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Now, She Has a Whole New, Old Wardrobe

She Lost 30 Pounds by Cutting Fat Intake and Making a Serious Commitment to Exercise

September 15, 1997|PAMELA BROWN-SCHMITZ

I had two choices last winter as I looked for something in my closet to wear. I either had to throw out all the clothes that no longer fit or start taking off 30 pounds immediately.

Not even my high school reunion last summer motivated me as much as that exact moment in my closet when I decided to begin my quest to lose those pounds.

I eliminated my total fat intake to less than 20 grams a day. This was easy as I took out butter, cheese and oil and began to cook with fresh, steamed vegetables, baked chicken and fish and fruit. For snacks, I would go to anything with less than 3 grams of fat. I ate portion-controlled meals.

Thus, shopping was an essential component of my diet, but worth the extra time.

Now when I get a dish that is loaded with fats (oil or butter), I cannot eat it, as I have grown accustomed to eating without the fat. There are times I do allow myself a dessert or a small pat of butter on my bread. I feel if one totally eliminates everything, failure will slowly creep in.

The most essential ingredient to my weight loss is not related to food, but to my commitment to exercise every day. When I read the request for this article, I was reading on a comfortable chair and anticipated a leisurely afternoon of reading. Yet your article motivated me to get my exercise in for that day as I have done for the past few months.

I have purchased "The Firm" videocassettes--they have interval weight training along with aerobics for a sustained hour of rigorous exercises.

I work up a sweat in my own home. The results are visible, and I am wearing all my clothes I never thought I could get into before. (I also go into my 18-year-old's closets and borrow hers at times!)

I never thought of myself as overweight, but after many of my friends and acquaintances commented on how well I look I must have been kidding myself before. My health and outlook on life is now filled with a bounce in my walk and the knowledge that I am fit and feeling a zest in my 40s I have not had in decades.

My health will continue to be great if I limit the fat, drink lots of water and exercise.

Hearing how great I look from others is only a portion of how healthy, energetic and good I feel within.

So many of us tend to look for help in the form of pills or alcohol to enhance our lives. I feel great and able to handle life so much better now in the shape I have put myself in.


The Vital Statistics

Name: Pamela Brown-Schmitz

Age: 44

Occupation: Administrative assistant

Old Weight: 154 pounds

New Weight: 124 pounds

Time It Took to Get There: Four to five months

Feel Like Sharing Your Success Story?

Losing weight is as individual as gaining weight. Do you have a story on how you got in shape and stayed there? If so, we'd like to hear from you with a 500-word essay listing what worked in terms of diet, exercise, encouragement / support as well as your emotional and physical changes.

We'd also like you to send us full-body color photos of you, before and after.

Send essay and photos to "How I Did It," Health, Los Angeles Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, CA 90053, and include daytime and evening phone numbers. No phone calls, please. Submissions cannot be returned.

In addition to publication, winners will receive a Los Angeles Times gym bag and a gift certificate for a free pair of athletic shoes of your choice, redeemable at any Big 5 Sporting Goods store.

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