How I Lost 80 Pounds and Kept It Off: Fran’s Plan


How I Lost 80 Pounds

How I Lost 80 Pounds

Everyone complains about being overweight. People are constantly saying that they need to go on diet at the beginning of the year. After all, it is holiday time and when families are getting together, how can I possibly be on a diet.

Besides, diets start on Mondays. Of course, yours will end on Monday afternoon or before because if you are still talking about it, you are surely doing nothing to solve your weight problem.

All of my life I only had to look at food and I gained weight.  I just had to stare at it or smell something good and I gained 10 pounds. Whether it was a celery stork or an ice cream cone, the results were always the same. I always had a problem losing weight

As a child, my mom chose my clothes and always had me wearing polka dots or stripes, which made me look like a round beach ball. Imagine wearing a red and pink polka dot dress to school with black saddle shoes and white socks. No one wants to be caught wearing such an awful outfit. But, my mom thought I was cute.

I got laughed at and picked on by the other kids because I was overweight and looked like a beached whale or beach ball in some of the outfits I wore to school.

My mom even went as far as making me take dancing lessons when I was younger in order to help me develop some grace and poise. The sight of me in a leotard was enough to make anyone double over and laugh until they were in tears. I hated dancing school I couldn’t stand ballet or acrobatics. I really did not like putting on my leotard when I weighed close to 160 pounds of jiggling fat and blubber.

I could barely fit into the tights and the leotard made me look something between the fat lady in the circus and Miss Piggy in a pink ballet outfit.

My mom felt that dancing lessons would be good for me and make me more graceful and possibly help me lose weight. All it did was make me more self-conscious and want to crawl under a rock or into a turtle shell and hide. But, being so fat, I could not fit into a turtle shell or even a seashell. To make matters worse, I would eat myself into oblivion because I really did not care how I looked or about losing weight.

I just gave up. The more I ate the worse I felt and the more I started to feel tired and listless. My legs became so tired when I was walking home from school that I barely made it up the 6 flights of stairs to our apartment on the third floor.

I realized that I could not go on like this anymore. I went to the doctor who took a lot of tests and finally told me that I had a thyroid problem, which was causing my weight gain. He gave me some medication to take and I began losing some of the weight.

But, even with these pills, I was never really able to lose that much.  I was never really very agile or limber like my sister and my cousins. So, I gave up trying. I decided to channel my energies into things that I did better than everyone else in my family.

I started to play two musical instruments, the piano, and the violin, and became so proficient at both that I was the first violinist throughout Junior and Senior High School. However, even though I played the violin and eventually played the piano well enough to accompany the orchestra and help out the music teacher, this did not do anything to alleviate my weight problem.

Being overweight is very traumatic when you are a young child but it is just as awful when you get older. Throughout my entire young adult life have I fought with a weight problem? There were times I just ate myself into oblivion and did not care about anything. I became so frustrated that I became so overweight I could barely walk. Being short and wearing clothes that were oversized I hid my weight fairly well, but I knew it was there. My cousins would laugh at me when they watched me eat.

They said you look more like Tubby the Tuba than Tubby. They even laughed at me when I told them that I was going to lose weight and really try hard to become thin. Of course, in my heart, I knew that this was going to be hard, but try I did. Eventually, I did lose some of the weight when my thyroid was finally under control. However, it did not mean that I could resume my binge eating.

Then the rude awakening happened. I turned 18 and I wanted to go on my first date. I never went out before because no one would ask out a really ugly fat girl with a big nose. My dad, Doc, knew a lot of people and I think he paid this person to take me out. It was just awful. He took one look at me and said not for all the money in the whole world would I go out with her.

I really thought that I looked nice. I did lose weight and was wearing a very nice dress and a really cool pair of shoes. My sister helped me to decide what to wear. But, I still looked like me and I guess not being very pretty still mattered to boys that were 18 or 19 years old.

