60, Franklin Square
Occupation Secretary at U.S. Postal Service
Height 5 feet
Before 213 (July 2012)
After 125 (January 2016)
Zalackas says her mother had to shop in the “husky” section for her clothes when she was young. As an adult, Zalackas worked 22 years on the night shift, during which, she said, “I would pretty much eat two lunches, one for lunch and one for dinner.” But things changed dramatically when she switched to a day shift and started enjoying her husband’s cooking and the ability to go back for seconds. Plus her new job was very sedentary. Zalackas said that’s when she became “grossly obese.”
A weekend trip to Manhattan with her husband in July 2012 to celebrate their 25th anniversary was a turning point. It was 100 degrees and Zalackas weighed 213 pounds. The combination made walking around difficult. At the end of the first night her feet were bleeding, she was sweaty and her clothes were tight. “It was not a pleasant weekend,” she said.
“The next week I got an email from Weight Watchers asking if I wanted to come back,” Zalackas said, noting she was a two-time Weight Watchers dropout. She said she signed up and “it was life saving.” Zalackas chose a Sunday morning group meeting. “I’ve been at my goal for a year and a half, but I told my group I’m not stopping going to meetings until everyone has reached their goal.”
Breakfast is usually a Weight Watchers chocolate smoothie to which she adds either a banana or strawberries. Lunch can be half a sandwich using Weight Watchers bread with turkey and lots of lettuce and tomatoes, a yogurt and a piece of fruit. Dinner is generally a piece of protein, usually chicken or pork chops, and always a lot of vegetables and occasionally a small baked potato. Snacks can be fruit, 17 small pretzels or Weight Watchers chocolate ice cream.
Zalackas runs outdoors four miles a day, five days a week. When she first started Weight Watchers she would walk in place during TV commercials. Then she moved on to an exercise bike and fitness videos. “I’m now devoted to running,” Zalackas says.
“Your life can be so much fuller the healthier you become. . . . It’s very gratifying. I feel like I took on a project and saw it to the end.”