"A Women-Only Gym Helped Me Drop 35 Pounds"
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Fitness

"A Women-Only Gym Helped Me Drop 35 Pounds"

Margaret Robinson struggled with her weight for years -- until a women-only gym caught her eye. There she found the help and support she needed to drop 35 pounds.

"I Did It!"

Name: Margaret Robinson
Age: 28
Height: 5'3"
Her Weight Before: 160
Her Weight After: 125
Pounds Lost: 35
At Current Weight: 15 months

From the time she was a teenager, Margaret Robinson had trouble finding flattering clothes. "I live in the South, so you can imagine how hot I got wearing black pants all the time," says the entrepreneur from Charlotte, North Carolina. "But since I've dropped 35 pounds, I'm comfortable, even when I'm in something that shows a little skin."

I Was So Self-Conscious

At 14, Margaret weighed 130 pounds -- "not fat, but bigger than my friends," she says. Her insecurity led her to start dieting. "I begged my mom to buy me Slim-Fast. When she wouldn't, I cut way back on calories during the day, but hunger drove me to overeat at dinner," she says. The habit stuck, and she reached 160 pounds by age 25.

Around that time, Margaret spotted a billboard for a women-only gym and joined. "Exercise had always intimidated me because I didn't know which machines to use or how to use them. Here I found people willing to help and support me." She lost seven pounds in three months.

Beating My Bingeing

"Once I started reading more about nutrition on the Web, I evened out my calorie intake," says Margaret. She ate five small meals a day, making sure each contained a little protein to help her stay full. She kept going to the gym and added running twice a week. Five months later, she was down to 125 pounds.

Margaret's success inspired her to buy her own women-only gym franchise. "I love that I can help others get past exercise phobias -- and the fact that I'll never have an excuse not to work out again!"

Margaret's Weight-Loss Plan

The Diet: Breakfast is oatmeal and scrambled egg whites, followed by yogurt and an apple. Lunch: chicken, a vegetable, and brown rice, then later a few slices of turkey and string cheese. Dinner: salmon, spinach, and new potatoes.

The Workout: Circuit training four times a week for 30 minutes and running twice a week for 45 minutes.

Biggest Temptation: Auntie Anne's Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels. "At first I had to stop going to the mall to avoid eating them. Now I satisfy my craving for something sweet after a shopping spree with a vanilla latte with sugar-free syrup and nonfat milk."

What She Couldn't Wait to Wear: A two-piece bathing suit. "I wouldn't be caught dead in one before because I thought I looked humongous from the back."

Originally published in Fitness magazine, February 2006.

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