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FITNESS | HOW I DID IT / DEL HUNTER-WHITE

Her Mission? Accomplished

She wanted to be a size 12. She met that goal and more by exercising . . . and not dieting.

September 29, 1997|DEL HUNTER-WHITE | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

On Oct. 21, 1995, the word "girth" changed my life.

I had been using the same head shot for more than eight years and decided it was time to get new pictures. As an actor it's important that your "business card" truly represent who you are.

Of course, I had no idea how revealing this photo session would turn out to be.

To start, the photographer suggested I not wear a vest because "it will only accentuate your girth, and that would not be a pretty picture, honey." I smiled, selected another outfit and bravely entered his studio to begin the photo session.

Adjusting the lights, he chirped, "Honey, turn your body slightly to the side. We want to show your face, not your girth." By this time, I was not amused, but I was in denial.

The denial continued as I dispiritedly dropped the proofs from my photo session on my agent's desk. She scanned them, looked at me and said, "Sweetie, what can I say? You're fat."

As I burst into tears, she continued, "This is not necessarily a bad thing. You could add another 20 pounds and go out for character roles."

I had a choice: Lose weight, or gain weight and audition only for the "big black mama screaming in the hall" roles. The decision was easy.

In January 1996, I hired a personal trainer. My goal was to be a size 12 by my birthday in August. My trainer, Lisa, designed a comprehensive three-day-a-week weight-training program and nutritional guidelines for me. But the most important component of my weight-loss program--the cardio part--I had to do myself.

I rode the Venice bike path every day. In the beginning, I had to stop and rest many times, but after only a few weeks I could do an entire 12-mile stretch at a steady pace without stopping.

Lisa counseled me on the importance of cross-training, so my cardio exercise changed daily. I would either do the bike path, hike, treadmill or StairMaster.

I did not diet. In fact, I had to eat more. I needed the fuel for my workout schedule. But I watched my fat intake. I became conscious of what and when I ate. A typical day's schedule would be: yam and protein drink for breakfast; chicken, tuna or turkey with veggies and a carbohydrate for lunch; and an early dinner of chicken or fish with veggies.

I allowed myself a glass of wine with dinner--a girl's gotta have some wicked pleasures.

On my birthday--Aug. 24, 1996--I wasn't a size 12 . . . I was a 10!

As I prepared to celebrate my birthday this year, I celebrated the fact that I had embraced a "conscious living lifestyle"--and the loss of 70 pounds of girth!

The Vital Statistics

Name: Del Hunter-White

Age: 41

Occupation: Writer-actress

Old Weight: 220 pounds

New Weight: 150 pounds

Time It Took to Get There: 14 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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