updated 06/18/2007 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 06/18/2007 AT 01:00 AM EDT
SHE GRANTED HER OWN BIRTHDAY WISH TO LOSE WEIGHT—AND STILL HAD HER CAKE TOO
'It's humbling that I got to 226, but it's exhilarating to say, "Wow, I did this. I took the weight off!"'
Growing up in "an Italian family where you're eating too little if you're not going for the second plate," Kim Norton could down half of a box of pasta no problem. By age 34 she hit 226 lbs. and couldn't climb a single flight of stairs without feeling winded. Making a change "was my 35th-birthday present to myself."
HOW SHE DID IT
In July 2005 she joined Weight Watchers, which allowed her 1,300 calories a day in carefully measured portions. "At first I thought, 'You've got to be kidding me—who eats this small amount?'" says Norton, 5'4", who typically had four egg whites and whole wheat toast for breakfast, a vegetable-filled tortilla for lunch and baked fish, brown rice and green beans for dinner. The vice president of an assisted living company also weight-trained and took 45-minute walks in her Round Hill, Va., neighborhood four days a week.
After a year and a half of sticking to the program, Norton reached 124 lbs.—and splurged a little at a local restaurant. "I finished dinner with half of a chocolate soufflé dessert," she says. "It was wonderful."
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