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Name: Genevieve Eisan
Her Weight Before: 247
Her Weight After: 155
Pounds Lost: 92
At Current Weight: 2 years
A few years ago, Genevieve Eisan, an aerobics instructor, weighed almost 250 pounds. "I told myself, 'You work out -- you can eat anything you want'," says the Arlington, Texas, resident. Learning more about calories and nutrition helped her drop 92 pounds. "I finally understood that exercise alone wasn't enough to keep me healthy."A 100-Pound Gain
As a teen, Genevieve weighed 137 pounds. In college, she "put on the freshman 15 -- and then some," she says, bingeing on fish and chips, muffins, and chocolate. "Once I started eating something I liked, I couldn't stop." After college, she began teaching aerobics three days a week. Still, after two pregnancies, she reached 247 pounds four years ago. That's when Genevieve got back some vacation photos. "I knew I was big, but I'd never had trouble leading a class," she says. "In the picture I was all bulges and rolls. It was a 'wow' moment for me."Calorie Checkup
Genevieve kept a food diary and was shocked to see that she was eating 3,000 to 4,000 calories a day. She went cold turkey on desserts and fried foods, traded processed foods for whole grains, and switched from soda to water. ("I used to think that liquid calories didn't count!") Later, she increased her teaching schedule to six classes a week and did kickboxing, Spinning, and strength training on her own. Within six months, she had shed 80 pounds. Over the next six months, she got her weight down to 155.
Now Genevieve makes a point of sharing her story. "After I showed a woman new to my class my before and after photos, she got teary and said, 'Thanks for helping me see that the effort is worth it.'"
The Diet: Breakfast is egg whites with low-fat cheese and fresh berries. Lunch: Stir-fried chicken or beef and vegetables. Dinner: Turkey, vegetables, and a salad. Snacks: Nuts, fruit, and low-fat string cheese.
Biggest Temptation: Dessert. "I used to finish a whole sheet cake by myself in one sitting. Now I eat sugar-free Popsicles or Jell-O and feel just as satisfied."
What She Couldn't Wait to Wear: Strapless dresses. "I always avoided them because my underarm fat would jiggle; now, they make me feel really feminine."
Originally published in Fitness magazine, January 2006.