WAYNESBORO, Pa. — This time last year, Jamie Crisler-Smith said she wanted to lose weight and get in shape for 2010 — the same goal many others made.
But unlike most, Crisler-Smith kept her resolution.
Crisler-Smith has lost more than 100 pounds. Her clothes no longer fit her 168-pound body. "They keep falling off," she said. "I always need a belt."
Crisler-Smith, 29, of Waynesboro, Pa., isn't quite ready to think of herself as a success story. In fact, her resolution for 2011 is to remain active.
"If you really want to lose the weight, you can do it, but you've got to get your mind right," Crisler-Smith said.
People treat Jan. 1 like a totem, the time of year when we resolve to put down the Cheetos and get back into the gym. But what happens after you've met your weight-loss goal?
Tammy Thornton, a registered dietitian with the Washington County Health Department, suggests looking within.
"Pull back from all the hoopla from New Year's resolutions and gym memberships," Thornton said. "Ask yourself what is my relationship with food and what do I get from it? Why do I eat?"
Thornton is a workshop leader for the health department's "Wired for Joy" and emotional brain training workshops, which help people determine what triggers them to overeat.
She said the hardest part about losing weight happens after you've lost the weight, even if you've met your New Year's resolution to be thin and healthy.
She said a common pitfall is not having a plan for after you've met your goal, even if you exercise and eat well.
You can see it at the local gym. Amanda Gietka, membership development director at the Waynesboro YMCA, said the gym sees a surge in new members around New Year's, but then the numbers drop after around 90 days.
"We try to build up a relationship with people so that they don't stop coming," Gietka said.
Obesity is regarded as a major public health issue because it increases the risk for heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
According to CDC data, 27 percent of Pennsylvania residents are obese.
In Maryland, one out of every four people is obese. In West Virginia, the rate is one out of every three people.
Crisler-Smith said growing up, she was always the "big girl." As an adult, three pregnancies, years of inactivity and bad eating habits had taken a heavy toll on her body. In October 2009, her doctors had suggested she get gastric bypass.
"I didn't want to have surgery," she said. "I figured I could do it on my own."
Physicians use body mass index, or BMI, as an indictor for body fat and weight. The calculation is derived from a person's weight and height. A BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese.
Crisler-Smith had a BMI of 44.
Crisler-Smith started paying attention to what she was eating and how much of it she consumed. She kept exercise DVDs in heavy rotation, picked up martial arts and more recently started going to the Waynesboro YMCA.
She says she wants to lose 20 more pounds and wants to tone her muscles.
There are other motivators to her weight-loss.
Crisler-Smith said she wants to have the energy to keep up with her kids — the oldest of whom is 7. She will also be returning to the dating scene.
"I wanted to be able to have my choice pick of Prince Charming," Crisler-Smith said. "I didn't want to feel like I had to settle because I was bigger."
Now, she posts her before and after photos on Facebook. Crisler-Smith said people ask her how she did it, how she lost the weight. She said they are surprised when she tells them consistent diet and exercise.
"I hear a lot of ‘I could never do that,' and that was me for 29 years," Crisler-Smith said. "You've just got to get your mindset right. If you could get your mind focused and set on what you want to do, nothing will stop you. Nothing stopped me."
Weight-loss program at Washington County Health Department
Washington County Health Department will host orientations for its weight-loss program, "EBT: a scientific solution for stress and weight." Interested participants are asked to attend an orientation and call ahead, 240-313-3360.