Counting each step daily was key to weight-loss success for Gino Baratto.
Baratto is a member of the Take Off Pounds Sensibly (TOPS) group that meets at 9 a.m. on Thursday mornings in the Community Room of the YMCA.
"I joined in 2003 when my wife rejoined the group," Baratto said, explaining that he weighed 236 pounds at the time, but by the first weigh-in of 2004 he was over 241 pounds and experiencing heart problems. "But I didn't get serious about weight-loss until I was asked to become the weight recorder. That's when I really became motivated."
TOPS is an international nonprofit organization that helps provide members with information, motivation and fellowship in attaining and maintaining their weight-loss goals while helping others in their weight-loss pursuits.
"I set my goal at 25 pounds for the year," Baratto said. Purchasing a pedometer in August, he began keeping track of his steps during a day. Participating in chapter challenges while taking Tai Chi classes twice a week and adding up the extra steps he made while "walking around the house during television breaks and taking the long way to work, began to work."
Those extra steps added up to success on December 2004 when Baratto reached his target weight of 200 pounds.
Baratto's success earned him the first place winner in the TOPS Adult Male Division No. 3 weight-loss competition, and district TOPS King Runner-Up at the state level.
"I was so happy to see him make his goal weight in just one year," Margaret Baratto said of her husband's efforts to get healthy over the past year. She is proud of the recognition he has received from the Brazil TOPS chapter, and at the state awards ceremony a few weeks ago. Nine members from the local chapter went tothe event in Indianapolis to cheer for Geno. "I tried to get him to smile while he was being crowned, but couldn't. I'm just so proud of his success."
Baratto's tips for weight-loss success are simple and basic strategies that many people overlook.
"Eat less, move more and drink drink drink lots of water," Baratto said, explaining that high sugar content sodas and juices should be avoided. "Educate yourself by reading labels and learn all you can to improve your health while helping others do the same."
Achieving success in TOPS, Baratto now graduates from the group designed for weight-loss and enters Keeping Off Pounds Sensibly (KOPS).
Members of KOPS work together to maintain their commitment to live a healthier lifestyle while helping others in the two groups to achieve and maintain their success as well.