Off the Clock features Press of Atlantic City staffers writing about their lives outside the newsroom. To read more of our Off the Clock columns, visit PressofAC.com/Life/OffTheClock

When you lose a lot of weight, the questions you get can be intrusive, even borderline rude. But I usually chalk it up to curiosity. After all, people want to be inspired.

“Donna, you look great. Did you have that stomach surgery? You know, the lap band?”

My answer: No, I did not.

Latest Video

“Did you have liposuction?”

My answer: Negative.

“Do you have a lot of loose skin because you lost so much?”

“No, I do not,” I reply.

People ask me what kind of supplements I took to lose the weight, but the only supplement I take is my daily multivitamin. My goal is not to be skinny. I want to be fit.

I eat clean: fresh fruit, vegetables, meats and fish. I don’t eat frozen, boxed, canned or processed food. I don’t eat cakes, cookies, pies or candy. I exercise six days a week, and my regimen includes an hour and a half to two hours of cardio, weight and strength training each day.

When I graduated from high school in 1999, my classmates voted me best body of our senior class. I was an athlete — a sprinter on the track team — and a cheerleader.

But 10 years later, I was too embarrassed to go to my high school reunion.

By the end of my four years of college at the University of Pittsburgh, I had easily put on 75 pounds. The unhealthy lifestyle of a college student had taken over. Pizza, beer, late nights, little sleep and no exercise. I just kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger.

I am now 34-years-old and have worked as a reporter for the Press for eight years. I moved to southern New Jersey in 2005 and quickly realized that I had a love for the ocean but a greater love for the local cuisine — the seafood, pizza, and Boardwalk delicacies like funnel cakes and fried Twinkies.

I was exhausted at the end of a busy workday and had no energy or drive to exercise. When I looked in the mirror, I hated what I saw. I felt unhealthy, unattractive and insecure with all the weight I was carrying with me.

I am 5 feet, 7 inches tall, and at my heaviest during my time in South Jersey, I weighed approximately 280 pounds. My blood work was a mess. I had high cholesterol, high triglycerides, high lipids and high blood pressure.

Over the past two years, I have shed 115 pounds. I started slowly — workouts here and there, cutting back on certain foods. But in December I took the pace and commitment to a whole new level.

I have gone from wearing size-22 pants to a size 8. The last time I wore a single digit pants size was my senior year of high school and I was 17 years old, nearly 17 years ago.

When people approach me about my transformation, I do not give them advice. I give them encouragement and inspiration. I remind them that they cannot devote themselves to a commitment like this until they’re ready. There’s no quick-fix, 30-day plan, magic pill or shake that will change your life.

For me, this is a lifestyle change, and I consider this a long-term relationship.

If you would like to follow Donna's progress visit her fitness and wellness page here https://www.facebook.com/Weaverwellness.

Contact: 609-513-6686

Twitter @ACPressWeaver

I have been a reporter with the Press since January 2007. I am a recent recipient of a fellowship through the American Society of News Editors Minority Leadership Institute. I am a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and a graduate student.

Recommended for you

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.