Birdie before and after losing 144 pounds

Photo: George Burns/Harpo Studios (right)

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By the time Birdie, a neurologist, had completed medical school, had five children and had begun her demanding career, she weighed 300 pounds. For her, losing weight wasn't just about getting healthy or being able to slip on a swimsuit at the beach—there was a professional motivation as well. "I felt like a hypocrite telling my patients to eat right, exercise and lose weight," she says. "I absolutely felt like a fraud."

Birdie finally decided that she couldn't stand the hypocrisy of being overweight anymore. She started using a free online weight loss service, counted calories and learned how to exercise—she lost 144 pounds.

Still determined to lose more weight, Birdie kept up with her new lifestyle...but she hit a plateau. "I got stuck at about 158, 160 pounds, and the scale stopped," she says. "I wanted to be 135 pounds, but it wasn't happening."

Watch Birdie talk about the dreaded weight loss plateau    

After seeing Oprah discuss her weight loss struggle in O magazine, Birdie realized she shouldn't be hung up on the number. Since that realization, Birdie gave up the battle to be 135 pounds and now happily weighs in at 156.

Meet Mary Ann who lost 103 pounds