A meltdown turned into a breakthrough for Bellaire resident Brigitte Radulovich. It all started with a shopping trip to find a pair of ski pants. Radulovich was in Breckenridge, Colo., with her husband, Mark; their son, Nicholas; and her in-laws. \u201cFor some reason, I packed everyone\u2019s ski pants but mine,\u201d she recalled. She told everyone to go without her the first day, and she would buy a pair. \u201cI thought I would just pop into town, pick up some pants and be ready for the next day,\u201d she said. \u201cBut it did not go that way at all.\u201d Radulovich perused the selection at a number of stores, but nothing fit. \u201cI finally went to what felt like the last store,\u201d she said. \u201cI was already frustrated.\u201d The teenager on duty brought her pair after pair of pants; she finally found one that worked. It was a men\u2019s XXL size. \u201cI started crying,\u201d Radulovich said. \u201cI had realized I needed to lose weight \u2014 but not that much. I felt miserable. I was so embarrassed.\u201d The extra pounds crept up on her. She never struggled with her weight growing up. She played competitive tennis and volleyball and was able to eat whatever she wanted. Then, after her marriage in 2000, Radulovich started to travel internationally for her work in project management. \u201cMy eating habits took a nose dive,\u201d she said. \u201cI gained a bit of weight here and there; my pants became snug. I started buying stretchy clothes.\u201d Snacking at night and eating carbs became the norm \u2014 anything that fit her busy schedule. \u201cYou don\u2019t really notice, because it\u2019s gradual over time,\u201d she said. \u201cYou stop thinking about it.\u201d When Radulovich and her husband were having trouble conceiving, she underwent six rounds of in vitro fertilization over five years. Nicholas was born in 2010 \u2014 but the hormones and stress of the process took a toll on Radulovich\u2019s health. By the time she had her epiphany in Breckenridge around Christmas 2018, she weighed 230 pounds and was a size 18. She was also on her way to diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. When Radulovich returned home to Houston, a friend referred her to Lifelong Weight Loss, a nonsurgical clinic at 3100 Weslayan. The facility is run by Dr. Rupal Mathur, a board-certified internal medicine physician who received her medical degree from Baylor College and completed her residency through Harvard Medical School at Massachusetts General Hospital. Mathur practiced primary care for several years before deciding to transition her career to weight-loss medicine. As a primary care provider, the majority of her patients struggled with their weight. \u201cIt became very frustrating for me,\u201d she said. Instead of being able to spend time with the patients and getting to the root of the problem, she only had 15 minutes per appointment. Rather than discussing diet and nutrition, the physician found herself writing prescriptions for cholesterol and blood pressure medications. Mathur discovered the Obesity Medicine Association, a network of clinicians dedicated to fighting the health effects of obesity. In 2017, she took a sabbatical, signed up for a fellowship and dove into research. She decided to start her own practice focused on weight loss. \u201cIt was the best decision I ever made,\u201d Mathur said. \u201cI found my passion.\u201d She chose the name \u201cLifelong Weight Loss\u201d to reflect its mission to achieve long-lasting, healthy lifestyle changes. On the first visit with patients, Mathur spends about 75 minutes reviewing history, food intolerances and motivation for weight loss. She delves into body composition, looking for carbohydrate sensitivity and blood sugar problems. She reviews lab results. \u201cI take all of that into account and create an eating plan that makes sense for the patient,\u201d she said. \u201cIt can\u2019t be unrealistic because then the patient won\u2019t stick with it.\u201d Nutrition is key to success. \u201cWe want to focus on eating,\u201d Mathur said. \u201cThat\u2019s 80 percent of weight loss.\u201d While Radulovich was initially skeptical, she committed to trying Mathur\u2019s recommendations for a week. In that short amount of time, she dropped 8 pounds \u2014 mostly from water weight and cutting out sodas. \u201cThat came as a shock,\u201d Radulovich said. She continued with Mathur\u2019s plan and, in a few months, lost 40 pounds. Her husband also decided to go to Lifelong Weight Loss and ended up weighing 35 pounds less by the end of the process. \u201cBy changing our eating habits, we had more energy and felt happier,\u201d Radulovich said. \u201cThis fog just lifted.\u201d These days, instead of a size 18, she wears a size 4 or 6. She has lost 83 pounds, and her cholesterol and blood sugar are in check. Most important, Radulovich said her son is picking up the couple\u2019s healthy eating habits. \u201cHe makes salads and loves Brussels sprouts and green beans,\u201d she said. Lindsay Peyton is a Houston-area freelance writer.