Mario Valeri lost 63 pounds, and his cholesterol dropped 40 points with help from a dietitian
Before: 237 pounds
After: 175 pounds
It took Mario Valeri, an IT manager fromEdison,NJ, nearly 50 years to recognize that he lacked basic nutrition knowledge. A healthy size for most of his life, he started slowly gaining weight over the past decade. When he heard an acquaintance had lost weight with help from a dietitian he decided to give one a try.
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Mario was tired of feeling lethargic, and he was fed up with the constant need to buy bigger clothes.
Unwilling to try fad diets, he was searching for healthy food choices. Not knowing the size of a proper portion and leading a sedentary lifestyle exacerbated his weight gain.
In March 2010, he met with Lorraine Matthews-Antosiewicz, RD, who suggested he follow a daily diet consisting of five servings of grains (mostly whole grains), three servings of vegetables, two servings of fruits, three servings of low-fat dairy, and 5 ounces of protein. He stuck with the plan about 80% of the time. Antosiewicz does not advocate counting calories, though she designed the meal plan so Mario could lose 1 to 2 pounds a week consuming 1,800 calories a day.
He has Greek yogurt and fruit for breakfast, snacking on baby carrots and water between meals if he gets hungry. When he knows he and his wife are going out for dinner (usually every other night), he eats lighter meals during the day—and scales back at the restaurant. “Because we cut portions in half, I’ll have leftovers the next day [for lunch].” At home he makes a concerted effort to eat more vegetables and less meat.
Mario started losing weight slowly by followingLorraine’s food guidelines. She didn’t care if he walked outside, used the treadmill, or exercised to a DVD—he just needed to get moving! And he did. As he started activities like mowing the lawn, he noticed his weight began to drop faster. When he shifted from yard work to an hour each day on the elliptical, the pounds started flying off. “The challenge [with weight loss] is that it will take a lot longer than you think it’s going to,”Lorrainesays. “Mario was a good example of someone who was willing to pace himself.” (Video: Ramp up your calorie burn with this routine.)
His persistence paid off. Mario’s cholesterol dropped from 190 to 150 since his first meeting withLorraine. For now, the doctor wants to keep him on cholesterol medication based on to his family history.
Every day he tracks his weight and exercise habits. “Without exercise, the weight slowly creeps back up.”
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The multitude of compliments Mario has received about his weight loss—including one from a female friend 20 years younger—encourages him to keep up the good work. And he can fit into suits he had custom-made inHong Kongin the ’80s.
Be patient. “You first have to realize you did not put this weight on in 1 week, so you cannot expect to lose it in 1 week.”
Do it for you. “Your weight gain is like any other problem in life. You have to lose it for yourself and for your own health.