Reading resident Charlene Bazarian was featured in the August issue of Good Housekeeping magazine for her weight loss. Bazarian went from 208 to 119 pounds by eating a better diet and exercising regularly.
Bazarian grew up in Reading and has always lived in town. She is a mom of three, lawyer and owner of a DJ service, Rick Obey’s Entertainment. She has also started her own Facebook page, FBJ, that offers fitness advice to readers.
“I wear a lot of hats,” she said.
Her weight loss
Throughout her weight loss journey, she lost 89 pounds. She started at 208 pounds and now weighs in at 119.
She was an average size throughout her high school and college careers, but while attending law school she put on weight. Then, after having her children, she put on even more.
Her weight went up and down before and after each child, but after giving birth to her third son she lost 86 pounds. She did a lot of work out videos at home to lose the weight and eventually got a personal training certification.
“I found fitness like some people find religion,” she said.
The August issue of Good Housekeeping is on newsstands now (you can find Bazarian on page 129). However, she traveled to New York for a photo shoot two and a half years ago.
"It was cool to go to New York," she said. "Hair and make-up was hours. They took 500 photos."
Even before the photo shoot, she sent before and after pictures of herself into Collage Video. Every month they feature success stories and offer $100 and a free video to anyone who sends in photos.
Good Housekeeping got her information from Collage Video and contacted her to be in the magazine. After the shoot in the Big Apple, the magazine interviewed Bazarian and let her know that they would wait for the right time to publish the piece. It turns out that the right time would not be until this year.
"They re-interviewed us within the last month to ask where things are now," she said.
Since the shoot, she has expanded her workouts to a lot more than exercise videos.
"I go to the gym. I do a lot of walking and gyrotonics," she said. "Everyday I do at least two work out video and go to a trainer at least once a week."
Bazarian became the "go-to" person for fitness advice among her circle of friends once they found out about her weight loss.
Friends, and friends of friends, would call her and ask about what foods they should be eating. They would even call while at a restaurant and ask which menu items were okay to order.
“I was like a live app,” she said.
A few of the people she helped lost about 30 or 40 pounds. So she decided to start a Facebook page to offer tips and advice to those trying to lose some "lbs." As a big fan of famous trainer Jillian Michaels, Bazarian picked up the nickname "Facebook Jillian." That is where her Facebook page name, FBJ, came from.
"Is this FBJ approved?" her fans would ask.
She started with a few followers and now has 120. Half of those people she knows personally.
A few years ago, Bazarian was at the gym working out and was able to meet Michaels.
“They were filming Losing It With Jillian, so I got to meet her and got my photo taken with her,” she said.
Her advice to those trying to lose weight
"It's not just one thing," Bazarian said. "It’s both diet and exercise, not just one magic thing.”
She also mentioned that keeping the weight off means keeping up your diet and exercise routine.
"There's no touch down dance," she said.
Stay away from white foods: white breads, pasta, white rice, potatoes etc. Stick with alternatives like brown rice and sweet potatoes.
Shop in the produce section and "cook foods as plainly as you can."
She is a big "Luna bar fan."
"I've had a Luna bar for breakfast for the last 13 years," she said. "I absolutely love them."
"It doesn’t always have to be a hardcore effort, do some yoga and abs in the morning and then go for a long walk," she said. "I try to fit in whatever I can, its hard with two jobs and three boys, but you make the time for things that are important to you.”
Find something you like to do. if you like to dance, try a zumba class. If you like sports, play a game of tennis.
"Weight training was a huge light bulb," she said. "You build more muscle and eat more food, which was an incentive for me!"
She says a lot of people say that they don't have time to exercise. Her response to that: "you’re no busier than a fit person.”