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Lose weight the old fashioned way

As the first female varsity wrestler at her high school, Janis Neary tried to play by the rules, which, in her sport, meant taking some abuse.

She pitched into the mats five hours a day and dunked her body weight to 103 pounds, well below what was healthy.

"I was constantly cutting my weight," she said. "When you lose nine pounds you don’t have to lose, you seriously mess up your body. I wasn’t eating a proper diet."

It wasn’t until Neary retired from competitive sports and graduated from high school that she felt the side effects of what she had done. She ballooned to 134 pounds and was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. "I wasn’t so much concerned with the weight," she said. "But I was unhealthy. I was miserable."

Neary tried everything, she said. Weight-loss shakes, pills the "Diet-Coke, Diet Coke-and-a-meal diet." Nothing worked. Her physician said that if she didn’t do something drastic, she would weigh more than 200 pounds by the time she was 30.

Today, Neary is 33 years old and 140 pounds. She said the real trick turned out to be no trick at all. "The biggest pitfall women face is when they get into that diet mentality," she said. "They’re looking for that magic bullet, that magic pill."

Although she is not a dietician or medical doctor, Neary wants to spread the wealth of her own experience. She plans to host a 12-week weight loss challenge for anyone over 14 years old. Weekly classes on diet, fitness and motivation start Nov. 6 and aim to keep contestants on track through the holidays. It costs $30 to participate, Neary said, but most of that money goes to cash prizes for the three biggest losers.

"Mostly, it just about having fun and being supportive," Neary said. "One of the great things about the contest is when you have people who are moving toward their own goals, everybody gets more motivated."

Classes run Thursdays from 1 until 2 p.m. at the Snyderville Basin Special Recreation Trailside Location, 5715 Trailside Dr. and are sponsored by Herbalife, a company that sells weight-loss, nutrition and skin-care products.

The timing of the start date is no coincidence. Neary said she started shedding pounds the week after Halloween 10 years ago. "My body started to feel better and crave healthier things," she said. "I learned to make healthier food choices."

Now she snowboards in the winter, kite-boards in the summer and works out at the gym.


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