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Boxing helps Shirley scientist drop post-pregnancy weight

Donna Amoscato, 37, of Shirley, at left in

Donna Amoscato, 37, of Shirley, at left in April 2016 when she weighed 196 pounds, and after her more than 40-pound weight loss. Credit: Kristian Vasquez; Newsday / Steve Pfost

Donna Amoscato

37, Shirley

Occupation Environmental scientist

Height 5-feet-8½

Before 196 pounds, April 2016

After 150 pounds, May 2018

A severe case of postpartum depression cloaked Donna Amoscato 12 months after she gave birth to twin girls, which followed a difficult pregnancy. She was working full time and taking care of the babies, and she was stressed.

“I was in a very bad place. . . . I had gained a ton of weight from the pregnancy and wasn’t the person I wanted to be for my kids,” says Amoscato. Her husband, who had previously trained as a boxer, suggested she give boxing a try.

“I thought it was a man’s sport. But, long story short, I started with a kickboxing class and a regular boxing class and did both of them five to six nights a week. I knew I had to do it for myself,” says Amoscato.

She said she dropped 30 pounds within a few months. “I had so much energy and felt more involved mentally with the kids. . . . It’s a way to release stress. I go punch a bag for an hour and get rid of my stress. Then I go home and I’m more of a present parent. It was really life-changing,” says Amoscato.

“New mothers’ lives tend to revolve around their kids. . . . You can forget there’s a part of your life you need to focus on. And it’s not selfish. It starts with being healthy and productive and working toward a goal, which I didn’t have before,” says Amoscato.

Amoscato, who eats six times a day, usually has oatmeal with blueberries for breakfast. A midmorning snack can be a cheese stick or almonds. A veggie burger, without bread, and cucumbers on the side is a typical lunch. A midafternoon snack is either fruit or plain Greek yogurt with honey. Chicken, a vegetable and a starch, like a sweet potato, is a typical dinner. Amoscato doesn’t eat past 7 p.m. and drinks either unsweetened iced tea or water, but nothing carbonated or artificially sweetened.

She takes a one-hour boxing class twice a week and does cardio work on Saturdays, either on a treadmill, an elliptical, a climber or at a Zumba class.

“Women, and new mothers especially, can get their pre-baby body back. You can do anything you put your mind to. I’m probably in better shape now than before my pregnancy. . . . I tried something outside of my comfort zone and fell in love with it. Think outside the box.”