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Better habits lead to solid start

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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Matthew Storz, 28, of Newark, Del., has lost 20 pounds since mid-July, but he says he would have lost more if he had worked out consistently. n ''On the weekends, I get out and exercise more than I do during the week,'' he says. n He's one of a dozen participants in USA TODAY's Weight-Loss Challenge who have been sharing their success stories this fall. n His is the final profile until January, when several of the dieters will be featured in follow-up stories.

Occupation: Video production manager in Wilmington, Del.

Starting weight: 360 pounds

Current weight: 340 pounds

Height: 6-foot-4

Motivation: ''Everyone on my father's side of the family has died in their 50s and early 60s of heart attacks, except for my dad, who is living. He is 64.''

Program: Following The South Beach Diet and recipes from The South Beach Diet Cookbook. Walking on a treadmill at home.

Pitfalls: ''Motivating myself to exercise on a consistent basis has been tough for me. It is the hardest part. Eating healthy has become fairly easy for me. I am learning to eat better foods and more vegetables. I am also trying to eat raw tomatoes with some of my foods, which I never really ate before.''

Insights: ''After changing my eating habits and learning to live a healthier lifestyle, I found that eating healthier does allow for some weight loss. However, one must incorporate exercise into their routine daily. To overcome my pitfall, I see that I need to force myself to schedule an hour out of each day (in which) I'm going to exercise and stick to that schedule.

''I have lost some weight and gained some confidence knowing that it is possible. . . . You just have to keep motivated, set attainable goals and make the right choices.''

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© Copyright 2004 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.


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