Life’s WORC attendee drops 85 lbs. with family’s help, support

Mar 9, 2020

By Ann Donahue-Smukler
Nicholas Castellino, 25, of Bay Shore, at left

Nicholas Castellino, 25, of Bay Shore, at left in March 2016 when he weighed 266 pounds, and after his more than 80-pound weight loss. Credit: Castellino family photos; Newsday / Steve Pfost


25, Bay Shore

Occupation Attends Life’s WORC, an organization that supports those with developmental disabilities and autism

Height 6 feet

Before 266 pounds, Dec. 2016

After 180 pounds, May 2018

“It’s nice to put on clothes that are smaller than I’m used to,” says Nicholas Castellino, who lost more than 85 pounds over 14 months and whose waist size went from 48 to 32 inches.

In February 2017, Castellino, who was diagnosed with autism at age 2½ and had steadily put on extra weight in his early 20s, started using a treadmill at the suggestion of his brother. It was the start of a weight loss and healthy eating program the whole family embraced, leading to a collective weight loss of 231 pounds.

It was Castellino’s younger brother Rickie who got the ball rolling. He was losing weight himself after researching healthy ways to eat well and shed pounds. His parents and Nicholas joined in and agreed to his approach of no carbs, no sugar, no candy (a rule that gets relaxed on special occasions) and regular exercise. A chart tracking everyone’s progress was posted on the kitchen wall, and weigh-ins were (and still are) every Thursday.

“Despite Nicholas not liking fruit or salad, he found the program easy, and he was very compliant,” says Francine, Nick’s mom, who herself lost 45 pounds.

“Nicholas has become an inspiration to his advisors and peers,” says Nick’s dad, Anthony, who lost 65 pounds on the new regimen.

Nick usually starts his day with a half-cup of nonfat Greek yogurt with flax seeds, chia seeds, granola, cinnamon and a small amount of coconut flakes. A typical lunch is half a sandwich of turkey, ham or roast beef on low-calorie bread with some grated cheese and a glass of water (one of the six to seven he drinks daily). On Fridays, Castellino skips the sandwich and treats himself to a slice of pizza. In the afternoon, he has a cup of cappuccino and some pretzels. Dinner can be two pieces of roasted skinless chicken thighs and a vegetable like broccoli or spinach. He has a small portion of potatoes every now and then. Dessert might be sugar-free Jell-O or a rice cake.

Castellino does a combination of walking and running two miles on a treadmill every day.

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