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How This Doctor Lost 176 Pounds
Ali Zentner

WHO:Dr. Ali Zentner, internal medicine and obesity doctor

AGE: 42

CITY: Vancouver

By The Numbers: 326 at my heaviest, and currently 150. Height: 5'4''

The Weight Gain: I struggled with my weight ever since I was a kid. When I was nine years old, my mother took me to see a dietitian. I weighed 120 pounds, and the dietitian told me that if I stayed the same weight for the rest of my life, I’d be fine.

Food always had control over me — I would think about it all the time. I would argue I’d been dieting for decades. I started a variety of programs though high school and my weight fluctuated, and in university, it really started to climb. By the time I was in medical school, I was almost 200 pounds. When I finished I was 260 and when I finished my residency I was 300.

Make no mistake, as a physician who studies this disease [obesity], I definitely know I had a genetic disposition. How we relate to food has a really complex physiology, but you can’t discount the environment I engaged in. I was a really sedentary person, specifically through residency and medical school. I was definitely someone who did not eat properly, which was fascinating because I knew what to eat.

The Final Straw: The only story I can really remember is that I was in residency and I bought a ticket for one of those home lotteries and won an elliptical trainer. I’d love to tell you I took the elliptical home and put it in my room and boom! But it was probably months before I got on it for five minutes and I thought I was going to die. And then I thought "I’ll just do five minutes again tomorrow." Within a few weeks I started to write down what I was eating, so I started to make gradual changes.

I didn't lose 176 pounds in three years — the bulk of my weight I lost was in the first four years (120 pounds) and the remaining 50 or so has been since then.

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