“I lost 165 pounds!”

She’s half the woman she used to be — in a good way.

Oxygen - - SUCCESS STORY - By Lara McGlashan, MFA, CPT, Fit­ness Editor

Home­town: Spring­field, Penn­syl­va­nia

Age: 38

Height: 5’1”

Old weight:

298 lb



Take-away tid­bit: “Keep a di­ary of your achieve­ments:

Write down the pos­i­tive dif­fer­ences you see in your trans­for­ma­tion. That will give you an im­mense sense

of achieve­ment and will em­power you to do more!”

Imag­ine not be­ing able to bend over to pick up a box from the foor, or get­ting winded walk­ing from your of­fice to the re­stroom, or hav­ing to wear an oxy­gen mask at night be­cause of obe­sity-re­lated sleep ap­nea. This was the re­al­ity for Gina Canakis, who, un­der the pres­sure of work­ing two jobs, at­tend­ing real es­tate school and car­ing for her dis­abled fa­ther, turned to food for com­fort.

Not help­ing mat­ters one bit was the free food ofered lit­er­ally all day long at her job with Mer­rill Lynch. Canakis took full ad­van­tage of the nev­erend­ing bufet, indulging in candy, cake, pizza, hoa­gies, pasta — noth­ing was of-lim­its. “I was com­forted by food be­cause of the wor­ries in my life,” she says. “My spirit be­gan to evap­o­rate as I got big­ger and big­ger. I gave up and thought about my­self last.” Her list of ail­ments slowly ex­panded to in­clude acid re­fux, eczema and high choles­terol.

Canakis had never been a small girl and had con­stantly strug­gled with her weight, but over the course of fve years, she gained an in­cred­i­ble 150 pounds. Des­per­ate, she sought the ad­vice of a bariatric sur­geon. He in­structed her to lose 10 per­cent of her body­weight nat­u­rally frst be­fore they could even talk about the pro­ce­dure. In the mean­time, Canakis was laid of from her job, which was pos­si­bly the best thing that could have hap­pened to her: no more free bufet and no more ex­cuses not to eat right.

Soon af­ter­ward, her fa­ther passed away be­cause of obe­sity-re­lated is­sues. “This was a huge turn­ing point for me and mo­ti­vated me to move for­ward,” she says. “I wanted to take charge of my life and be­gan to put my weight-loss puz­zle to­gether.”

With the help of the coun­selors at Jenny Craig, Canakis changed her eat­ing habits one day at a time, and she slowly eased her way out of fast food and pasta to healthy or­ganic meals and whole foods. She lost 64 pounds with diet alone, then was ready to try the gym. “I had a good ex­pe­ri­ence do­ing car­dio — my speed in­creased as I got health­ier, and my conf­dence in­creased as I worked out more,” she says. “Even when I was not in the mood to work out, I vi­su­al­ized my­self as an ac­tive lady who looked fab­u­lous and mo­ti­vated my­self to go.” Ul­ti­mately, she de­cided against the bariatric surgery be­cause she was hav­ing such suc­cess los­ing weight on her own.

Two years later, she lost an in­cred­i­ble 165 pounds — more than half her body­weight. She now trains fve days a week do­ing car­dio and is ready to try her hand at lift­ing weights to shape up. “My ad­vice is to be pos­i­tive, pa­tient and con­sis­tent,” she says. “Learn as much as you can ev­ery day and fgure out what works best for you.” £

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.