Janice Keeler remembers the black blouse.

Janice Keeler remembers the black blouse.

Keeler moved to Gulf County two years ago from Houston and in January 2012 she needed to renew her driver’s license.

She put one of her favorite black blouses and got in her car.

She could barely breathe.

“That blouse was so tight I had to unbutton the bottom few buttons so I could breathe,” Keeler said. “I decided right then I would go on a diet.”

Keeler was 130 or so pounds when she was a young adult and did not put on weight until after having her children and her marriage broke down.

She was tipping 300 pounds. As a diabetic, that weight brought additional issues.

And she had been down the dieting road before with little success, even tried Weight Watchers for a time.

“I would start out hot and heavy but I didn’t keep to it,” Keeler said. “It is easy to fall off the wagon. This is hard.

“But this time I needed to get off the 300 mark.”

Her diet was dramatic. She counted calories and began to restrict herself to 700 a day.

She eliminated the bread she loved so much, the pasta, the rolls – the carbohydrates that so easily turn to fat.

“I concentrated on eating meat and fruits and vegetables,” Keeler said.

The first four months, she said, were hard.

She found herself traveling down the cookie and snack aisles of the grocery store. She would stare at what she knew she couldn’t and shouldn’t have.

She visited the Health Department who provided a coach, Debbie, and doctor, Kevin Murphy to monitor Keeler’s progress and her health.

The weight started melting off - dramatically.

Twenty, thirty, forty pounds slipped away. Today Keeler is 63 pounds lighter.

“It really came off fast early but now every two weeks or so I am losing two to three pounds,” Keeler said. “That is not discouraging. I am still losing weight and feeling better.

“I really feel good. I don’t huff and puff. I have energy. I can fit into a lot of clothes I couldn’t before.”

She joined One Way Fitness Center and spends each morning at the gym. She will ride a stationary bicycle for 45 minutes and perform some weight training.

She is religious about her routine. If it is 10 a.m. ET during the week, Keeler is in the gym.

“I am on a routine and I need to stick to it,” Keeler said. “I really want to get my weight down. I am never going to be 160 or 170 but I can lose more. The thin people at the gym don’t bother me. They are thin, I am heavy. It’s no big deal.

“I am here to do what I need to do to lose weight. I just need to keep plugging along.”

She has learned more about proper diet, trying to “buy right” and eat sugar free where possible.

“I am 65 years old and I need to take care of myself,” Keeler said. “It is hard but I never thought I would lose 60 pounds. It’s a struggle. You just need to set your mind to it.

“I’m shocked by myself. When I try on my thin clothes I know this works. I just needed to learn that (the way I ate and lived) was not a good thing for me at this time.”