5-foot-4

Before 278 pounds, July 2016

After 173 pounds, May 2018

Mary Myer says part of her weight problem was hereditary, but she also knew she had successfully battled genetics and lost a significant amount of weight twice before. However, a pattern of emotional eating, the devastating losses of her brother and father, three pregnancies within six years, and early menopause led to Myer tipping the scale at 278 pounds at age 54. A health scare from a nicked varicose vein and a high blood pressure diagnosis were the wake-up calls Myer says she needed.

She started seeing a nutritionist, Richael DelGatto from, who first told her to write down everything she eats in a week and bring in the list. “They get to know what kind of eater you are and your strengths and weaknesses. I was addicted to carbohydrates,” says Myer.

She says DelGatto’s advice included eating more seafood because it is satiating and lean, eating earlier in the day and not past 7 p.m. and pairing any carbohydrates with a protein — like an apple but with peanut butter, or a pear with cheese. “You start losing cravings and begin feeling satiated from the right combination of foods,” says Myer. She saw a change after six weeks, no puffiness and more definition, and she started exercising. “I did intermittent jogging and walking, even though I had a bad hip. I pushed through it and, after losing 50 pounds, had my hip replaced last June,” says Myer, who went on to lose an additional 55 pounds. “I feel like a new person. I have so much energy.”

For breakfast, Myer has either a protein shake with vegetables and fruit or a microwaved sweet potato layered with mashed avocado and a fried egg. Lunch is usually a green salad with a protein like chicken, shrimp or imitation crabmeat. Dinner is always two vegetables, a cup of homemade soup like lentil, black bean, chicken or butter squash and a protein. Snacks include Babybel cheese, a 100-calorie bag of raw almonds or half a protein bar. An indulgence of sweetness, usually once a week, is a homemade protein cookie or a piece of pie, of which she has only 3 forkfuls.

Myer does some type of jogging daily. If it’s raining, she uses an elliptical. She works with free weights for 10 minutes three times a week and attends a one-hour Zumba class weekly.

“Never give up on yourself. Even if you’ve blown it before, you can succeed. Live one day at a time.”