LEWISTOWN - Four special guests took the stage Tuesday evening at the Mifflin County Meltdown meeting, to share their success stories about losing weight and keeping it off long-term.
"Buda," of CHIX 105 FM, Debby Zurinski, of Wilkes-Barre, Yvonne Boozel, of McVeytown, and Angel Vega, of Burnham, took turns at the podium in Mifflin County High School's auditorium. Their stories were slightly different, but the underlying message was the same: take small steps and never give up.
Buda lost 135 pounds in just under two years. He became aware of his weight while he was playing in a band, and after shows he would be exhausted while other band members were still full of energy.
Sentinel photo by BRADLEY KREITZER
Debby Zurinski holds up a pair of pants she used to wear before losing more than 85 lbs. as she shares her personal story about weight loss Tuesday night at the Mifflin County Meltdown meeting in Highland Park.
"I've cut a lot of things off my diet," he said, noting that he no longer drinks soda and he watches his sodium intake carefully. He drinks 100 ounces of water each day.
Buda recommended that people who are trying to lose weight should "mix up flavors." For example, instead of using dressing on salads, which add unnecessary calories and fat, try squeezing a lemon wedge over the dish instead. When eating steamed veggies, Buda said he adds flavor with hot sauce, which is generally low in calories, and a little can go a long way.
Zurinsky drew the line with her weight when she was moved to a larger seat on a rollercoaster. Separated from her friends and embarrassed, she realized if she didn't do something about her weight, she would never have the family and children she wanted. She started small, with buying healthier groceries. Then she started walking for exercise on her lunch break. She started acting the way she thought a healthy person would act, and lost more than 85 pounds.
"Eventually, the person I was and the person I wanted to be caught up to each other," she said.
Boozel began her own endeavor for health reasons, after losing her father suddenly to heart disease. Not wanting her children to grow up ashamed of their mother, or without one entirely, she secretly began seeing a dietician in Feb. 2010. She now eats better and exercises regularly, running 5Ks and coaching basketball.
Vega's weight loss began in Jan. 2010, when her husband asked her to go for a walk with him in Derry Park. She went.
"My knees hurt, my hips hurt. I was 37 years old, getting out of breath running up and down stairs to do laundry," she said.
Their walks became interspersed with jogging, from one pole along the path to the next, then two poles at a time, until Vega could officially say, "I'm a runner."
"I started to believe in myself because I could run farther than I ever thought I could," she said. She lost between 90 and 95 pounds all told, depending on the day, and credits great friends with helping her stay focused. Now, Vega is a certified Zumba instructor and will be running the Pittsburgh Marathon on May 6.
For more information on the Mifflin County Meltdown, call 248-6713.