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"I Cut Portions and Dropped the Baby Weight"

  • Dawn Scrutchins, beforeshe lost 35 pounds. To see what she looks like now, see page 2.

  • Dawn Scrutchins, now svelte at a healthy 135 pounds.

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"I Did It!"

Name: Dawn Scrutchins
Age: 29
Height: 5'6"
Her Weight Before: 170
Her Weight After: 135
Pounds Lost: 35
At Current Weight: 3 years

Having two babies within a year of each other left Dawn Scrutchins carrying an extra 50 pounds. She wasn't too worried, though. "I'd never had trouble staying in shape, even though I didn't exercise. I figured my body would bounce back," says the retail manager from Dublin, Georgia. But four years later, she was still overweight. "I was finishing school and caring for my girls. With no time to cook, I lived on supersized fast-food meals."

Crazed by Cravings

Dawn weighed 120 pounds until she got pregnant. "You're supposed to eat a little more when you're expecting, but I went overboard," she says. "I craved sub sandwiches loaded with meat, cheese, and dressing — and ate them two at a time." After her youngest was born, she was up to 170.

Then Dawn saw a photo of herself sitting on a sofa. "My face was round, my thighs were huge. I realized that my metabolism had changed. I was going to have to start exercising if I didn't want to look that way forever."

Taking Action

That day, Dawn bought a treadmill and a few Pilates tapes and started working out five days a week. "I had to get up at 5 a.m. to fit it in — but it was worth it," she says. She also ate more roast chicken and lean pork, substituted water for soda, and treated herself to cookies or doughnuts once a week instead of every day. Within five months, she was down to 135 pounds.

Dawn's daughters, now 11 and 12, have also benefited from her lifestyle changes. "We talk about exercise and nutrition all the time," she says. "I'm glad I can be a healthy role model for them."

Dawn's Weight-Loss Plan

The Diet: Breakfast is hard-boiled egg whites and oatmeal. At lunch, Dawn has roast chicken and a salad. For dinner, she eats pork chops, brown rice, and green beans. Dawn snacks on prunes, yogurt, and nuts.

The Workout: Fifty minutes of cardio, usually walking or running, and 30 minutes of strength training or Pilates at home five days a week.

Biggest Temptation: Anything her mom bakes. "I especially love her amazing chocolate cake. It would be impossible for me to give it up, so I eat it on special occasions."

What She Couldn't Wait to Wear: A fitted black jumpsuit. "It hugs every curve. I never would have worn something so clingy when I was heavy, but I love the way it looks on me now!"

Originally published in Fitness magazine, March 2006.