The People Weight-Loss Challenge!
NOEL GARCIA 329 LBS.
REBECCA SKROBACK 221 LBS.
GREG NOVOA 256 LBS.
YVONNE BERETTA 306 LBS.
GIORDANO MAURO-RHODIO 286 LBS.
*Based on a 2005 study by researchers at the University of Miami School of Medicine
27% of male truck drivers are obese
LIVES IN Naples, Fla.
"Truck drivers are like hippos!" says Mauro-Rhodio, who covers about 600 miles during a typical 10-hour shift, delivering food and other products alongside his Shih Tzu dog Christopher. "We're fat guys." Blame the truck-stop buffet—where Mauro-Rhodio daily fills up on a pound of his favorite fare, from fried chicken to pasta. "The food is greasy but filling," says Mauro-Rhodio, whose waistline swelled from 32 inches to 44 during his 10 years on the job. "We need something to sustain us for hours." Along with finding healthier options on the road, the 5'11" divorced dad hopes to get back into swimming. "I have been in Naples for two years," he says, "and I've never touched the beach!"
27% of female nurse's aides are obese
LIVES IN Woodbine, Md.
Along with stressful 911 pages, Macaraeg gets a 411 buzz every time a coworker brings a cake into the break room of the Johns Hopkins Children's Center pediatric ER where she works. "There is always bad stuff to graze on," says the married nurse's aide, who relies on the sugar rush from homemade goodies, large sodas and treats from the community candy cabinet to get through her 12-hour shifts. "When you're running between patients, you stuff whatever you can in your mouth." Which explains why she has gone from a size 4 in 1999 to a size 16. "I'm tired of it. My arms look like big ham hocks!" says Macaraeg, who wants to slim down her 5'2" body to a size 8. "I'm done with looking how I look right now."
28% of male bus drivers are obese
LIVES IN San Francisco
Behind the wheel, the 5'9" Novoa says he is mentally alert, "reacting to people driving and walking." But physically? "My metabolism is on cruise control, not burning off anything. I'm just sitting most of the day!" The married father of four has gained more than 50 lbs. since he started his job two years ago, prompting him to start making some healthy changes, like swapping caffeinated drinks ("I love soda," he admits) for carbonated water and bringing fresh fruit to snack on during breaks from his 8- to 10-hour nighttime routes as a city bus driver. "With my schedule, I just work and sleep. I want to be more active," he says. "I'm so eager to start this."
27% of female cooks are obese
LIVES IN West Allis, Wis.
As a part-time caterer for Shully's Cuisine, Skroback focuses on four food groups: "rich, heavy, ooey, gooey," says the 5'5 1/2" cook, who specializes in events like weddings and balls. Another problem: The mom of three spends long hours in the kitchen "not getting any cardio," she says. "But it's hard to find energy to work out." With hopes of losing 70 lbs. (since 2000, she's only been able to lose 20 lbs. before gaining it all back), Skroback wants to prove that "someone can be surrounded by this but still be healthy."
28% of male law enforcement officers are obese
LIVES IN Roseburg, Ore.
What takes the edge off for a sheriff's deputy who just confronted an armed gunman or answered an emergency call? Ice cream. "I have a major weakness for vanilla ice cream and chocolate chip cookies," admits Garcia, who works for the Douglas County sheriff's department. "My job breeds unhealthy behavior. It manifests differently for people—I happen to eat a lot." Now the married 6'3" dad of two daughters—whose waistline has crept up to 42 inches—has his eyes set on two goals: running a 10K and "I'd really like to be comfortable with my shirt off," he admits. "I'd like to mow the grass and not feel self-conscious."
27% of female cab drivers are obese
LIVES IN New York City
Beretta spends a stressful 12 or more hours a day, seven days a week, navigating crammed city streets. Her schedule makes it hard to squeeze in gym time: She hasn't been in four years! "I need the money, so I'd rather be driving," she says. Another hurdle? Slowing down long enough for a healthy meal. Instead, the 5'5" Beretta turns to convenience food and finishes off nine snack-sized bags of potato chips per day. Up 100 lbs. since she became a cabbie four years ago, Beretta is eager for a clean start. "I don't want to have a heart attack at the wheel," she says.
UPDATE ON OUR MISSISSIPPI 8
THREE MONTHS AFTER THEIR BIG REVEAL, CHECK OUT WHO HAS KEPT OFF THE WEIGHT—AND WHO HAS LOST EVEN MORE!
LOST 17 MORE LBS.
Down to 179 lbs., Burnett has met her weight loss goal, which was to get below 185 lbs. Still working out three times a week, she says she has a new goal for 2009: "Toning up!"
SHE LOST 10 MORE LBS.
MISTY & JASON NALL
Misty is down to 217 lbs. by hitting the gym three times a week. And her husband? He declined to speak for this story.
LOST 7 MORE LBS.
Thanks in part to her daily 3- to 5-mile walks, Jackson now weighs in at 196. She'd like to lose another 35 lbs. but says, "I'm happy where I'm at."
STILL 176 LBS.
The 5'3" former beauty queen has maintained her 66-lb. loss. "Some days are tough," she says of exercising. "But I'm like 'Suck it up! You've come too far!'"
DOWN ONE MORE SIZE
The single accountant still works out five days a week—and still wants to meet Mr. Right. "I'm waiting on that date!" she says. "I have more confidence now."
The mother of three—who lost 21 lbs. to weigh in at 253 lbs. in late September—didn't return calls to participate in this update.
STILL 208 LBS.
The bad news: He broke his foot in November so "I've lost momentum," says Dyess, who wants to shed 10 more pounds. The good news: "I haven't gained any weight!"