Now 129 lbs., Size 4
When 19-year-old Tina Marron married her husband, Richard, in 1990, she learned that, at 130 lbs., he weighed 20 lbs. less than his 5'4" bride. Although Richard, now 30 and a carpenter, wasn't fazed -- "I fell in love with her the way she was," he says -- the disparity devastated Tina. "It just wasn't right," she says.
Still, Marron kept gaining -- often taking a box of doughnuts to the bank where she works as a financial services rep and eating them all by the end of the day. In 1996, when she became pregnant, Marron ate continuously to quell her nausea. "The more I ate, the better I felt," she says. Six months after the birth of her only child, Nicholas, Marron weighed 195 lbs. and was still wearing maternity clothes.
Shortly after, at a mall near her Houston home, Marron, 32, recalls, "I tried to buy a size-16 dress and it was too tight. I said, 'I'm fat. I've got to do something to change it.' " She put herself on the Atkins diet in December 1998, restricting carbs and eating high-fat foods like bacon and sausage. She began walking every day too. At first, she says, "I could only go for about 15 minutes." Two months later she was working out with Denise Austin fitness videos.
By May Marron had lost 30 lbs. but had tired of Atkins. "I wanted more variety," she says. Richard's mom, Mary, 51, had joined Weight Watchers, so Marron followed the plan with her. Meals consisted mostly of vegetables, grilled meats and fruit smoothies, and cravings were satisfied with sugar-free chocolate bars and low-fat ice cream. In April 2000 she joined a gym and added weight training to her routine. By September she was down to a svelte size 4 and 129 lbs.
Marron has successfully maintained the loss. "I'm so proud of her," says Leah Capello, 23, her youngest sister. That means a lot to Marron; Leah and her other sisters Anita Herring, 35, and Lisa Alvarez, 29, were all "beanpoles," she says. "I was the only chubby one." Now "I notice all the looks she keeps getting," says Richard. But there's another kind of attention Marron gets that means just as much to her. "A lady at the gym," she says, "told me I was her inspiration."
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