Teachers drop pounds, gain confidence

Teachers drop pounds, gain confidence




By Mary Presley

Lane teachers have been shedding pounds while using different techniques to accomplish their own personal goals.

PE teacher, Mr. Lollino used to weigh 396 pounds, but has lost close to 140 pounds gradually over the last five years, 70 pounds over the last year alone.

“I was a Big Mac away from 400 pounds and that’s when I saw myself and said ‘this looks disgusting and I want to do something about it’,” said Lollino.

In taking action to lose weight, Lollino utilized the elliptical machines in the fitness room and weight room four to five times a week. He also began to eat smaller portions and eliminated all the sugars from his diet.

“Portion control is huge. I would have a little bowl of something as oppose to a huge dish of something. I stopped drinking pop and stopped eating a lot of sweets and tried to limit my fried foods,” Lollino said.

Lollino points out that a key component to controlling weight is only eating until you are not hungry anymore.

“After having two or three bites of something you’re really not hungry anymore. You just want to eat what’s in front of you. When you eat until you’re not hungry anymore, it could be pretty satisfying,” Lollino said.

Before losing weight, Lollino had to deal with emotional side-effects of being 396 pounds.

“I was embarrassed. I couldn’t go into a normal clothing store and find normal clothes. These big outlets and big men stores didn’t have stuff in 4x and 3x. It was… hitting me pretty hard,” Lollino said.

On the brighter side, Lollino never gave up. At times he was frustrated but he knew losing weight was not going to happen overnight.

While on the journey to lose weight, Lollino had to understand that maintaining weight is a lifestyle rather than something that just happens.

“Weight, unlike your hair color or eye color, is a behavior, which means you can control it. You need to understand the body you have you created. If you get to the point where you don’t like the way you look, you can change that,” said Lollino, who is very proud of the fact that he lost weight the old fashioned way rather than having surgery or stomach staples.

Very happy with his progress, Lollino wants to lose more weight until he weighs about 180 or 190 pounds. With the motivational words from people in his department, who remind him everyday how much he weighs, Lollino knows he can continue to lose weight.

Lollino is not the only teacher at Lane who was not proud of the way his body looked.

Unhappy with his appearance and the lack of exercise in his life, English teacher Mr. Yadao lost 35 pounds in two and half months.

A high protein, low fat, and low carb diet called the Dukan diet, which consisted of methods for losing and stabilizing weight in four distinct phases allowed Yadao to eat as much as he wanted as long he stayed in the parameters of what the diet required.

“It is a diet that makes you lose weight a lot quicker than most diets and it teaches you how to keep the pounds off,” said Yadao.

Yadao has not only seen the physical changes of his body, but the changes in how he feels.

“I don’t think I have exercised more in my life. The great thing about this diet is that you see changes right away. My endurance and stamina have gone up. I would be out of breath after a good five minutes of working out and now I’m running three to four miles every other day. It’s a good sign because I never used to do that ever before in my life, especially at this age,” said Yadao who is 28.

Yadao, in seeing his dad and family members struggle with diabetes, was encouraged to be healthier and lose weight.

“My dad was diagnosed with diabetes about a year ago and around that time it was a sudden wake up call for me. A lot of my family members do have diabetes. They have a lot of heart problems and have died of lung cancer and other types of illnesses,” said Yadao, “I wanted to make sure I don’t fall into that habit, even though genetics is something you can’t really escape. I at least want to try the best I can to maintain my health.”

Similar to Yadao, English teacher Ms. Jennings also used strategies to help her shed pounds and keep them off.

Jennings lost weight that she preferred to describe as “more than 35 pounds” by food journaling in an app on her phone called My Fitness Pal. It helped her focus on what she was eating and how much she was exercising.

“I really enjoy and appreciate all kinds of food and if you think about the choices that you’re making like if you have a sweet tooth, like I do, you can choose fruit over a candy bar or cookies. Just being aware based on your activity level versus the number of calories you’re taking in,” Jennings said.

Running marathons since 2006, and running the New York City Marathon this past November, Jennings chose to lose weight not only because of her age but because she loves running.

“I’m not getting any younger and I want to be able to continue to run because it is a really important outlet for me so I knew that health wise and physically especially with my knees it would just be easier,” Jennings said.

Academic Center Coordinator Ms. Beck has lost 25 pounds in the past year and a half. In efforts to get back into the shape she was in college as an athlete, Beck decided to get back in shape and change her eating habits.

“I was always very athletic, and I already worked out five days a week, so I just had to make sure to stay healthy by changing my eating habits,” Beck said.

Beck’s typical meal plans start off with either a protein bar or egg whites. For lunch she has a sandwich with fruit or a salad. Then for dinner she has chicken with vegetables.

“I had to cut back on carbs because I realized I was having way too many carbs than I really should be having, so I really made sure I had protein,” Beck said.

Beck’s biggest motivation in getting healthier is the long term reassurance that she will be in shape and healthy as she gets older.

“I want to make sure I am always eating healthily and trying to maintain a good body in the sense where, as you get older, you have more things you have to worry about. I don’t want to have a heart attack or diabetes,” Beck said.

Besides losing weight to look good, Special Ed. teacher Mr. Dan O’Donnell decided to lose 35 pounds in six months for his family.

“I have young kids and I just want to be able to move around a little better. I just want to be around longer for them and when you get to be a certain age you start worrying about that,” O’Donnell said. “When you carry weight when you’re older you tend not to lose it later in life, so I just wanted to get back down to where I was 10 years ago.”

In order to lose weight, O’Donnell stopped eating starches, bread, potatoes and sweets and replaced them with fresh fruit, salad, and meat.  Along with changing his eating habits, O’Donnell biked to school when the weather was warm.

O’Donnell admits he will be satisfied when he loses 20 more pounds.

“I’m happy, but still I don’t want to put more on. I want to take more off,” he said.

After losing a total of 45 pounds, math teacher Ms. Mead brought in a personal trainer to continue with weight loss.

Mead has lost weight mostly to avoid getting sick like members of her family.

“I know that there is a lot of sickness in my family and there have been health issues in my family as people get older and I want to make sure that I don’t encounter those as I get older. I want to have a long, healthy life style,” said Mead.

One of Mead’s biggest motivators is her personal trainer.

“It’s really hard for me to stay motivated on my own, but having a time where I have to go to the gym, pay money to somebody and having that dedicated time to go there is a big difference because I have to show up,” said Mead.

The most challenging thing while losing weight, Mead admits, is not only getting started but also choosing the right foods to eat.

“I had to make sure I was eating the right stuff and not wanting to stop and get the fast food because it’s easier [than] having to plan ahead and cook my meals. It’s easier to just grab a quick bag of chips or stop at McDonalds,” Mead said.

One step at a time, Lane teachers are taking a bite out of weight loss by exercising and eating right, guaranteeing healthy bodies and high self esteem.