Secrets to Shedding the Pounds
Weight-loss tips from people who should know
By Terri Akman

Losing weight can be a mystery, even though there are thousands of books, products and experts that all claim they know the easiest way. We asked SJ folks who have conquered the weight-loss struggle for their best secret – some good advice from some fit and fabulous people.



I work to keep my body from getting used to a particular exercise, so I switch things up to keep the exercises fresh and not boring. I tried a high-intensity interval training of 20 seconds of hard work, then 10 seconds of rest. I kept at it and nailed it. Then I tried a boot camp class that was so hard I literally crawled to my water. But I nailed it. I started working with a trainer, lifting heavy weights and started to see definition. I also got stronger.

Abby Abrams, 49
Cherry Hill
Lost 140 pounds in three years



I started out only being able to do five minutes on the elliptical machine. Soon I could do 10, then 20, and then the weight started falling off. I started doing yoga about six months into my weight-loss journey. I tracked my caloric intake on an app called Lose It!, and it helped me understand that I could still eat what I loved but I had to moderate it. I never gave up my favorite things, I just ate less of everything.

Rachel Kirkham, 35
Cherry Hill
Lost 100 pounds in 13 months


I bought a step-tracking device, and I reach 10,000 steps a day – no excuses. I do not use the words, “I am on a diet,” because it sounds temporary. The foundation for long-term success is a lifestyle change. Slow and steady is the best approach to weight loss.

Erika Sinofsky, 46
Lost 80 pounds in one year


I weigh myself once a week and follow the 5-pound differential. When I hit it, I hit the walking sneakers. I also always ask myself, “Do I really want that plate of fries, or should I have a sweet potato?”

Scott Soffen, 63
Lost 150 pounds in one year


I set reachable goals, and I’m careful about portion size. If I want a piece of pizza, I’ll eat it – I just won’t have three. It’s discouraging to say, “I’m going to lose 50 pounds” and get on the scale and see you’ve lost less than one pound in a week. You’ll see that and think, “That’s 1/100 of my goal!” Unreachable goals aren’t attainable, so they cause failure.

Allison Dolin, 27
Works in Maple Shade
Lost 60 pounds in 18 months


Because of my work hours I have to fit all of my working out into two or three days each week. I work out an average of two hours. I spend an hour doing light weights, push-ups and crunches, and then I go for about a six-mile run for an hour.

Scot Kieffer, 42
Lost 73 pounds in 13 months


I ate small meals every two hours. And I made sure I always had a protein when I ate. Some days, I actually had a cold piece of chicken and a small amount of string beans at 10 in the morning. You have to see food differently. You’re eating to lose weight and fuel your body, not to make yourself happy.

Mary Lou Sheffield, 51
Mount Laurel
Lost 54 pounds in two years


When going out to dinner, I ask for a take-home box when they bring the meal. I keep the right portion size on my plate and put the rest in a box to take home for the next day.

Ron Shea, 71
Lost 85 pounds in two years


I read labels to check the first two ingredients and for sugar, fats and what kind of fats. Anything below three grams of fat is considered low-fat. You only want to have three grams of fat for every 100 calories. I’ve learned when you’re hungry, throwing back a few peanuts really satisfies you.

Lauren Sides, 60
Mount Laurel
Lost 127 pounds in six years


I use MyFitnessPal to log all the food I put into my mouth, and it has helped me be successful in losing the weight and keeping it off. I had to change the way I thought about food – eat to live, not live to eat. I’m also sure to get enough protein every day, because it keeps me full longer.

David Mooney, 47
Lost 240 pounds in seven years


What has worked best for me has been hard work, and I stopped making excuses. I eat clean. I gave up on quick fad diets, and I work out hard four to five days a week. The days when I don’t want to go to the gym are the days I push myself the hardest.

Terry McGuire, 41
Fort Dix
Lost 42 pounds in five months


I eat a high-protein diet of meats, seafood, fruits, veggies, nuts and healthy fats. I eat a lot of chicken and tuna, a salad and fruit every day. I do allow myself to eat cheese a couple times a week. It’s a treat. I do not eat pasta or rice, so instead I eat zucchini noodles with sauce; it’s a nice, healthier alternative.

Kym Bozarth, 48
Lost 140 pounds in 11 months


I make sure I have a lot of vegetables with my meals to keep me full. I stay away from heavy dressings on salads and use a lot of spices in my foods, so they’re not bland. Also, I drink five bottles of water – 84 ounces – per day. I have a refillable bottle that I keep with me wherever I go, and I fill it at least four times a day. I keep lemon in it to give it more flavor.

Lisa Kieffer, 43
Lost 48 pounds in 13 months


I try not to snack, but if I’m really craving something, I have some light microwave popcorn in a small bowl. I never eat right from the bag – because I know I’ll eat the whole bag!

Lou Ramona, 46
Cherry Hill
Lost 73 pounds in 13 months


Low-fat options are really high in carbs, so I’m really careful about buying anything that screams “Low Fat!” Usually the regular product is healthier.

Mike Constantin, 42
Mullica Hill
Lost 61 pounds in 11 months



I went to a boot camp where two or three other people would work out with me. This turned out to be a tremendous support system for me. I had partners to work out with, and I didn’t want to let everyone else down by not coming to class.

Ken Romm, 42
Cherry Hill
Lost 62 pounds in five months


I love to cook and I love to eat, but I rarely eat desserts. I only have dessert on special occasions like a birthday or holiday. If I do have a dessert, I have a small portion, and I make sure it is something worth the calories, like molten chocolate lava cake, a crème brûlée or my mother-in-law’s apple pie.

John Drozdal, 65
Lost 65 pounds in 10 months


It’s not the calories but the kind of calories that are important. If you want a snack for 100 calories, a 100-calorie bar isn’t the same as eating 100 calories worth of fresh fruit or almonds. I’m concerned with the sugar content mostly. I also don’t eat after dinner at all.

Judy Lubetkin, 64
Cherry Hill
Lost 32 pounds in one year



I keep my calories between 1,200 and 1,500, and I work out five days a week with a combination of cardio and weights.

Regina Klepka, 38
Lost over 100 pounds in 15 months



Doing it together with my husband has really kept us going. We decide together what our meals will be, and my husband prepares them ahead of time, measuring and weighing our portions, vacuum-sealing and then freezing them. We have no snacks in our house. When we have company for dinner, the company takes all the leftovers home.

Carol Shea, 68
Lost 56 pounds in 20 months


January 2016
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