By Marie Gilmore

Valrico resident Stephen Pagano doesn’t remember the exact moment he decided to change his life, but it was about 16 months ago that became the pivotal point in this 25-year-old man’s life. It was that day that Pagano decided to give Weight Watchers one more try and it was that day that it stuck. Using the tools and skills and weekly metings at WW, including his awesome coordinator Michelle Brodeur, Pagano tracked his activity with a monitor and tracked his foods by weighing them and eating right.

It wasn’t the sweets, or the candies that made this young man grow to his heaviest weight just 16 months ago, 601.4 pounds, it was fried foods and not knowing how to stop eating. After his achievement of 200 pounds lost, Pagano is feeling great and starting a new life.

“I went from a size eight X to a size four X which you can actually find in stores, and I removed the seatbelt extender from my car,” he described.

In addition to weekly meetings, Pagano works out in the Max program at the Campo Y twice a week and says he has more goals to reach.

It was a day when he couldn’t walk around the Publix without an electric cart that made him realize there was a problem, “Now, I can walk two laps around Busch Gardens and I am planning to do my first 5 K.”

“Starting Weight Watchers last year completely changed my entire life. I now track, weigh, and measure everything I eat. I’ve learned to eat smaller portions and make better choices. I eat breakfast every morning now and include more filling foods throughout my day so I am not hungry and snack less. I have gained a lot more confidence in myself. I recently earned my GED and started taking summer courses at my local community college.”

Pagano has a new outlook on life and would like to finish college and work in computers in the future.

He says it hasn’t always been easy, but he has to keep going! “Michelle at Weight Watchers is there to lead my meetings every Sunday at 10:45 a.m. and she has made a big impact on my weight loss.” Contact Weight Watchers at 651-6000 or the Campo Y at 684-1371 or contact Pagano with some words of encouragement at 369-1632.


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Marie is the Managing Editor at the Osprey Observer. She covers news, transportation, education and likes to make a positive impact on the community and be 'in the know'!