North Fork woman’s weight loss featured in Oprah magazine

New Suffolk, Oprah Winfrey
KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | 'O, The Oprah Magazine' will feature Susan Martin of New Suffolk next month in a piece about women who have dramatically lost weight.

That Susan Martin, 36, of New Suffolk has lost 100 pounds from her 6-foot frame is no big deal to her. But it seems to be significant to a lot of people around her who never commented about her weight when she was packing on those pounds since leaving Southold High School.

So impressed were a lot of her friends with her weight loss that when they heard Oprah Winfrey was looking to interview people who had dropped substantial weight, for “O, The Magazine,” they submitted her name. She’s one of several women whose stories will be recounted in the September edition of the magazine due on newsstands in mid-August.

Ms. Martin was weighing in at about 260 pounds before she set her mind to seriously dropping the weight a few years ago.

“I knew I was getting heavier,” she said. She had even tried Weight Watchers and succeeded in dropping some weight, only to put back those pounds and more in her fast-paced lifestyle as a public relations agent in New York City.

“I’m not like a closet eater,” Ms. Martin said. “A lot of it was mindless eating.”

But traveling a lot and entertaining clients meant constant eating and drinking, lots of snacking and keeping long hours.

Despite the numbers on the scale, Ms. Martin never considered gastric bypass or lap band surgery.

“All I have is time,” she said. “I didn’t put it on overnight and I didn’t expect to take it off quickly.”

She had been active in high school — a three-sport athlete who played field hockey, basketball and softball. She thought the activity there and the continued pace of her work life would keep her from having a weight problem. And at 6-feet tall, she could carry a lot of weight without appearing to be obese, she said. But 260 pounds was neither attractive nor healthy, Ms. Martin said.

Working for Condé Nast, publishers of such magazines as Teen Vogue and GQ, and now running her own business, SMART Productions, she is around a lot of models.

“I never felt uncomfortable or out of place because they’re models,” she said of the often super-slim people who surrounded her.

But when she saw photos of herself taken during a business trip to New Orleans, that was the motivation to begin approaching weight loss seriously.

“I don’t diet,” Ms. Martin said. She said she hates it when someone says she can’t have a dessert or something sweet. “I never deprive myself.”

She can eat everything, she said. But what she has learned is that she can’t eat everything at once. She cut out drinking because, “I’d rather have a candy bar once a week than two drinks.”

Now she works out regularly at nearby gyms, participates in a pilates program on weekends at Pike Street Pilates in Mattituck, or goes for hikes on North Fork trails.

Her current goal is less about pounds and more about toning up her body, losing inches in those places she believes will give her body better definition.

As for the Oprah shoot, it occurred in June with the magazine providing clothing, teeth whitening services, makeup and hair styling, manicures and pedicures.

“It was a great day,” she said of the New York City. While she and the others didn’t get paid for their participation, they got to keep the bras and hair extensions that were purchased for them.

What Ms. Martin has learned from her journey to a healthy weight is that there is no magic.

“Anybody who wants to do this can do this,” she said. Just do something today that’s more than you did yesterday, she advised.

It starts with keeping a journal to record what you’re eating and then cutting down portion sizes and becoming more physically active.

“I’m not a lunatic or obsessed about it,” Ms. Martin said, referring to her eating and exercise. “But I can’t imagine not making time for myself to go to the gym.

“It’s about balance of everything.”

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