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"I Lost 85 Pounds and Doubled My Energy"

  • Misty Harris, before she lost85 pounds. To see what shelooks like now, see page 2.

  • Misty Harris, now fit and slender at 125 pounds.

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"I Did It!"

Name: Misty Harris
Age: 35
Height: 5'2"
Her Weight Before: 210 pounds
Her Weight After: 125 pounds
Pounds Lost: 85
At Current Weight: 2 years

As a working mom with four kids, Misty Harris lived for years on fried chicken, pizza, and Twinkies. "I didn't have the time or the energy to cook," says the nurse from Cullman, Alabama. By her early 30s, she carried 210 pounds on her five-foot-two-inch frame. "As a nurse, I knew the health risks of obesity," says Misty. "Still, it was tough to give up takeout." Then, three years ago, she discovered that eating healthfully needn't be difficult — and dropped 85 pounds.

"I Outweighed My Husband"

Though Misty grew up eating high-calorie Southern fare, team sports kept her at a trim 120 pounds. After high school, however, she became less active. By the time she married and had four kids in six years, her weight had climbed to 210 pounds. "I realized that I weighed more than my husband — a coach who's six-foot-three! Something had to give."

Staying Healthy on the Go

Exercise seemed too time-consuming, so Misty tackled her diet first. "I stocked up on healthy grab-and-go foods — fruit, baby carrots, low-fat cheese, and instant oatmeal," she says. Instead of ordering takeout, she'd bake turkey or fish. Six months later, she was nearly 50 pounds thinner. When the scale stopped budging, Misty joined a gym and began working out for 30 minutes five mornings a week. Soon she started running and lost another 35 pounds in 18 months.

Today, Misty has the stamina for long weekend bike rides and family hikes. "My kids are into sports, but they have trouble keeping up with me."

Misty's Weight-Loss Plan

The Diet: Breakfast is toast with peanut butter and a piece of fruit. For lunch, Misty has grilled chicken salad sprinkled with cheese. Dinner is baked chicken or fish, steamed broccoli, and baked sweet potato. She snacks on mini rice cakes, nuts, fruit, and yogurt.

The Workout: Misty runs or Spins for an hour three times a week and weight trains for 30 minutes three times a week.

Biggest Temptation: Birthday cake. "With four kids, I'm always at a party. So I work out a bit more on those days and treat myself to a small piece."

What She Couldn't Wait to Wear: A sleek swimsuit. "When I was heavy, I wore the ones with the flounced skirt — now, I don't have to hide my thighs."

NEXT: Find a healthy recipe or complete diet plan that works for you!

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, March 2006.