Name: Regine Saintil

Age: 42

City: Menlo Park

Faced with a second knee surgery in October 2010, I weighed the most I had ever weighed in my life: 198 pounds. All I could think about were the numerous times my surgeon told me I would recover faster if I were within my ideal weight. When I met with him, I looked him straight in the eye and told him I wanted to delay surgery: "No way, not until I lose at least 30 pounds."

I never really ate junk food or fast food. I never liked sodas or fruit juices. I have a wicked sweet tooth, though. I don't really like eating out much, 'cause I think I am a pretty darn good cook. I just love to eat good food, so my portions were always huge.

At the same time, I have always loved nutrition, so I just set out to find out more about eating clean and portion control. I also should mention that I have been a group fitness instructor for the past six years. I was carrying quite a bit of weight, despite being in the fitness industry.

I bought every Oxygen magazine I could find and stalked Tosca Reno's site (author Reno is an advocate of the clean eating movement). I became a member of the Kitchen Table online community, bought some dumbbells and started working out at home.

I never looked back. By the time I had the surgery in June 2011, I had lost about 45 pounds. To date, I have lost a total of 70. I have gone from a size 16-18 pants size to 4-6. I now have a 24-inch waist.

I do cardio and weight training six days a week, with the seventh day being for fun outdoor activities -- hikes, walks, swimming -- with my husband and our dogs. I teach a variety of fitness classes in the Bay Area, including Zumba, boot camp and circuit training. I am now in the best shape of my life, and I am currently training for my first bikini competition.

And though I live with chronic pain, I want to inspire and show my students that losing weight is not complicated and can be done safely, regardless of your abilities. All it takes is dedication, perseverance, patience, consistency as well as an unwavering will to succeed and get healthy.

share your journey
Have you lost a significant amount of weight, or did you finally lose those stubborn last 10 pounds? If so, we'd like to hear your story. Tell us in 400 words or less about your weight-loss journey. Send your stories to mross@bayareanewsgroup.com with the subject line "weight loss story." Include your name, age and city and a contact phone number. Also, send before and after pictures in JPG format, if available.