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Mom pushes through challenges
By Kent McDill | Daily Herald Correspondent

Deb Mirabelli at the midway point in her Push Fitness training.


Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

Deb Mirabelli poses for her before photo at Push Fitness in Schaumburg.


Bill Zars | Staff Photographer

Contestant Deb Mirabelli with her children, Kerilyn and Joey, at the Fittest Loser Challenge in Schaumburg.


Bill Zars | Staff Photographer

Deb Mirabelli works out with trainer Steve Amsden of Push Fitness for the Fittest Loser Challenge.


Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

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Published: 6/3/2010 11:09 AM

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Deb Mirabelli went on a significant journey. It was wrought with peril, in the form of strep throat, but she reached her destination.

Mirabelli, 44, gave herself quite an assignment. But agreeing to participate in the Fittest Loser competition sponsored by Push Fitness, she charged herself with workouts at the facility three times a week, daily workouts at home, a complete change of diet, all while completing work on a graduate degree and taking care of three children.

She survived, even though greater challenges were thrown in her path. She required a hysterectomy during the three months, and suffered from strep throat three times.

"I was old when we started, and I am a lot younger now,'' Mirabelli said. "I feel so much more energetic. I was more of a couch potato, as much as you can be in grad school with three kids. But I didn't have the energy level I have now."

The diet plan Mirabelli was put on requires eating five meals a day, smaller portions and healthier food. Mirabelli also took the additional step of cutting herself off from diet soda.

"I'm definitely going to keep the diet, although probably not as strict,'' Mirabelli said. "I will keep the five meals a day, and I will eat much less meat. I'm almost up to being a vegetarian right now.

"The sweetness of things has changed," she said. "I gave up the diet soda in January, and I tried one two weeks ago and it was awful. I drink a lot of water now, or tea. The carbonation is what I thought I was going to miss, but I was taking acid reducers, and since I stopped drinking soda, I haven't taken one since."

Mirabelli entered the contest because she wanted to have more energy for her children. After seeing the success she has had, she plans to continue to lose weight in order to gain even more energy for her brood.

"I know if I want this to continue, I have to integrate it into my life with my kids, or it won't happen,'' she said. "We go bike riding together. I put some of those stretch bands and I have my kids hold the other end. I want to continue to lose one or two pounds a week so by Christmas I am where I want to be."

Mirabelli worked with trainer Steve Amsden at Push Fitness.

"I can't imagine matching up better with any of the other trainers,'' Mirabelli said. "He and I had the same personality. He really did care, and he talked a lot about positive attitude, and helping me work through the stressors in my life."

Alissa O'Donnell often watched Mirabelli's children when Deb went to Push Fitness for workouts.

"It was an incredible thing she was doing, while juggling going to school, working and taking care of the kids,'' O'Donnell said. "I thought she had such a heavy load it would be difficult but she did it. It has changed the way her whole family acts. They eat differently together, exercise differently together."