When I was 18 I was diagnosed with severe PCOS. Over the course of the previous year I had gained close to 100 pounds from the hormone problems associated with the syndrome and I was miserable.
HOW DID YOUR WEIGHT AFFECT ANY ASPECT(S) OF YOUR LIFE? I was so embarrassed of my weight that I really stopped being who I really was, a happy and outgoing girl who lover to laugh and be with friends. I shut off so that I didn’t bring attention to my weight.
WHAT WAS THE “TURNING POINT” THAT GOT YOU STARTED ON YOUR WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY? When I was 22, I had my first child. By the time she was 6 months old I was the biggest I’d ever been. My body hurt, I could barely carry her car seat without passing out from being out of breath….and I was so uncomfortable in my own skin. One day I was watching her and it hit me that I had to change my life or I’d leave her motherless. My mom died at 49, and the thought terrified me that I’d do the same to my own daughter.
I had tried a million “fad” diets and nothing ever stuck, so I was determined to do it the right way this time, through change in my eating habits and exercise!
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED? I walked. And walked and walked and walked, because really it’s all I could do in that body. I walked an hour every night, 5 nights a week. Then, overtime, I started to bike, lift weights and swim. It was a slow process, but it worked!
HOW LONG AFTER YOU STARTED DID YOU BEGIN TO SEE RESULTS OF YOUR WEIGHT LOSS EFFORTS? It was a struggle to see the results in myself during the long road of weight loss. I lost 40 pounds over the course of a few months and then things slowed down. My body was changing all the time. I noticed my arms and thighs first. It was an incredible feeling!
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST PART? I feel like the biggest obstacle was my PCOS. It made losing weight feel impossible at times. One step forward, three steps back. My doctor changed medications to try to help, but it was definitely a learning process on finding the balance of it all, diet, exercise and medicine for my disease.
DID YOU EVER WANT TO GIVE UP? WHAT KEPT YOU GOING? My husband, who somehow fell in love with me despite my obesity at the time, was my greatest supporter. He never complain about our changes in meals (even though he weighed only 150 lbs himself and was far from needing a diet) and exercised with me too. He’d never let me give up, but he’d sit and let me cry to him when I felt discouraged. He honestly was the reason that I succeeded. He is amazing.
DID YOU HIT ANY WEIGHT LOSS PLATEAUS? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM? I hit many plateaus along the way and generally they had to do with my diet. I would up my caloric intake (while still staying with healthy foods) for a few days and then drop back down and it generally got things moving again.
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO LOSE MOST OF THE WEIGHT? It took 18 months for me to hit my goal weight. I then gained back 60 pounds after having 2 more babies and have since lost all of that but my last 15, which I am working on now.
DID YOU HAVE ANY NON-SCALE VICTORIES? Being able to run and play with my kids at the park without being out of breath was a huge NSV for me!
WHAT DOES YOUR DAILY DIET LOOK LIKE COMPARED TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER? I eat lean meats and lots of veggies! I avoid processed foods when possible and try to avoid “fast food”. I find that cooking at home allows me to meet my goals while having delicious and healthy meals. Sadly, when I was heavier fast food and processed foods were in my daily diet.
HOW DOES YOUR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY COMPARE TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER? When I was obese I avoided activities as much as possible. I hated sports and even walking to my car broke a sweat. It was embarrassing. I now exercise daily and live it! I’ve been able to run half marathons, race triathlons, and play on a softball team with my husband!
MY WEIGHT LOSS TIPS & TRICKS
- Love yourself. Your body can do AMAZING things…. and it will! See the power and beauty you have inside yourself and you’ll see that you can do anything!
- Drink LOTS of water. Water, water, water. Give up soda and sugary drinks. Your body will thank you!
- Focus on a healthy balanced diet. Lean meats, veggies, whole grains, etc. Avoid foods that are labeled “low fat,” “diet,” “low calorie” – if it needs to tell you these things then it’s probably not good for your body.
- Exercise can be hard, but it’s worth every drop of sweat. Your body will get stronger. Your stress levels will drop. Your body will hurt less. You will feel like your can take on the entire world!
- When you feel like you can’t go on anymore with your life change…. give yourself a day. Eat what you want (don’t go too crazy). Take a day off from exercise. One day will not kill all your hard work, but it can give you the reset you need to start strong again the next day!