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Theresa Devlin: Surgery 'the start of a lifestyle change'

Theresa Devlin of East Rockaway lost 313 pounds

Theresa Devlin of East Rockaway lost 313 pounds after joining Weight Watchers and later undergoing gastric bypass surgery. Photo Credit: composite

Who: Thersa Devlin, 47
Where she lives: East Rockaway
Occupation: Foster parent to 15 children since 2005

Height: 5'4"
Weight before: 498 (August 2007)
Weight after: 185

HER STORY: Theresa Devlin sums up her Disney World experience in one word: horrible. The mother of two, who traveled the country with her daughter's dance team, found it difficult to keep up with the youthful energy of the dancers, and frustration set in full force during their July 2007 trip. Walking around Disney World was impossible, and the scooters they offered were not big enough for her size. Though she ultimately was able to rent one, she realized this was not a solution. Devlin, who says she weighed 75 pounds at 3 years old and struggled with weight her entire life, was ready for a change.

At first, through Weight Watchers and walking, Devlin lost 40 pounds before her gastric bypass surgery.

"What people have to realize is that this surgery is not a fix to the problem," Devlin says, "but the start of a lifestyle change."

HER DIET: Devlin likes to say that she is simply "eating like a human being," by "tasting and enjoying food in normal portion sizes rather than inhaling and overindulging." She limits her carb intake, and the carbs she does eat primarily come from whole grains. Her diet is rich in vegetables and protein, especially beans, meat and chicken.

HER EXERCISE: Walking is key to Devlin's routine, which she maintains six days a week. She also runs, does Pilates, and goes to the gym for strength training and classes. In Central Park this April, Devlin, with some friends from high school, will be walking/running in the eighth-annual More/FITNESS Women's Half-Marathon.

Her goal is to run at least three of the 13.1 miles of the race. She continues to travel with her daughter's dance team and competes in an over-40 dance competition on the road.

HER ADVICE: "Every overweight person knows what they need to do," Devlin said. "You have to put yourself first and see that, by doing that, you're actually putting everyone else higher. A healthier you makes everyone else better off." 

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