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Name: Barbara Marie Cuadrado
Before Weight: 350 pounds
How I Gained It: Since I was little I always had trouble with my weight. My mom started to try to get me into losing weight when I was 6. She took me to doctors, Jenny Craig. It would work, and I would lose weight, but I gained it right back because I love food. Every time I gained it back, I gained a little extra, so I would get bigger, and it was more difficult to lose it. It got worse throughout high school. I was very popular at school even with my weight. I had a lot of friends, I was part of a volleyball team and I was active most of the time. But I was around 280 pounds by the time I graduated high school. It got to a point where I just stop caring.
My self-esteem was on the ground. I even left college after two years because I hated walking through the hallways and feeling the looks, the laughs and the comments.
I started working as a casino dealer. My shift was from 8 p.m. until 4 a.m., so I started sleeping all day. At that point I was 350 pounds. But because I was so exhausted, I had less time to eat my typical four slices of pizza at breakfast, three pieces of chicken with rice and beans at lunch and two pork chops and mashed potatoes for dinner. I started eating only one meal a day, and by the time I was offered a great job as a dealer in Connecticut, I was 282 pounds.
Breaking Point: I had been dating a man who was happy with the way I was, so weight stopped being all that important. But then we broke up. I was so hurt, I told myself I was going to lose the weight once and for all.
How I Lost It: Motivated by the anger, sadness and frustration that I felt, I went on a diet and started using the Pilates workout machine that my ex left behind. A healthy diet and 30 minutes every day faithfully on that machine helped me go from a size 26 to a size 6.
I was used to a diet high in fats and carbs, so it was hard to cut those out. I ate no fried food at all. I went from pizza for breakfast to cereal with milk. I cut down my portion sizes at lunch and had tuna sandwiches for dinner. I never cared about calories before, but now every time I decide to eat something the first thing I do is turn that box and go right to the nutrition facts to see what I’m getting myself into.
After I lost all that weight, I gained 80 pounds when I was pregnant with my daughter and 55 with my son. I thought I wasn't going to be able to lose the weight again. It wasn’t as easy as before -- maybe because of my age. I was dieting and hopping on the treadmill once a day, and it was still tough to get rid of those pounds. By December 2012 I was 200 pounds, and today I'm 145. This time, I'm a size 4. I'm very happy. It's nice to be able to go up a set of stairs and not lose your breath doing so.
The motivation of losing weight and the birth of my daughter also helped better me as a person. I left the casino, finished college, graduated magna cum laude and I actually have all the credits for the CPA test. Life as I know it is good.
After Weight: 145 pounds
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