58, North Massapequa
Occupation Retired programmer
Before 235 pounds, July 2015
After 155 pounds, December 2017
Debbie Cala says she loves carbs, bread in particular, and has been overweight much of her life.
“I’ve dieted using many of the ones out there — Weight Watchers, LA Weight Loss, and, of course, my own diet, which actually never worked,” says Cala.
By January 2016 there were many things going on in her life. She was in a lot of pain and had no energy. She had arm surgery and separately elbow surgery for issues she said were related to her sedentary lifestyle. She started dieting on her own and made some headway, losing 19 pounds. In July she and her husband went to visit their son, a teacher in China, his wife and their newborn daughter.
During the stay, she and family members decided to walk the Great Wall of China. The temperature spiked to 100 degrees that day. “It took an unbelievable amount of energy from me,” says Cala, but she made it.
She actually accomplished more than she thought: She made a decision to change her life. She didn’t want to struggle with physical activity any more and, more important, she wanted to be around to see her two granddaughters get married. She came home and rejoined Weight Watchers. She lost 10 pounds the first month and then had a consistent weight loss pattern.
“I was losing 1.6 pounds every week, almost like clockwork,” she said. Her meetings are every Thursday morning (she says the scales are friendlier in the morning).
In total, Cala has lost 80 pounds and says she wants to lose five more. “This is the most weight I’ve ever lost. And I’m going to keep it off because I really feel like I’m not dieting anymore. There’s lots of variety in what I eat, and I’m always trying new recipes.”
Cala’s favorite breakfast is Fiber One Original Bran Cereal topped with almonds and a cup of fruit — strawberries, blueberries or apples — and Fairlife Fat Free Ultra-filtered Milk along with a cup of coffee. Lunch can be shrimp salad on whole wheat bread with carrots on the side. A typical dinner can be ground turkey meatloaf, a baked potato and a green vegetable. Snacks include nonfat yogurt and air-popped popcorn.
Cala attends a Jazzercise class four times a week where for an hour she does a combination of aerobics, calisthenics and exercises like situps and butt crunches.
“Think about what it would be like to not be in pain and have more energy. Be enthusiastic for a healthy life and to live longer. Challenge yourself. You can do so much more than you think you’re capable of.”