Being superficial I guess was the main quality most boys had and I found out later men did too. That ended in disaster. He left before I could even say hello and let him know that I was a really smart and cool person who knew music, the latest dances (even if I wasn’t the greatest dancer), and played two instruments.

My dad tried and tried and so did my friends, but nothing helped. I finally decided that I wanted to look even better and had plastic surgery to fix my deviated septum and of course reconstruct my nose.

I never realized what a difference that would make in how I looked and that people really do judge and treat you differently when you look good. It is sad that when I would go shopping the salespeople would ignore me because I was overweight and even comment that I should go to stores, which sold clothes in bigger sizes. People really do treat you for your appearance first and everything else last.

On June 10, 2005, I got the wake-up call of my life. My doctor phoned me and told me that my cholesterol was high and that I had to really think about what I was eating or I would risk heart disease and worse. It was about 6:45 in the morning and I was barely awake and had to comprehend what he was telling me.

After listening to him on the phone and his suggestions for what I should not eat I realized I needed some support and went to his office that morning to discuss a diet and exercise plan to help me lose the weight. Looking at myself in the mirror was a reality check. I looked older than my years because of the weight and I knew I had to really do something fast.

It was at that minute that time stood still and I had to take a long and hard look at my life and what I was doing to myself. I could not believe that my health was in jeopardy and that I had gained so much weight that I reminded myself of how I looked, as a child when being overweight was all I ever was and knew.

When my doctor told me that I needed to take matters in hand I began searching the Internet for diet plans what would miraculously make me lose weight and get really thin. I looked at every plan out there and even tried a few. No matter what I did I still did not lose weight and my cholesterol did not go down.

I began to watch all of the fitness shows; diet programs and searched the bookstore for every book out there that would provide a miracle cure for my obesity. I became discouraged and decided that nothing that I did was going to work. No matter how hard I tried and no matter what I ate or did not eat I the scale never went down, not even one pound.

It was at this point I decided that the only way I was going to succeed was to come up with a plan of my own and hope that it would work for me. The first thing I did was write down all of the foods that I knew were low in cholesterol and that I would enjoy eating on a daily basis. What is the point of creating my own plan if I wasn’t going to enjoy the food that would help me lose weight?

The second thing I did was hide the scale and put it where I would not feel tempted to weigh myself. When you weigh yourself every day and nothing happens you tend to feel that the scale is you’re enemy and nothing that you do is going to make you look better.

I wrote a list of all of the foods that I enjoy eating and went to work to see if they were on the Heart Association’s list of heart-healthy foods before I began writing my plan. Please remember that this is not a diet, nor is I a dietician, but this plan did work for me and maybe it will help you to lose weight and feel better in general

Before starting this plan of eating I could barely walk down the street or up a small hill without having to stop and catch my breath or sit down on a bench. I am too young and have too much energy to feel like that.

I did some research on heart disease and looked up many different diet plans and ways of eating in order to jump-start my own plan for losing weight. I decided that I would have to create my own way of eating and a plan that I would feel comfortable with. This was not easy and it took several trial plans and many different variations until I came up with the one that helped me to lose the weight.

The first thing I did was to start walking every day for at least 35 to 40 minutes. I knew that without some type of exercise all the dieting in the world would not help. I also needed to pick the same time every day to walk in order to develop a schedule that would suit me. After about a month I was able to walk at least 45 minutes without getting tired and increased the amount of time I walk to one hour a day.

Next, I had to decide on my diet plan. I sat down and made a list of what I thought I could eat and what I would eliminate. My first list of foods included egg whites, oatmeal, chicken (white meat only no skin), turkey, whole wheat wraps; tuna without mayo or low-fat mayo, and baked potatoes. I also included vegetables such as spinach, peas, and carrots, and squash.

Of course, I had to have my grapefruit and black coffee, and salads on a daily basis. I even tried eating whole-wheat French toast for breakfast. I gave up fried foods, red meat, butter, and eggs completely; I gave up desserts and ice cream too.

