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WEIGHT LOSS: A HOW-TO GUIDE

Her version of just doing it

June 09, 2008|Jeannine Stein

A car accident in her freshman year of college forced Janelle Webb to put the brakes on an active lifestyle. A serious leg injury put her on crutches for five months, and her weight ballooned, eventually topping off at 254 pounds. Three years later she had a weight loss epiphany, eventually slimming down to 132. The 32-year-old mother of one from Bakersfield works as a counselor for WIC, a federally funded nutrition program for women, infants and children, a job in which she says she can be a role model.

Life-changing moment: "I had been at 254 for three years. One morning in May of 1997 I thought, 'This is it, I'm done, I'm going to lose weight. I'm going to stop eating second portions' -- and I went back to the gym that day. I lost 20 pounds the first month, and I didn't tell anyone, I just did it. I felt it was something I needed to do.

What worked: Webb began being more mindful of her eating habits: "I really had to train myself to think, 'Am I hungry, or am I eating out of habit or because I want something?' . . . I scaled back on portions and how many times I ate during the day."

She exercises consistently, doing an hour of cardio daily and adding weights three days a week. "Without the exercise," Webb says, "I definitely think I would be gaining weight."

Tips and tricks: "When I go to a restaurant, I'll look at the menu on the Web ahead of time. Even if you're not counting calories, it's good to figure out what you're going to order."

Lessons learned: "I can tell when food starts to look really good that I'm hungry, and I just need to eat a little bread, and then I'm fine. It took me awhile to get to the point where I recognized that. If I start to crave something, I just need to eat."

The lowdown: "I definitely have a handle on it, but I'm never not worried about gaining it back. My twin sister will make cookies for her husband and kids, and she knows she can eat a cookie and be done. So you have to know what works for you and what doesn't. I won't ever gain the weight back."

-- Jeannine Stein

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