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They showed off their new bodies on the runway

After collectively losing over 3,000 lbs, 55 graduates of the Cohen weight-loss program celebrated by fulfilling another dream: to walk the red carpet

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ANDREA Tonda lost 116 lbs in 10 months.

If you’ve got it, flaunt it.

Graduates of Cohen’s Lifestyle Center last week strutted the catwalk to show off their new bods through a fashion show called “Re: New Me 2012, Fit for the Red Carpet.”

For the clinic of the popular Cohen weight loss-through-nutrition program, it was a culmination of another triumphant year. For the 55-strong graduates who dropped a total of 3,031 lbs, or 1.37 tons, to reach their ideal weight, it was a celebration of conquering battles that have haunted them since childhood.

Biggest losers

Roxanne Marie Jayme, human resources professional, who started the program Jan. 2 as a 205-lb heavyweight, said she never went inside Mango or Zara because she knew nothing would fit her anyway. Overweight since grade school, the 5’2” Jayme slimmed down to 123 lbs in eight months and 21 days. From UK dress size 22, she now fits into a svelte size 8.

“Before, I used to just look and mentally picture that if I had that dress, I would do this and pair it with that. Now, I can actually wear it. It’s fantastic. There is no feeling that compares, especially for someone like me who has been overweight all her life,” the 38-year-old Jayme said.

ALEXANDRA Laya-Zinampan lost 88 lbs in six months.

Jeffrey Tan, 35, who lost 120 lbs in eight months, knew what it felt like to not have anything on the rack fit him. A 290-pounder not too long ago, Tan said he has tried practically every diet program ever invented and even went to the gym in earnest efforts to lose weight. While the workouts managed to make him shed some pounds—he lost 10 lbs in four months—it was progressing too slowly to keep him motivated.

With the Cohen program, Tan went from wearing US 4XL to medium. He has long ago quit his gym membership, opting to do his daily workout of 140 pushups every morning at home. If gyms required putting in hours of workouts to see results, his pushups are done in 10 minutes tops. For Tan, that means more time to enjoy his reclaimed youth. And one of the things he’s playing catch-up with is shopping.

“I’m very happy I can buy clothes right away. I’m now more adventurous with my wardrobe, medyo fashionable,” Tan said, smiling. His SGPT level is now normal and he doesn’t have a fatty liver anymore. (An SGPT test checks if the liver is diseased or damaged.)

Body chemistry

JEFFREY Tan lost 120 lbs in eight months.

The Cohen program was formulated by Dr. Rami Cohen. It is an individually tailored eating plan based on a person’s unique body chemistry, evaluated via blood extraction. The personalized eating plan balances the body’s hormones and triggers its natural ability to shed off fat safely and quickly. This is the very reason, according to Cohen CEO Barbara Young, that people who have struggled with weight since childhood are finally losing weight.

Cohen’s Lifestyle Center goes beyond writing down personalized food prescriptions. It also established a Cohen community, a support group composed of Cohen graduates and nongraduates, who can share similar experiences and help each other during weak moments.

“Completing the Cohen program requires discipline and patience. The Cohen community will provide our clients… the support and encouragement from people who have gone through the same program and understand the challenges they face,” Young said.

Alexandra Laya-Zinampan, who went from 222 lbs to 134 lbs in six months, said she now feels very healthy and strong. Her joints do not ache anymore, and her mood has improved dramatically.

The 38-year-old gastroenterologist said she is thinner now than when she got married. She lost weight for her wedding, but gained it all back—and more—after. She has always been big, she said, and not even in her wildest imagination did she see herself walking a runway.

LILIBETH Ordillas lost 63 lbs in five months.

“This is the best thing I’ve done for myself. I embraced the program and it rewarded me with this body,” Laya-Zinampan said.

PAOLO Kimpo lost 68 lbs in five months. PHOTOS BY ALANAH TORRALBA

Young said weight loss is an achievement worth recognizing “because they not only gained confidence from having bodies worthy of being seen on the red carpet, but they acquired new outlooks in life after overcoming their weight and health issues. This is their time to shine.”

The evening also included the Cohen Star Achiever Award, a special recognition given to one male and one female who lost the most weight. IT specialist Francis Anthony Salazar, 31, took home the award for losing 153 lbs in 10 months, dropping from 324 lbs to 171 lbs. DJ and makeup artist Andrea Christine Tonda, 27, was also recognized for losing 116 lbs in 10 months. She went from 240 lbs to 124 lbs. A photo exhibit of some 40 graduates shot by Raymond Lontok were displayed at the entrance.

The Cohen’s Lifestyle Center is at 1006, 10/F Medical Plaza Makati Building, Amorsolo cor. Dela Rosa Sts., Legaspi Village, Makati City. Visit www.cohenlifestyle.com.ph, e-mail info@cohenlifestyle.com.ph, or call 5021090 and 5015237.


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