107 Pounds Lost: My journey to a happier, healthier me
NAME : Heather
BEFORE WEIGHT : 285
AFTER WEIGHT : 177
POUNDS LOST : 107
WHEN DID YOU START DEVELOPING A WEIGHT PROBLEM?
I started to gain weight and become heavier than my peers when I was young, probably in the first grade. I was an average sized child until I was five or six, and then over the years I became heavier than all of my classmates and friends.
HOW DID YOUR WEIGHT AFFECT ANY ASPECT(S) OF YOUR LIFE?
My weight made me stand out in school. I was bullied from a young age. I grew up with my two siblings and divorced father, and had a very poor image of myself. I was very successful academically and did not have much self confidence, so I was constantly a spectacle. I had “old-fashioned” family that singled me out for my size, calling me fat and even putting me on a diet when I was 8 or 9. The summer of my 16th birthday, I starved myself and exercised excessively. When I started I was about 220 pounds and by the time I finished, three months later, I was 175 pounds. I looked sick and I became sick. My hair grew thin, my skin broke out, and I became severely anemic. As soon as I started to eat even relatively normally, I started to put all of the weight back on. I remember that for those few months when I was “smaller” hearing for the first time in my life that I was “pretty.” Such things severely affected my outlook of myself. Going into college I had awful self esteem, let people treat me poorly, and gained more and more weight.
WHAT WAS THE “TURNING POINT” THAT GOT YOU STARTED ON YOUR WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY?
In 2013 I hit my heighest weight and subsequently started to develop some health issues. After a visit with a doctor where I left in tears, not having felt any sympathy from the person and being insulted, I told myself that I had to stop being stubborn and see if my weight was the cause of my problems. A couple of weeks later I stood on the stage at my university for my graduation – I had achieved my Bachelors Summa Cum Laude. I promised myself that day that I had achieved something great and since I was finishing with school, I needed to use my now spare time to pursue a happier, healthier life.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED?
My family got me a Planet Fitness membership for Christmas, at my request, and I signed up. I got the flu and as soon as I was better, I started at the gym. It was January 20, 2014 when I took that first step for myself. I simply did an hour on the elliptical for three days per week. I went low carb for my eating, and tried to eat whole, nutritious, less processed foods.
HOW LONG AFTER YOU STARTED DID YOU BEGIN TO SEE RESULTS OF YOUR WEIGHT LOSS EFFORTS?
I weighed myself after one month of my efforts and found I was down 13 pounds. Having struggled with eating issues in the past, I made it a goal to not make my focus the scale, but rather how I felt. I have always struggled with stress management, and found that the gym was the best thing I could do to manage stress and anxiety on a daily basis. Within my first 20 pounds lost, my skin cleared up, my hair started growing quickly, I was sleeping better, and those health issues that had me in the doctor’s office – all went away.
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST PART?
My job was a serious challenge. I worked odd hours and often had 50 hours per week, plus I was on call. I had to plan ahead to be sure I made it to the gym each day. I always thought in school that I didn’t like exercise, but as I continued to go to the gym, and saw my results, I loved the things exercise did to my body and the way it made me feel. I loved to compete with myself each day to see if I was becoming faster, better, and stronger.
DID YOU EVER WANT TO GIVE UP? WHAT KEPT YOU GOING?
I don’t remember a time that I wanted to give up. I was seeing steady results for the first 8 months of my journey, enjoying eating well, and loving the gym. If anything, I became relentlessly motivated. I eventually increased my time in the gym to 5 and 6 days a week, and I incorporated strength training.
DID YOU HIT ANY WEIGHT LOSS PLATEAUS? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM?
I hit a plateau after eight months from the start of my journey. I did my research, and realized that I had to challenge myself MORE. I increased my weight and resistance at the gym, and narrowed in on my diet. The month of my plateau I only lost 2 pounds. The following month I was down 11. My life has been hectic and ever changing for the last 1.5 years and I have not lost and maintained anything more since. I have recently began a new meal plan and that, in conjunction with my regular fitness, seems promising for results.
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO LOSE MOST OF THE WEIGHT?
I lost 100 pounds in 11 months. My
DID YOU HAVE ANY NON-SCALE VICTORIES?
Every day is a non-scale victory. I have endurance, I take the stairs, I LOVE to be physical and active. I wear clothes that I didn’t feel comfortable in before. I can wear heels now and not kill my feet after two hours. I have become so invested in my fit lifestyle, that this past January I had LASIK eye surgery done. My glasses were always such a hindrance to my activity. My biggest victory though is my self confidence. I have my issues with my body, we all do. But if I have learned anything, it’s that there was no way I could focus so much on my body while trying to take care of it, and not learn to love it.
WHAT DOES YOUR DAILY DIET LOOK LIKE COMPARED TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER?
I eat very few carbs. My diet is heavy in low starch veggies. I drink at least a gallon of water per day. I am very conscious of what I put into my body now.
HOW DOES YOUR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY COMPARE TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER?
I was rarely active when I was heavy. I worked retail in college and the most activity I got was when I was standing on my feet behind the register each shift.
MY WEIGHT LOSS TIPS & TRICKS
- Start with small steps. Do little things to incorporate better food and more activity into each day.
- Drink water!
- Know that it is so important that you love your body, at any size. That love will show in your efforts to take care of it. I learned to love my body and it flourished.
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