It should have been a joyous occasion. But when she could barely get the zipper up on her maid of honor dress, Deputy Christine Dzikonski wasn't happy at all.
It was that day, trying on dress after dress before squeezing into a size 14, that she knew she had to make a change.
"I just wasn't me," the petite Pasco County Sheriff's Office deputy said.
That was April 2011. At 170 pounds, she knew she had a lot to gain by losing weight, her health and her self-esteem, among them.
Dzikonski started by taking small steps to making changes in her daily life. Steps that included walks from the Land O' Lakes Jail to U.S. 41 and back, a 2-mile jaunt that picked up in pace as she became more and more fit.
She added intensity, stepped up her speed and added jumpy aerobic moves that may have looked a little silly, she said, but it got her heart rate up. She started climbing the stairs at the jail for more of a workout. Then began working out with weights in the employee gym at the jail.
Each step she took brought her closer and closer to her goal. Now, at 110 pounds, she can proudly say she shed more than half of her current weight.
"I feel 100 percent different," Dzikonski said. "I'm a lot happier."
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Dzikonski now exercises daily, she said, varying her workouts between cardio and weight training. She does abdominal workouts every day.
Her journey also included a lot of education along the way.
"I've learned a lot about nutrition and reading labels," Dzikonski said. And that knowledge is something she readily passes along to anyone interested.
"People who knew me then and see me now can't believe it," she said.
Dzikonski, who's been with the sheriff's office for 23 years, is not only happier, her fitness transformation is inspiring others at the agency. She recently was asked to serve on the sheriff's health committee, a new initiative implemented to encourage and assist agency employees in making lifestyle changes for better health.
That meant a lot to her.
"It was an honor," Dzikonski said.
Dzikonski recently helped coordinate and participated in the agency's Jingle Bell Run. She is now training for the Savage Race in Dade City in April, she said.
Have you lost a significant amount of weight recently? How did you do it? If you'd like to share your story, email editor Keli Sipperley.