Before: 235. After: 160

Lana Lander, 46, has a sleek physique, owns a bustling bed-and-breakfast on the island, and leads an active, happy life that’s clearly on the upswing. But it wasn’t always so.

In the past 28 months, Lander lost more than 75 pounds, creating a new life for herself, and a new attitude to go with it.

“I was a little chunky in my teen years but my real weight gain came after the death of my sister,” she said.  

Lander was only 21 years old at the time and the loss had a dramatic effect.

“Eating made me feel better, and so I ate,” she said.

Tethered to her desk at a computer job, she never exercised and her eating habits weren’t the best. Nutrition wasn’t a big concern, she said.

“I didn’t eat breakfast or lunch and then I’d have a huge, fatty dinner with ice cream before bed,” she said.

A move to another state, a limited social life and relationship problems created more unhappiness, followed by more emotional eating, and more weight gain.

Lander moved to Galveston in 2004 to open Coastal Dreams Bed & Breakfast and to be closer to family.

“I don’t know how I did the work I needed to do at that larger size,” she said.

By that time, Lander, who is 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighed more 250 pounds. Then, late in 2010, a long-term relationship ended, and she had difficulty dealing with feelings of anger and loss, she said.

To take the edge off, she started walking, and one day several months after her breakup, she walked in to Total Fitness on Seawall Boulevard.

“It’s true that the end of my relationship brought about my initial trip to the gym,” Lander said. “But that’s where Le Bergin (a fitness trainer) comes in. I had no direction, structure or plan with which to succeed. Without Le, I honestly don’t feel I would have been successful. I’ve been at this for over two years now, and she still encourages and inspires me in every single class. She is my angel.”

Bergin, co-owner of Total Fitness and a certified personal trainer, stepped in and discussed options and possibilities with Lander, who decided to join Bergin’s Island Boot Camp program three mornings a week.   

Ten minutes into the first class, Lander walked out. In the second class, she made it 30 minutes.  

“I wanted to be proud of myself,” Lander said. “In the past two years, I’ve walked out of a lot of classes due to anger and frustration, but I keep going. Le has helped me by walking me through, by encouraging me. This is her true calling.”

In her first year in Island Boot Camp, Lander lost 45 pounds. But the weight loss wasn’t her greatest benefit, she said.

“I used to give up if something did not come easily to me,” Lander said. “I’m not patient. But when I started boot camp, even though it was often rocky, I kept coming back. I stuck with it. And it has paid off.”

Persistence, not perfection is her motto. She attends boot camp three times a week — the 5:30 a.m. class.

“I enjoy the camaraderie of the group and the different exercises we do — it’s always different,” she said. “It’s very energizing.”

Lander lost her weight primarily through physical exercise. But exercise can’t do it all, she said.

“For me, food is still the hard part but I am getting better,” she said. “I eat fewer carbohydrates and less fat, and I always have a big breakfast.”

Her reward?

“Mentally I am stronger; physically I’m stronger and fit, and, yes, I’m a much happier person,” she said.

Her cholesterol levels took a dive from the high 200s, and she admits that she moves more gracefully and can run up stairs without getting winded.

“The physical changes are just the icing on the cake,” she said. “I feel capable of anything I put my mind to. I am grateful for everything in my life and I have a much more upbeat attitude.”

Another big reward: Her mom, who is 70, has begun to emulate her daughter’s lifestyle and getting in shape, Lander said.

Lander recommends these three bits of wisdom to jump-start a weight loss program:

1. Get moving. Take a walk to the end of the block and back.

2. Get a trainer and commit to a certain course of action; training programs can be geared to your level of ability and fitness.

3. Don’t ever give up on yourself. You are worth the challenge. 

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