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Nicole Churco, office manager, Schuylerville, New York
In high school and college Nicole played soccer and ate high-calorie meals to stay fueled. She burned off all that pasta and pizza on the soccer field, but when she hung up her cleats, she didn't change her diet. Five years later Nicole weighed 210 pounds.
Last February, Nicole made plans to visit her hometown. The realization that she would have to face people who knew her 70 pounds lighter was a wake-up call. "It struck me how my weight was hampering my life. I wasn't excited to reconnect with old friends, because I was unhappy with my body," Nicole says. She took a Day One picture of herself, posted it at her desk at work, where she often snacked, and set a goal to reach 150 pounds.
Nicole first vowed to tackle her oversize portions -- no small feat, because her mom served up heaping helpings. "I had to teach myself what three ounces of chicken looks like," Nicole says, so she started using a food scale. She also cut back on processed and fast foods, red meat, and cheese.
Although she was no longer involved in organized sports, Nicole had stayed active by Rollerblading, hiking, and walking her dog. "I didn't change my fitness routine much; my weight loss is a testament to the impact of a nutritious diet," she says. But Nicole noticed that the more pounds she dropped, the easier and more fun workouts were.
Five months later Nicole had gone from a size 16 to a 6. "Now when I shop I like what I see in the dressing-room mirror," she confides. Good thing, because she'll be trying on a lot of dresses: Her boyfriend of five years just proposed. "I'm marrying an amazing man who loves me for who I am," she says.
What Worked for Me
Skinny side dish: "Black beans sautéed in olive oil with onion, garlic, and cumin."
On my fitness bucket list: "To hike all 46 of the Adirondack High Peaks, some of which are more than 5,000 feet tall."
Produce pick: "Kiwi -- I peel, chop, and add it to my morning oatmeal."
Most embarrassing music I work out to: "Any '80s hair band. Bon Jovi is my favorite."
Stay-slim strategy: "I took a picture every time I lost 10 pounds. Having physical proof of my transformation kept me motivated to reach my goal."