"I Did It!"
Name: Eliana Martinez
Her Weight Before: 170
Her Weight After: 140
Pounds Lost: 30
At Current Weight: 3 years
Eliana Martinez saw plenty of her relatives gain weight and slow down as they aged. "So when I hit 170 pounds in my early 30s, I figured it was normal," says the stay-at-home mom in San Lorenzo, California. But once she cut back on fatty foods and started working out, she was surprised at how quickly she regained her energy. "I look and feel better today than I did 10 years ago," she says.
The Car Factor
Eliana weighed 145 at age 25. "At the time, we had only one car, so I walked everywhere," she says. When her husband, Tony, got a better job, they bought another car and started eating out more, mostly burgers and fries. "I gained 25 pounds in five years. It was so gradual that I didn't realize that it was due to the change in our lifestyle," she says. Then Tony developed high blood pressure. "He had gotten heavier too and decided to change his diet and start exercising so he wouldn't have to take drugs," she says. "To support him, I joined him."
The couple bought some dumbbells and turned their garage into a home gym. "So nothing else would interfere, we exercised at 5:30 a.m. every other day, jumping rope and lifting weights," she says. Eliana also changed the family's diet, switching from red meat to chicken and fish, adding more vegetables, and cutting out fast food. In five months, she dropped 30 pounds. (Tony lost 65.)
Now Eliana's life is nonstop activity. "Our family Rollerblades, hikes, and plays tennis together," she says. "I actually feel tired if I don't exercise!"
Eliana's Healthy Eating Plan
The Diet: Breakfast is cottage cheese with fresh fruit. Lunch: grilled chicken salad with low-fat dressing. Dinner: turkey meatballs with brown rice and steamed green beans. Snacks: fig or peanut butter snack bars and skim milk.
The Workout: Eliana alternates 30 minutes of cardio (jumping rope or walking briskly on the treadmill) with 30 minutes of strength training six days a week.
Biggest Temptation: Her grandmother's high-calorie Panamanian cooking. "I make sure I go to visit her on Saturdays — my cheat day — to get my fried-plantain fix!"
What She Couldn't Wait to Wear: Low-cut jeans. "I avoided formfitting pants for years. Now I can wear them without being embarrassed by my belly!"