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Lose weight and keep it off

Local residents share their journey to sustainable health and weight loss

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Posted: Sunday, January 26, 2014 9:00 am

At first glance, Cynthia Craine looks like any other busy mother of three, with her hair sleekly pulled back in a ponytail and her shoes laced, ready to run out the door of her Linden home. But she has been on a journey most people can only imagine, losing almost 100 pounds in a little over a year, and learning how to maintain that loss during this past year.

 Even in these cold temperatures, Craine, 34, keeps up a committed exercise routine — her secret for losing and keeping off the weight. Her two weekday “short runs” of three or four miles are augmented by a long weekend run of 10-plus miles, plus two CrossFit workouts and two Zumba sessions.

 She wasn’t always a runner, in fact, quite the opposite. “When I started, I couldn’t even run for a full minute,” she said. “Now I’m doing half marathons and have already signed up for my first full marathon, the Detroit Free Press Marathon in October.”

 She began her diet on Dec. 30, 2011, limiting herself to 1,200 calories a day, upping that allotment on the days she needed more fuel to exercise. She quickly fell in love with the healthy recipes she found on skinnytaste.com, using those meals still today for 90 percent of her cooking.

 Then she began to run, working up to her long runs in training for the 26.2 mile marathon in October, but she has no doubt she can do it. “I’m a different person now at this weight,” she said. “I’m more confident. It has even helped me in my photography business, Cynthia Craine Photography, because I’m not afraid to put myself out there. My family says my weight loss has made me a more patient, kinder person.”

 Gina Korpela, 31, of Linden, had struggled with her weight for a lifetime, finally beating it with a 65-pound weight loss. “It’s been my five-year journey,” she said. “I lost it doing the Weight Watchers point system on my own, and have kept the weight off for three years now.”

 The key to her success? “Having a ‘Freedom Day,’ where I gave myself permission to eat anything and everything,” said Korpela, a self-described emotional eater. “Once I told myself I could eat anything, I stopping bingeing after realizing how much better I felt when I didn’t overeat.”

 Korpela has settled into a comfortable weight of 135 and doesn’t even weigh herself anymore. She prefers to keep her weight in check by how her clothes fit. 

 “My life used to be based around food,” said Korpela, owner of Novelties LLC in Fenton. “Since I’ve won that battle, I feel so much freer in so many ways. Gaining that confidence totally has led me to where I am today.”

What about men?

 The simple truth is that men are larger and have more muscle than women due to the hormone testosterone. They genetically are designed to have a higher percentage of muscle and less fat, which makes it easier for them to lose weight, according to WebMD. Max Pettengill, 32, has lost 104 pounds and 11 inches off his waist since joining Fenton Fitness & Athletic Center last February. He’s a prime example of what a person can accomplish when one sets his mind toward a goal. “The secret to weight loss is that you hold the key within yourself to do it,” he said. “You have to want to do it wholeheartedly and be willing to change everything to make it happen.”

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