Editor's note: Statistics show nearly a quarter of Carson City's population is obese. This is the second in a six-week Get Fit Carson City series to help community members get healthy.
Next month marks a year since Jill Krupp began her weight loss program, and she's just shy of meeting her goal of losing 100 pounds.
"I just put my mind to it," she said. "This is what I want."
Although she has been losing weight for about a year, she was working out long before that. She starting exercising seriously in October 2008, but saw little change in her weight of 248 pounds.
The key, she said, was her diet.
"I've always loved to exercise," she said. "I just didn't have the eating right. It wasn't until I started cutting out the sugar and the flour, that's what did it for me."
Although a relatively simple eating plan, it was not simple to make the change at first.
"The first week I was exhausted," she said. "I had no energy."
But she persisted, she said, and it just became part of her life, helping her drop 96 pounds.
"Once I dropped the first 20, I was like, holy cow, that was easy."
Making a commitment to changing your lifestyle is the key factor in determining success, said registered dietitian Michele Cowee, chairwoman of the Carson Wellness Association.
She recommends people start out with small changes, then build on them as they get more comfortable.
"Everybody has a busy life," Cowee said. "It's hard to make a lot of changes, but everyone can make a change."
She advises people start out by dividing their plates in half. Fill half of it with vegetables, then add a fist-sized amount of protein and another fist-sized amount of starches, like rice.
However, eating healthy can be more complicated than it sounds. With fad diets all over the Internet and television, it's hard to know what's best.
"People hear too much misinformation or conflicting information, so they don't know what to believe," Cowee said.
And fast food is easily accessible in people's busy lives. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's "Your Food Environment Atlas," released in April, Carson City has 52 fast-food restaurants compared to 14 grocery stores.
Even when people do step into the grocery store, the choices can be overwhelming.
"The packaging will say it's low in fat. Or it'll say something is good for you, and it's not," said Jeanne Whited, a fitness trainer and owner of a natural-food catering business, The Wild Bean. "People have to be more label conscious and eat foods that aren't processed, like fresh fruits and vegetables."
Through her catering business, she shows people that eating fresh doesn't mean it's boring.
"People are actually surprised at how good everything tastes," she said. "You can actually taste the flavors of the food, instead of just salt."
To help others learn how to prepare natural foods, she is expanding her business to home consultations where she will go through pantries and refrigerators to determine which food is healthy. She will then guide the customer through various recipes.
"It's actually really simple, if you have foods in a package or a box, they've already been processed," she said. "Your body doesn't have to work that hard to process them. Whereas if you're eating whole foods, your body has to work harder to break it down and you'll burn more calories."
Cowee suggests keeping a food diary to get started.
"It can help a person learn their eating style," she said. "It helps them to learn about themselves."
Krupp said her food journal was critical to her success.
"It keeps you honest, and it lets you look to see what works," she said.
Since losing the weight, she said, her cholesterol has dropped and the stomach issues she suffered from have gone away.
"I feel awesome," she said.
She credits the support from her family for keeping her motivated, and encourages others to follow suit.
"Put your heart and soul into it, and don't give up," she said. "There will be days you'll feel tired, but if you keep pushing yourself through it, you'll achieve that goal."