FAIR LAWN, NJ - Losing weight can be difficult, no matter if it's five pounds or 50. So, when resident and ShopRite employee Steven Rovetto lost nearly 100 pounds, TapInto wanted to inquire about the secrets to his success.

According to ShopRite spokesperson, Jillian Verpent, Rovetto was one of 10 associates who participated in ShopRite of Fair Lawn’s Associate Wellness Challenge, which ran for three months.

As part of the challenge, participating associates were required to check in on a weekly basis with ShopRite of Fair Lawn dietitian, Joannah Konecny, RD. During these weekly meetings, Konecny would give each associate a challenge card that provided direction on a small step the associates could incorporate into their lives each week to work towards a healthier lifestyle, Verpent said.

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"One week, the card encouraged participants to pack a healthy lunch using the USDA’s MyPlate program," Verpent said. "Another week, the card came accompanied by a pedometer that would help associates track their steps."

Verpent said most associates noticed a difference at the end of the program. Some shed five pounds, others lost 10.

Rovetto's story, though, was remarkable. Below is a chat about his success.

Q. Tell me how old you were when you began the program to lose weight? And how old are you now?



Rovetto: I was 23 almost 24. My birthday was a month away and now I'm 25.
 
Q. What was the main thrust of the program? For example: certain foods, eating at certain times of the day, lots of exercise?

Rovetto: In the beginning it was all about calorie counting and I tried to stay away from eating late at night. I usually had my three major meals before six at night, and tried not to eat snacks after eight.

Q. What made you decide to lose weight?
 
Rovetto: Well, at first Joannah Konecny, RD, the Fair Lawn ShopRite Dietitian, asked me if I was going to join our store's annual Associate Wellness Challenge. This is a competition organized by our in-store dietitian that encourages associates to make positive changes through healthy eating. Originally I wasn't going to participate, but she asked me to weigh in anyway, and I said okay. When I stepped on the scale, I realized I was very overweight, I was at 293 lbs. I decided it was time to lose the weight at that point.

Q. How long did it take?
 
Rovetto: Overall, it took about 8 months. For the competition, which started in January, I lost about 57 lbs, and it took about 3 months. Then I continued to work with Joannah, and lost the next 43 lbs.

Q. Was there a time during the process that you felt it wasn't worth it or you wanted to quit? If so, how did you get past that point?
 
Rovetto: I never really hit that point. I was losing a lot of weight every couple of weeks and I was just driven to continue to lose the weight and reach my goal.

Q. What do you do for work now? How has your job helped you with the weight loss?
 
Rovetto: I still work at the Fair Lawn ShopRite in the produce department. It helps me to keep to a schedule so I can have my breakfast and lunches around the same time every day. And part of my job requires lifting boxes, which adds to my workout.

Q. What do your family and friends think of your great achievement?
 
Rovetto: During and even now my friends and family have been really supportive. Joannah was the one who helped me learn nutritional facts and helped me design a diet to keep me motivated. My oldest brother and one of my friends helped me with a workout plan to start exercising. Everyone else just cheered me on. I actually have some friends who started making appointments with Joannah to shed their own pounds.

Q. What advice would you give someone who needs to lose weight, whether it's 5 pounds or 50 pounds?

Rovetto: Willpower! I had to put myself in a mindset of losing weight. If someone is really looking to lose a few pounds or a lot of weight, it's all about the will to want to lose the weight. But if you set your mind to it, you'll be able to do it.