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Bay Shore couple loses weight with nutritionist, Paleo-type diet

Anthony and Catherine Catanese, of Sayville, at left

Anthony and Catherine Catanese, of Sayville, at left in August 2017, and after their nearly 100-pound weight loss. Credit: Catanese family photos; Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

The Cataneses


Catherine, 53

Dental hygienist

Height 5-foot-6

Before 170 pounds

After 140 pounds

Anthony, 61

Owns American DataTel, a security and office cabling company

Height 5-foot-11

Before 241 pounds

After 175 pounds

Catherine and Anthony Cantanese’s histories are different, but the single solution they found for weight loss worked for both of them.

Catherine says she was thin until her mid-40s, when her weight started creeping up and some digestive issues developed. Anthony, on the other hand, says he was always heavy and dieted often. “It was never done in a smart way. It was either modified starvation or over-the-counter pills — no formal programs. I would lose 30 to 40 pounds and always gain it back,” he says.

It was Catherine’s idea to consult a nutritionist. Last October, they started seeing one who set them on a course of plant-based meal plans with limited protein and no processed foods, similar to the Paleo diet because of its anti-inflammatory benefits. They both say they’ve been educated on how to effectively read nutrition labels. “Don’t go by the front of the box, it can be deceptive. You need to turn the box around and read the nutrition label. I thought I knew, but my interpretation was completely wrong,” says Catherine.

“We now shop the perimeter of the store, meaning the vegetables, meats and fish counters, and buy no prepared foods,” says Anthony, who adds: ”We do go out to eat but balance it with healthy choices at home.” He also says he drinks about 100 ounces of water daily because he learned that dehydration is sometimes masked as hunger.

Among the many upsides of this new lifestyle is, for Catherine, feeling more energetic and for Anthony having his medications either eliminated or dosages lowered.

Average meals for either of them include scrambled eggs with vegetables, mushrooms, peppers and onions for breakfast, plus a side of fruit salad. A midmorning snack can be a banana or an apple with almond butter. Lunch options are homemade chicken soup with vegetables or oatmeal or grilled chicken with vegetables, always aiming to have more vegetables than chicken. Dinner is similar to lunch — a small protein and mostly vegetables. Twice a week they have a Green Chef meal, a delivery of ingredients that Catherine prepares according to the recipe provided. For sweetness after dinner, Tony has a Ghirardelli dark chocolate square and Catherine has a small amount of nuts or trail mix.

The Cataneses walk two or three miles daily with their dog, Cheddar. They also enjoy bike riding.

Catherine says: “Knowledge is power, and we recommend seeing a nutritionist because you learn the why behind the food choices you make.” Anthony says: “Doing this with Catherine has made it so much easier.”