WEIGHT LOSS SUCCESS
Nicole Anagnos 33
Health counselor Williamstown, MA
Before 210 lbs
After 135 lbs
Today, a mile run is a warm up for Nicole Anagnos. Hard to believe, since she once was a heavy kid who dreaded the mile run in gym class. By age 12, Nicole was 155 pounds—much bigger than her more active friends.
Throughout middle and high school she skipped breakfast and skimped on lunch, getting by on a soft pretzel or a bagel, only to go home and eat her way through an entire box of pasta or cereal before dinner. "I believed that saying 'I didn't eat all day' meant I could make up for it by stuffing myself at night," she says. In 1994, Nicole's bad food habits followed her to Regis College in Weston, Massachusetts, where she didn't pay attention to what she ate and gained way more than the freshman 15. Soon she was carrying 210 pounds on her 5'8" figure and trying to hide it behind sweats. The small all-girls school wasn't a good fit, so she transferred to the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in her sophomore year. "I was happier about the new school and my new life there, but not about my body."
The summer before her junior year, Nicole took daily walks and shed 15 pounds. When she returned to UMass in the fall, she added weight training four days a week. She also stuck to a balanced diet: "Instead of starving all day on a bagel, I'd eat cereal for breakfast, a protein bar for a snack, and a veggie sandwich for lunch." At graduation, she wore a size 12; her days of men's size-38 pants and XXL shirts were over. And she had extra incentive to look great: A few months before graduating, she became engaged. "My husband, Ted, taught me the weight-training program I still follow," she says.
In preparation for their August 2000 nuptials, Nicole stepped up her walks to runs. "I ran almost two miles the first time, and I was shocked," Nicole says. "I never thought I'd be able to run that far. I always considered running a 'thin person's sport.' " By their wedding, she was down to 145 pounds. In the next five years, she dropped another five—and her commitment to a healthy lifestyle helped her shed the 65 pounds she gained while pregnant with twins in 2005. "Returning to the gym quickly helped. My body bounced back to my starting weight within five months." In the past year, she lost another five.
Today, "I see people I haven't seen since I was a teenager and they say I look like a totally different person," Nicole says. She credits falling in love with her new active lifestyle. "I feel so amazing and I never want to go back to how I felt before. I'm not focused on deprivation or dieting. I've made healthy choices an effortless part of my life."
Green your plate "I think of the vegetable first in any meal. At least half of my bowl is steamed and green. Kale and spinach are my favorites."
Set size limits "To control portions, I usually eat out of a cereal-size bowl instead of off a dinner plate."