For much of 2010, Carole Tanzer Miller had two missions: 1) Steer a series on obesity into the paper on Jan. 1, 2011; and 2) lose weight.
She succeeded with each.
In a big way.
Miller, 58, has been an editor at The News & Observer for nearly 11 years.
A reporter she works with, Sarah Avery, pitched the idea for the series last spring after writing several news stories about obesity in North Carolina.
As Miller worked with a team of N&O journalists on "Frontiers of Fat," she undertook her own battle of the bulge.
Since March, she has lost 66 pounds. "I got motivated when I became so rotund that only one pair of slacks - from the fat side of my closet - still fit. Barely," Miller said.
With the help of a former high school classmate, who served as a coach, Miller used a program called Take Shape for Life.
Each day, she ate five replacements for meals - usually protein bars and milkshakes - and a lean, green meal for dinner, such as grilled chicken and salad.
She also spent 30 minutes a day working out with Wii Fit, an exercise video game. "This was the first I'd ever committed to exercise, and I was surprised to find it did wonders for my energy and stamina," Miller said.
She had lost weight before, but it always crept back. This time, she wants to stay on track by writing about her efforts to keep her weight down. She and some N&O colleagues will blog about their efforts to be healthy in 2011 at blogs.newsobserver.com/turningthescales.
"Frontiers of Fat" starts today on the front page and will run four more days. We started the series today because we know that during recent holidays, many of us have eaten too much and exercised too little, and will resolve today to change our ways. Let this series be your guide.
The series will show that the best diet is the one that works for you. Although physicians disagree about specific diets, most agree that exercise is vital to maintaining a healthy weight.
The series focuses on research in North Carolina about obesity's causes and possible prevention.
"Explaining science is a challenge," Miller said. "We're writing not only for an audience filled with scientists but also for lay people who demand explanations that are easy to understand, not filled with techno-speak.
"Fortunately, we had a mix of science-savvy staffers and those of us who are less so on the project team. So the scientific stuff went through repeated rounds of questioning, tweaking and fact-checking."
In our features sections, we will publish stories offering strategies for getting healthy.
We will tell you about a woman who has lost more than 200 pounds at a Duke diet clinic. We will show you how to dress fashionably as you lose weight. We will share seven tips on how to be healthier in 2011. And our restaurant critic will reveal his secrets to eating out and not gaining weight.
We offer "Frontiers of Fat" and hope you will dig in.
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