ABOUT THIS COLUMN

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.

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“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.

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