Her loss is her gain: South Shore woman drops 100 pounds. | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Her loss is her gain: South Shore woman drops 100 pounds.

Jill Darby

Britina O’Grady is giving away her double extra-large shirts and size 18 pants – they don’t fit anymore.

In November 1999, at more than 240 pounds, O’Grady was tired, depressed and suffering from high blood pressure. A visit to Barton Memorial Hospital’s health fair convinced her it was time for a change.

O’Grady learned she had hypothyroid that same year. She started on thyroid medication and lost some weight. Dropping the initial pounds inspired her to change her lifestyle and get healthy.

She contacted Barton’s nutrition outpatient clinic and began a diet program. She lost 100 pounds in 15 months.

“Once I started losing, I just went for it,” said 37-year-old O’Grady. “From 214 pounds to 175 was my original goal. Then once I had it down to 175, I changed my goal to 150 and once I got to 150, I said let’s go for 135.”

O’Grady weighed in this month at 143 pounds and, according to Barton’s clinical dietitian Renie Tharp, she’s losing weight “the right way.”

“The (weight loss) process is not easy but Britina picked the simplest, healthiest way to do it,” Tharp said. “Her commitment to appointments is phenomenal. She never missed an appointment. We’re going for improving her health all around and we also emphasize whole fresh foods.”

Eating smaller portions, cutting back on white flour products and sugars, and walking three to four times a week made it possible for O’Grady to drop eight pants sizes and three shirt sizes.

“I had a lot of motivation,” O’Grady said. “There were people motivating me without even knowing it. Now I’ve changed the way I eat and how I eat. I started walking more.”

The new Britina O’Grady has an improved self-image.

“A few weeks ago I quit my job. I finally had the courage to quit and get a better job,” said O’Grady, who said she loves her new position in the gift shop at Caesars Tahoe. “I don’t think I could have done this a year ago. I didn’t feel very good about myself then.”

Tharp said O’Grady’s success story has inspired other patients and hospital employees.

“There’s something that’s added,” Tharp said. “She has a certain confidence. She’s just glowing.”

O’Grady has experienced some proud moments since her extreme weight loss, but one stands out.

“I went out and bought my first pair of Levi’s in Reno last month,” she said. “I’ve never been able to wear Levi’s. I was so excited.”

So, is there any fear of reverting back to obesity?

“It’s scary,” O’Grady said. “I worry sometimes on the days I eat more than I know I should. Every day is a battle. Every day I count on the motivation. It’s what got me started. It’s what’s kept me going and I hope it’s what continues to keep me going. I never thought I could do this. It’s great.”

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