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    Lisa Lewis: Losing Weight for Her Heart

    Weight was a psychological tattoo that Lisa Lewis couldn't erase. The mirror reflected a heavy and unhappy person and that visual became her own definition of who she was.

    "I’ve pretty much been overweight my entire adult life," says Lewis, 45, of Sausalito, Calif. "I was emotionally distraught, and it took up so much of my energy, beating myself up. I was miserable."

    At one point, she tipped the scale at 200 pounds. Yo-yo dieting through the years had shaved off weight here and there but it never seemed to last.

    When she began experiencing chest pains, she realized her health was as much at risk as her emotions were.

    "I was always a happy person but inside I was cringing and dying," she says. "That was what my life was like. It was really tough."

    Her struggle reached a boiling point, and she decided to "get really honest about why I hated my life," she says.

    So she had a "frank talk" with herself. "You're fat," Lewis says she bluntly told herself.

    That conversation, along with a program focusing on healthy food choices, gave her the courage to reinvent herself, shedding the weight that had forced her down psychologically and physically for so long.

    Today, she proudly struts at a lean 135 pounds, boasting a six-dress size and a mountain of confidence.

    "I'm loud, boisterous, and full of energy," Lewis says. "I'm an inspiration to people. My heart and spirit came out."

    Her efforts began in April 2007. Armed with a program called Isogenics -- which focuses on nutritionally satisfying food sources -- along with a commitment to exercise, the pounds began melting as her esteem rose.

    She began walking three to five miles, four to six times a week. Soon, her pace quickened and walking became running. As her weight began to drop, she was able to view with clarity the reasons she overate and the additional damages that resulted.

    "Emotional eating was my big thing," she says, noting that her attitude and damaged esteem prevented her from finding successful personal relationships. "Being on the other side of fat is a miserable revelation of being ‘over there.’ It's just not fun."

    There were other benefits to Lewis’s weight loss. Her new body and attitude required a new wardrobe. That quest has also become a joy of self-discovery.

    "Now I get a small shirt and size six pants, and they consistently fit me," she says. "I'm really tapping into my femininity. When I was fat, I felt gross. Now, I get to go into all my favorite stores and shop like a woman."

    When she attended a family wedding following her transformation, jaws dropped at her new appearance, and family and friends sought out the secret of her success. And the evolution continues.

    The one-time accountant has now given up bookkeeping to become a nutritionist and is currently working on a book that details the weight loss struggle.

    The proverbial cocoon has apparently been shed -- permanently.

    "People become complacent, and we begin to lose our desire to make any changes," Lewis says. "I touched into the truth about what I wanted in life. Dig, dig, dig until you find out what you want to be in life."

    "Everybody's life can be transformed."

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