Marge: Living In 'The Zone'

For the past month, five co-workers from the Kinry Road Elementary School in Wapingers Falls, N.Y., have been taking part in The Early Show's "Weight Off" series. And over that time, each woman has been putting a different weight-loss plan to the test.

"Weight Off" is not designed to be a competition to see who will lose the most weight. It is intended to provide a comparison of different weight-loss plans. So far, the participants have supported one another, having fun and losing weight in the process.

For elementary school principal Marge Variano, a hectic work schedule includes juggling faculty meetings with student and staff celebrations, which makes eating healthy on the job almost impossible.

At 5-feet-9-inches, she says, "I probably weigh 173, somewhere around there. I'd like to lose at least 20 pounds."

She also says, "Under stress, I certainly eat. But it's also a time management type thing. I never get a lunch here (at work). I think maybe once or twice I've gotten to sit down and actually eat a lunch uninterrupted. So I don't pay attention to what I'm eating."

The long-time fitness buff has tried all sorts of diets and exercise programs over the years, but can't seem to stay on one program for too long.

"The reason she doesn't stick with a diet is because she expects or wants to see results today," says Variano's husband, Mike.

But Variano says, this time, she's committed to her latest diet, The Zone, and is thinking more about the long-term goals when it comes to eating healthy.

"I'm really enjoying the plan that I'm on. And I'm very excited about the weight loss," says Variano, even thought, in her third week she gained half a pound. Like everything else, she says there are ups and downs.

"That's really what I've learned about this whole thing. That you have to get past part of the ups and know if you stick to it there will be success," she says.

Having admitted to a love affair with the scale, Variano's advice for those struggling with weight loss is to stick to the plan.

"Everyone wants immediate gratification. All the diets you hear - lose ten pounds in two days. Lose weight quickly. But none of those really work. You have to really go with it for the long run. Know that if you can stick with it long-term that you will see results," she says.

Dieting with friends has also been helpful for Vairano. "Everyone is very supportive of one another. We talk to each other. They're helping each other all the time. It's been a very good experience," she says about the other women of "Weight Off."

As for The Zone, Variano says it is the plan she can live with.
"I'm really enjoying it. It's certainly a balanced diet. I enjoy the fact that you get to eat five times a day and there's always a meal to look forward to. It's something I'm sure I could stick with forever," she says.