Drop Pounds by Doing Good

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Heather Micozzi

Heather Micozzi raised $7,000 for Susan G. Komen for the Cure

"I walked off 120 pounds."

When Heather Micozzi saw the photos from her 40th birthday party, she was stunned to realize how heavy she'd gotten over the years. "When you look in the mirror, you see what you want to see, but the camera doesn't lie," says Micozzi, 42, of Barberton, Ohio. To slim down she turned to the most convenient exercise she could find: walking. "I could barely get around the block, but gradually one block became two and so on."

In the spring of 2009, a few months into her health kick, a friend asked Micozzi to join her in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure, a 60-mile walk to raise money for breast cancer research. "I'd always wanted to do it -- my grandmother and my great-aunt died from the disease and my mother-in-law is a two-time breast-cancer survivor -- but I was so out of shape."

Fortunately she had a year to train. "I started walking a mile in the morning and a mile at lunch and then doing a longer walk in the evening," she says. Eventually she was covering six to 10 miles a day. As the event neared she did some 15-mile treks so she'd be comfortable with longer distances.

On the first day she walked 23 miles. "My training really paid off because I felt so good afterward," she says. Next on her list? Completing the walk again this year and losing 25 more pounds. "I'm a big believer in setting new goals," Micozzi says. "Look how far it got me in the first place."

Heather's Tips

Wear a pedometer.
"I won't go to bed unless I've done at least 10,000 steps -- that's five miles."

Energize with exercise.
"It's a way to build confidence, relax, and enjoy yourself. If I don't walk I'm exhausted."

Retrain your taste buds.
"Honestly, I don't miss the way I used to eat. I had a huge sweet tooth but now if you put a candy bar in front of me it doesn't faze me."

Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal, February 2012.

 

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