30 Pounds Lost: Courtney Cuts Portion Sizes to Cut Her Running Pace
Name: Courtney Ray
Location: Los Angeles, California
Before: 165 lbs.
After: 135 lbs.
What was the “turning point” that prompted you to lose weight?
I was so excited when my then-boyfriend (now husband) proposed — he set up an elaborate plan and his romantic proposal took me completely by surprise. Of course, I couldn’t wait to see the photos from the night (he had given the waiter a camera to capture the moment). But I was shocked when I saw myself — heavy, red-faced and rather plump looking. I wanted to share the news on Facebook, but I couldn’t bring myself to upload the photos. I was too embarrassed, and I especially didn’t want friends who knew me from high school — when I worked out daily and kept a strict, healthy diet — to see how much weight I had gained. I was determined to get back to a healthy weight in time for our wedding and then stay there for good.
When did you start trying to lose weight?
In October 2011, I started to (and did!) lose weight.
How did you get started?
Portion control. I was very strict with measuring every bit of my meal so I knew exactly how much I was eating and how many calories. I checked nutrition labels and made sure I was eating the correct amount for a serving. I started to incorporate more vegetables and fruit and cut back on the junk food.
What was your biggest challenge?
Though I cut back on the junk food, I couldn’t give it up completely. I’ve struggled with food my entire life. There has never been a day when I haven’t craved unhealthy food, and unhealthy amounts of food. I was the perfect example of a binge eater; I could put back a large pizza (I still sometimes dream of pepperoni and pineapple) with dessert and wine and not think twice about it.
Were there any times when you wanted to quit or give up? How did you stay motivated?
The first four months flew by and I lost 30 pounds. I battled cravings every day, but I had them under control while I lost 30 pounds. My goal was to lost 40, but once I was close, I started thinking, “oh, a bite of cake won’t hurt,” or “it’s just one fun size Snickers.” (Hint: It’s never just one fun size Snickers.) While I wasn’t gaining the weight back, I wasn’t losing it, either. I was stuck at 30 pounds lost, and my old habits were sneaking back into my diet.
If you reached a weight loss plateau, how did you break out of the rut?
I started to add exercise to balance out the extra food I had started eating, but that wasn’t enough. I had to eat healthy in addition to exercising to get back on track. I banned any junk food from our apartment (my husband was very understanding as to why I couldn’t keep frozen DiGiorno pizza in the freezer — if it was there, I would eat it!) and didn’t let myself near the snack closet at work. I found yummy substitutes for sweet treats (my biggest problem) and let myself go overboard when it came to fruit.
What’s your current exercise routine?
I’m currently training for my third marathon, so my running partner and I are running 15-30 miles per week. I also cross train with hot yoga once or twice per week.
What’s your daily diet look like?
I like to keep it light in mornings, so I’ll have coffee with fruit or sometimes half of a whole wheat bagel.
What’s your favorite healthy snack/meal?
Roasted veggie couscous: roasted butternut squash, zucchini, onions, and chopped carrots mixed in with cooked couscous. It’s delicious and filling.
Do you have specific suggestions for avoiding temptations?
Just don’t go near it! I try not to keep junk foods or foods that I used to binge on in the house. If it’s not there, I can’t eat. But when I can’t avoid it (like birthday cake at work) and I’m having trouble resisting the temptation, I make a deal with myself that I can have three bites and then that’s it, and I stick to it.
What’s your life like after weight loss?
Running has become much easier. Before I lost the weight, I was clocking an 11-minute mile. After losing the weight, I run an 8:45-minute mile. Plus, shopping is fun again. And every day, I’m just more comfortable with myself and happier.
If you have any suggestions to others what would they be?
Don’t wait to start losing weight. Stop saying you’ll start after the holidays or for your New Year’s resolution or even just next week— these are all just excuses. Put the cookie down now, because, yes, it will make a difference. And while you’re losing weight, don’t be discouraged if you fall off the wagon and have a cookie (or 10). Just take a deep breath, remind yourself that you haven’t ruined all your progress because of this one slip-up, and keep going with your weight-loss efforts. It’ll be worth the hard work.
If you’d like to keep track of my continued efforts to stay healthy and fit, visit my website Happy Over Hungry.
Source: Everyday Health
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