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Shedding her old self

Jackson Bell

When Mary Andrews weighed 250 pounds, she would often berate herself

in front of other people as a defense mechanism.

“I was always the first to say that I was fat,” Andrews said


recently. “Whenever I would trip and fall, I would ask people around

me if they felt the earthquake.”

Chronically ill, suffering from asthma and mired in low

self-esteem, Andrews said it took a reality check from a doctor for


her to realize it was time to change her lifestyle.

She was prescribed medication to treat her cholesterol level,

which had climbed to 245, five points past the mark designated for a

high cholesterol level.

“I thought [taking medicine] was ridiculous because it [the high

cholesterol] was from what I was eating,” Andrews said.

That was before June 30, 2001, the first day of her weight-loss



Today, the 49-year-old Burbank resident weighs 125 pounds --

literally half the woman she once was.

Andrews accomplished the feat, she said, by completely changing

her lifestyle, eating right and exercising daily. She also joined

Take Off Pounds Sensibly, a weight-loss support group.

“If you give it a chance, the body will take care of itself,” said

Andrews, who estimates she dropped an average of seven pounds per

month to reach her current weight.


Andrews hasn’t missed a day of work since beginning her

weight-loss program. She struggles to find enough time for activities

that include hiking, running and swimming. She’s also discovered a

social and dating life.

Cynthia Silorey, a friend who first suggested the two go on a diet

together, said she hardly recognizes the new, upbeat Andrews.

“When I first met her, she was unhappy, negative and gave the

impression that she felt really down,” Silorey said. “I told her,

‘Look, you’re only 48 years old and you act like your life is over.

You’re a pretty woman who has many years left, and you have to change

today.’ ”

When they first started dieting, Silorey wanted to lose 25 pounds.

She jokes that she still hasn’t lost the weight, while Andrews has

lost that amount several times over.

In fact, Andrews has won numerous TOPS awards for the rapid rate

of her weight loss. And she said she is talking with producers for

“The Sharon Osborne Show” about sharing her experience on television.

As the leader of one of the two Burbank chapters of TOPS, she

encourages anyone interested in weight loss to learn more about the

organization by calling 845-9221.