Sally Squires's Lean Plate Club - Success Stories

Gain Inspiration From Others Who Have Lost Weight
Christie Zerkich
Successful Loser

Christie Zerkich

Las Vegas

Pounds Lost


Time to Do It:

One Year


Personnel coordinator at San Francisco State University


49 years old, single

Size Change:

From a 22 to a 14

Healthy Habits Added:

5 a.m. daily walks of 2.5 miles. Eating her biggest meal of the day at lunch, rather than at dinner so that she doesn't go to bed full.

Trigger Food:

Pasta, potatoes and chicken wings. "I still eat what I want to eat but in moderation. And if I really want chicken wings, I only have them on the weekend. I eat just enough to satisfy and then that's it."

Secret Weapon:

Cooking food on Sunday for the week. Christie makes breakfast burritos with scrambled eggs, a little bit of ham and mushrooms, as well as her own version of "Egg McMuffins." She freezes these in individual portions and then eats them throughout the week. Home-made soups are another favorite. The planning helps her side-step nutritional mischief. "That way when I get off of work or at lunchtime, I am not thinking, 'What do I want to eat?' And I am less likely to eat a bucket of ice cream for dinner."

Favorite Snack:

Tortilla chips with Olestra (a fat substitute) and cottage cheese. "I'm not much into sweets. I like more salty foods."

Biggest Struggle:

Exercise. "I still do it and I feel better, but I still don't like it. There are mornings that I get up and say, "If I could sleep for another hour…But I just get up and go out…The fresh air is nice. You get to think. That keeps me motivated now."

What Motivated Her to Succeed:

Participating in the Las Vegas Losers -- a year-long challenge run by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, one of the Lean Plate Club newspaper column subscribers. One hundred people signed up for the challenge. Twenty had already dropped out by the first weigh-in. Christie stayed the course and won the prize for losing the most pounds. "I have tried to lose weight too many times to count. I've gone on a diet at least twice a year for nearly my entire life. I would not have done it again, were it not for the Las Vegas Losers." Signing up provided a turning point. "All of Las Vegas knows what I am doing, so there's no bailing now…I am very competitive. This really put the spotlight on me."

Rewards Along the "Weigh":

Being able to walk without feeling out of breath. "At first, I could only walk around my apartment complex which is half a mile around. As I increased my walking, I started losing weight." Also, feeling fuller with smaller portions of food. "I don't clean my plate...It's all a mindset. You have to focus."

Benefits of Weight Loss:

Wearing shorts without feeling embarrassed. "Besides feeling better about myself, I no longer shop in the big women's shop. And my father is just so proud and so happy with me. He says, "You had the courage and the willpower to go out there and do this."

What She's Learned From the Lean Plate Club:

Lifestyle changes. "You can't just go on a diet. I have been on diets my whole, entire life. You have to change your lifestyle and your eating habits or you will just fall back to the way you were." That's already paying off: Since the challenge ended in January, she's already lost another three pounds, towards her new goal of losing 25 more.

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