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Written by CAROL POMEDAY   
Wednesday, 04 January 2012 18:03

She did it! With will power and Weight Watchers, Cindy Beyer lost an amazing amount of weight and is determined to never need oversize clothes again.

On Monday, Jan. 2, all the potato and taco chips, pretzels, cookies and candy went into the garbage can at Cindy Beyer’s Port Washington home.

It’s time to get back to her two-year weight-loss plan.

Beyer lost 85 pounds last year and she wants to lose another 70 pounds this year. Cindy Beyer held size 24 pants that fit a year ago.                                  Photo by Sam Arendt

Still weighing more than 200 pounds and wearing size 20 slacks, Beyer, who is 5-feet, 5-inches tall, wants to break into the 100s by Easter.

“I’m now where many people start,” she said.

She wears clothes that a friend, who lost 60 pounds, lent her because Beyer doesn’t want to buy size 20 clothing. Her goal is higher — perhaps smaller is the better word — than that.

Beyer, who is the children’s librarian at the W.J. Niederkorn Library in Port Washington, said people who haven’t seen her for a while notice something is different. She looks better, healthier, but they can’t pinpoint why.

“People say, ‘I love your new haircut,’” Beyer said. “It’s always the hair. It may be a little longer, but I haven’t done anything with it.”

Her face, which was pudgy, is now slim and youthful-looking, her complexion clear and firm.

When library patrons learn she’s on a weight-loss plan, they are supportive.

“They bring me fruit (which is a free food in the Weight Watchers plan she follows) and tell me how good I look,” Beyer said.

“At Christmas, I had three families bring me plates of cookies and they apologized, but their kids wanted to give them to me. I told them it was OK. I shared them with my co-workers and family. I think it helps that I’m in the public eye. It’s a little more incentive.”

Beyer, 46, said she’s lost most of her weight from the waist up, but when she stepped into pants she wore a year ago, it was obvious the weight came off all over.

Now, it’s easier for Beyer to sit on the small chairs for library storytimes. Putting books and other materials back on shelves is good exercise rather than a back-aching chore.

To celebrate reaching her first-year goal, Beyer rewarded herself and her family — husband Todd and their 16-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter — with a dietary break over Christmas and New Year’s Day.

“We baked our favorites cookies and treats and enjoyed them for two weeks,” Beyer said.

“My weight-loss plan is a health plan for the entire family. We’re doing the journey together. They don’t track their food like I do (she keeps a log of everything she eats), but they eat what I prepare and they walk with me.”

In warm weather, the family walks together after their evening meal. When it’s cold outside, Beyer uses a treadmill or indoor recumbent bicycle. She currently cycles for 30 minutes four times a week.

“I’m shooting for six times a week this year,” she said. “If you lose weight, you have to exercise more or eat less to continue to lose weight. When you weigh 300 pounds just moving uses a lot of calories.”

Beyer said she’s been overweight since she was 10, and that’s probably when she began abusing food.

When she graduated from college, she weighed 250 pounds. Her father told her she would never get a job because of her weight.

“He loved me, but he would focus on the negative and all that did was make me feel bad about myself and reach for the cookies,” she said.

However, taking her father’s words to heart, she went on a liquid weight-loss diet. She lost 160 pounds in four months, but she gained it back in a year when she started eating real food again.

She refused to go on another diet.

“When I was in my 30s, I felt good about myself for the first time,” she said. “I was happy, but I didn’t realize how much I didn’t do things.”

Three things prompted her to lose weight — she needed knee surgery to fix her meniscus, she had acid reflux so severe she felt she was having a heart attack when she laid down and her blood pressure was high for the first time.

The hypertension, which was discovered during a free wellness exam for city employees, made her take notice because her father had a stroke when he was in his 40s.

Her doctor told her she had to lose weight and recommended Weight Watchers.

The next day, a library patron told Beyer she worked for Weight Watchers and there was a meeting that night.

Beyer went to the meeting, liked the people and felt the program was right for her. The family gave up its YMCA membership so she could afford Weight Watchers and bought a treadmill and bicycle for fitness.

“I think Weight Watchers works because it’s real food and real people. It’s good to have that companionship. The more people who I have on my journey with me, the better,” Beyer said.

“I had to face up to my food addiction. I had to learn to be around food and not overeat, and how to shop in a grocery store.

“Weight loss is not a downward path. It’s a winding path with setbacks, vacations and holidays.”

She doesn’t give up any food, but fits it into her plan.

Her daughter asked for cheesecake for her birthday cake, so Beyer ate a lot of vegetables the week before to allow for the treat.

“I’ll probably eat a lot of salads to make  up for all the cookies I ate during the holidays,” she said. “I don’t deny myself something I crave. We have pizza once a month because I love pizza. I eat yogurt and toast with cream cheese for breakfast.”

Beyer eats yogurt and cottage cheese for protein rather than red meat. Cottage cheese on a baked potato is delicious, she said.

The family’s favorite snack is popcorn every night.

“We get Fireworks Popcorn (in Port) and use their microwave popper and oil,” Beyer said. “If I cut up an apple, we’re all grabbing for it.

“I snack a lot on fruit and vegetables and drink a lot of water, which makes my skin feel better. I try to eat in front of people. Before I did a lot of eating in private.”

Beyer did several things last year that she couldn’t do when she weighed more. She went on her first amusement ride and was able to sit on a swing and swing with her daughter.

“She’s 13 and this was the first time I went swinging with her,” she said. “I see the grandmothers who come in with their grandchildren and kneel on the floor. I want to be that type of grandmother. I want to do things with my grandchildren that I couldn’t do with my children.”

Beyer said it’s difficult to be overweight in this society.

“You’re judged by other people all the time — you’re lazy, you’re ignorant, you’re not worth anything,” she said. “We have to stop judging people on appearances and recognize their abilities.”

Beyer had knee surgery in May and has slowly increased her activity.

Her goals for 2012 include more firsts:

Lose another 70 pounds.

Take part in a charity walk.

Climb the bluffs at Devil’s Lake State Park near Baraboo.

Walk to the top of an outlook tower in a state park.

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