Nicole Schnabel, 34, of Brightwaters, is pictured in an undated...

Nicole Schnabel, 34, of Brightwaters, is pictured in an undated image, when she weighed about 192 pounds, and in a more recent photo, showing off her 57-pound weight loss. Credit: Nicole DeStefano Photography / Jeffrey Basinger

Nicole Schnabel

34, Brightwaters

Occupation Teacher

Height 5-foot-2

Before 192 pounds, May 2014

Current 135 pounds, Feb. 2017


Nicole Schnabel says she has always had to contend with a weight problem. “I love to eat and was just never able to find a balance between food, exercise and taking care of my health,” she said.

When her son turned 1, she found a reason to change that behavior: She didn’t like being in pictures and was passing up photo opportunities with her son at events that wouldn’t come around again. “I never wanted to look back and not be seen in family photos because of the way I looked. Plus, I felt that my health should be at the forefront for the benefit of my son and husband,” said Schnabel.

She turned to Weight Watchers, which she had dabbled with before, and opted for its Simply Filling technique. With this approach, Weight Watchers provides a list of specified foods, and members can eat anything from that list until feeling content, without counting or tracking points or calories. Schnabel says this time around she didn’t care how long it took and just kept visualizing how she would look at her goal weight. She says she can fit into her wedding dress again and doesn’t need as many clothes anymore. “I’m finding happiness in other ways now,” she said.


Schnabel says eating five meals a day plus snacks works for her. For breakfast she has pancakes made from egg whites and uncooked oatmeal. She tops them with cinnamon and some sugar-free fruit preserves. Midmorning she has a turkey burger with vegetables on the side. At 1:30 p.m. she enjoys a grilled chicken salad. Her 4:30 p.m. meal is another batch of egg white oatmeal pancakes (which she makes in advance and can keep in the refrigerator up to a week). Dinner can be any lean protein, often roasted chicken, along with vegetables. Schnabel snacks on carrots and cucumbers with Opa Greek yogurt dressing. She says she doesn’t deprive herself. If someone offers her a piece of birthday cake, she’ll have a bite, just not the whole slice.


Schnabel sees a personal trainer for 45 minutes twice a week and does mostly strength training. She tries to exercise on her own for two additional days a week.


“Trust the process. People told me that all along, but I didn’t actually know what it meant. Now I realize it means trust that if you do all the right things, it will come together.”

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