Growing up, Laura says she was always chubby and eating the wrong foods. "I come from a part Italian background where homemade bread and pastas are sacrament," she says. "If I snacked on anything, it was always grabbing a cookie, it was never grabbing an apple."
As an adult, Laura says her weight continued to climb until she hit her highest weight at 317 pounds. She says her health was worsening and it became increasingly difficult for her to move around physically and perform normal tasks. "The bottom line is, I was headed for disaster," she says.
Determined to make a change, Laura credits a few factors that helped her overcome her lifelong struggle with weight. For starters, Laura says she saw a doctor who determined she had an uncommon condition called hyperinsulemia. This diagnosis highlighted the fact that Laura's high-carb diet was making it very difficult for her to lose weight. Laura and her doctor came up with an exercise and diet plan that put her on the track to success.
Laura says she also made a commitment to walk every day for 30 days straight, rain or shine. "I have to be honest with you," she says. "At first I hated it, at first it was painful." But once Laura pulled through those first 30 days, she was unstoppable—last year she walked 2,700 miles, her third straight year of daily walking. Today, she averages between 42–53 miles per week.
Laura continues to eat a healthy diet that is low in fat, and full of low-glycemic fruits and vegetables such as apples, cantaloupes and honeydew. In addition to eating right and exercising, she says the key to staying fit is eliminating all excuses, and renewing your commitment to yourself on a daily basis. "The ultimate thing was I had to change myself, I had to change my mind and how I viewed all of those things that they were the best for me, that they were going to make me healthy," she says.