The fitness journey that changed Meredith Garofalo's life

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SARASOTA - A new year has begun, and for many that means setting resolutions. And while some are easier than others, one of the most challenging can be losing weight and creating a healthier lifestyle. One of ABC 7’s own embarked on the fitness journey of a lifetime recently, and she’s hoping that with her story, she can help you do the same.

ABC 7 meteorologist Meredith Garofalo was a completely different person three months ago. She was at 150 pounds and 24% body fat, and although she says she hid it well, she was unhappy...searching for some way to get herself back in shape.

So she took on a Find Your Fit Challenge, and hopes that through her success she can help forecast for you a positive outcome in your goals for 2013.

There comes a lot of responsibility with being a public figure working at a local TV station; the community looks up to you.

“I could tell that she wanted to live a healthier lifestyle, but she didn't really know how to go about it,” says trainer and ABC 7 marketing consultant Tim Schalch.

Meredith might have hid it well on air, but she wasn't where she wanted to be. “The TLS Find Your Fit Challenge is a 12-week challenge. There's 4 main components: there's nutrition, the supplementation, exercise, and then behavior modification -- an example of that would be stress eating,” says Schalch.

Meredith says she really wasn't taking good care of herself and was eating whatever she wanted to. She needed to make a lifestyle change.

“The answer is in the palm of your hand. You want to do your proteins in the palm of your hand, 5 servings per day, 5 meals per day. For your vegetables you want it to fit in the palm of your hand. Your fruits something you can easily grasp is a good portion control,” says TLS coach Tamara Nazworth.

Meredith kept a journal of what she ate every day, which consisted of things like lean proteins, fat free dairy, fresh fruits and veggies, good fats like peanut butter and almonds, and no alcohol for the first month and a half. Then there's 10-11 hours of hard work each week -- at least 4 days of weight training and at least 5 days of a variety of cardio for at least 45 minutes.

It wasn't easy. She wanted to give up a lot of times. She says she would be in the gym with her personal trainer and she'd have her do squats, and she would do 5 squats and be like “I'm done, I'm tired, this hurts.”

“If you don't have proper form in a lot of the exercises, you're not working the muscles the way they should be. Therefore you're not going to benefit from it. So that was the one key element we wanted to work on,” says personal trainer Kristi Schalch Guitierrez.

It's not easy along the path to your dreams. And you're going to hit pavement that's going to be so tough and so hard and you're going to want to turn back. “I just saw how you became so strong in who you are, you owned your body, you became a lover of yourself,” says Nazworth.

Meredith says she’s feeling amazing, and is so happy every single day of her life…and just so grateful to know that she did it.

“You can see it just throughout her work in general, whether it's out in the community, she's just wanting to inspire other to help others that may think that this is probably the hardest thing they could ever do which it's not,” says Schalch.

Meredith ended up losing almost 20 pounds and 7% body fat over the past three months.

2012 was her year to change her life for the better, and 2013 could be yours. For more information on her journey through this challenge, go to