Zerlina Hotujec, 50, of Roswell, lost 50 pounds

Success Story

Zerlina Hotujec, 50: From 196 pounds to 146 pounds

Former weight: 196 pounds

Current weight: 146 pounds

Pounds lost: 50 pounds

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Height: 5 feet 4 inches

Age: 50 years

How long she kept it off: “I lost 40 pounds from May 2016 to August 2016,” says Hotujec. “I maintained through several vacations and the holidays. I lost the last 10 pounds in January 2017.”

Personal life: “I’ve been married for 20 years. I have four children and one dog.” She works as an executive assistant and lives in Roswell. Her husband, Chris Hotujec, was previously featured as a Success Story.

Zerlina Hotujec BEFORE weight loss. Weight in photo: 196 pounds. Age in photo: 49 years. Photo was taken April 1, 2016. Contributed by Zerlina Hotujec (For the AJC)

Turning point: “I have done every diet known to man…I was successful (and then) it wasn’t like I didn’t lose weight…It was taking me forever to get where I wanted to go. So the turning point for me was two things. The first one was I got on the scale. It read 196 pounds, and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh! I am four pounds from 200.’ Then, I needed to find pictures for something, and I realized there were no full-body photos. I was only taking pictures of my face… I realized I didn’t like the way I looked… I am a person who doesn’t have enough willpower on my own; I need someone who can help me walk through it each day.” A friend recommended metabolic specialist, Nancy Masoud (

Diet plan: “In weight-loss mode, I had some drops I would take prior to eating.” Those drops help control hunger. She has yogurt or eggs for breakfast, and at midday she eats an apple. Lunch and dinner are 4 ounces of lean protein and vegetables. She started out with specific vegetables, and as she has entered maintenance, she has added foods back into her diet but did not add sugar back in.

Exercise routine: She works out four times per week.I do yoga twice a week. I do get walking in, and I do resistant training like squats and pushups; I do some weight training.

Biggest challenge: “I would say we’re huge Mexican food fans. That first couple of months going without Mexican food was very, very challenging. The other challenge was cooking at home. We had a period of time where we (ate) 97 meals in a row at home. That’s only like a month but… it’s a lot of cooking for people who enjoy going out.”

How life has changed: “For the better for sure. It’s very nice when you do put the hard work in and people notice and you look so much better… I have a lot more energy, I am interested in being more active now… I am very conscious of my choices because I want to keep this lifestyle. It is a lifestyle change…When you work so hard you say, ‘I don’t want to go back and have to do all this over again.’”

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