I tried this for about a month and I did not lose enough weight. At this point, I had lost maybe a pound and was becoming discouraged. I sat down with other diet plans and tried to come up with something that would be more consistent with the heart association’s recommended way of eating and yet not take in as many calories as I was still eating in a day.

Olive oil

I know that you can have a lean hamburger but I replaced that with turkey burgers or chick.

This is the plan that I came up with and that I stuck to for over 2 years.



  • Cereal with high fiber or protein- one cup with skim milk and fresh fruit
  • Bowl of oatmeal or an egg white and green pepper omelets/or spinach
  • Half a grapefruit before eating the oatmeal or the omelet
  • Black coffee


  • Salad with grilled chicken and oil and vinegar or:
  • Lean turkey burger with a small green salad
  • Grilled or broiled salmon dry with some lemon
  • Roasted or broiled chicken without the skin- small salad- green vegetable
  • Grilled salmon with a salad or green vegetable
  • White meat turkey wraps or can of tuna on a small green salad
  • Can of salmon with on a small green salad with a touch of lemon


It would depend on what I ate for lunch:

  • Broiled chicken with green vegetables
  • Steamed chicken with vegetables
  • Salmon- grilled or broiled
  • You can have a baked potato- I decided to eliminate them for now
  • I replaced butter with smart balance
  • You can have a cup of whole-wheat pasta with smart balance or garlic and en burgers that are white meat only.
  • I even have steamed chow mein with brown rice if we go out for dinner or lunch to a Chinese restaurant.


  • Fresh fruits
  • Low-fat yogurt
  • 10 calorie Jell-O gelatin
  • Grapefruits
  • Tangerines
  • Apples- half of one
  • Fresh fruit salad- cantaloupe
  • Fresh honeydew
  • Fresh pineapple
  • Sherbet


  1. Avatar of Fran Lewis
    Fran Lewis says

    Thanks for posting my true story. I hope that others will enjoy reading this and feel free to share my plan . fran

  2. Avatar of Daphne Shapiro
    Daphne Shapiro says

    I enjoyed it very much!
    You have obviously spent a lot of time reasoning and researching, I respect that.
    Is there a specific reason why you seem to have eliminated all red meat?
    And most importantly: how did you manage to actually stick to your diet, without falling back into old habits once you attained your desired weight?

  3. Avatar of Nancy Duci Denofio
    Nancy Duci Denofio says

    How interesting – from the beginning when you spoke about your childhood I could see everything, and really feel the pain of being over weight. I really got into your story, then, finally a reason, but that wasn’t helping as you thought. But when a doctor stated this or else, your mind began to register. I enjoyed the article/story because I have been the type, if I don’t walk, swim, or do something other than sit at the computer, I gain a few pounds quickly. It’s not what I eat, it’s what I don’t do. But, before I state it isn’t what I eat, let me tell you I learned the hard way too – I began walking everyday and noticed I was feeling better, losing weight from walking. Then, I gave up candy altogether, no more candy in the house and only eat oatmeal bread low fat. I love my bread. Then, I started eating plain tuna, has to be White Albacore without anything but tons of pepper on oatmeal bread, if I wanted to snack while writing, I would eat the bread with nothing on it, it never reacted like you would think, make you gain weight. But all in all, the two things that make me gain weight chocolate and ice cream. Those old bad habits. Thanks for the article/story Sincerely, Nancy

  4. Avatar of mr.j
    mr.j says

    Exuberantly inspirational.

  5. Avatar of Branka Cubrilo
    Branka Cubrilo says

    All my youth and my adult life I weighted from 51 to 54 kg.
    Food is mathematics.
    Big plates – big bellies.
    Exercise, exercise, and exercise, walk after a big meal (never let it to be too
    big!). Eat fruit and vegies. Lots of water.
    … and after all genetics, it is good to be blessed with good genes, then all
    maths falls in the water!
    But moderation is always a good word if not the best one!
    Good luck!

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