I have always battled my weight. I even remember being 145 pounds in the 4th grade! There were times in the past when I lost weight, but mostly because of crash diets. I say I was a diet diva because I tried everything from Atkins to The Zone. I could lose weight somewhat successfully at first, but I never seemed to have the motivation to keep going. By 2006, things were really out of hand. I was struggling to meet the demands of being a single mom and juggling a full time job along with taking care of my household. By the end of the day I was too tired to even think about working out.
HOW DID YOUR WEIGHT AFFECT ANY ASPECT(S) OF YOUR LIFE? It affected everything in my life. I had no energy and oftentimes would sleep the entire weekend away when my children would visit their father. I had little social life outside my kid’s activities and on the rare occasion I did go out, I just didn’t feel good about myself. I had no self confidence and I think it really showed.
WHAT WAS THE “TURNING POINT” THAT GOT YOU STARTED ON YOUR WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY? I came to Florida to visit my parents in 2006. The mirror in my bathroom at home was very small and I only really saw myself from the shoulders up. Their bathroom mirror was huge and for the first time in years I saw the reality of what I looked like! Talk about a wake up call! I made up my mind right then and there and I was going to make some changes.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED? I joined Weight Watchers as soon as I got home. I knew the program was good because my doctor recommended it. Six months later, I relocated to Florida from Ohio and I had lost about 25 pounds. I found a Weight Watcher meeting before I even found a job!
HOW LONG AFTER YOU STARTED DID YOU BEGIN TO SEE RESULTS OF YOUR WEIGHT LOSS EFFORTS? The first 10 pounds were noticeable for me, but i wasn’t getting any positive feedback from others. I just kept tracking those Points and was exercising at home and later at the gym.
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST PART? Staying motivated! Since I was such a serial dieter in the past, my first reaction when things got hard was to quit! I found that hearing success stories from other people (online and people who were in my meetings) really gave me the juice I needed to keep at it. I loved buying new clothes too.
DID YOU EVER WANT TO GIVE UP? WHAT KEPT YOU GOING? Sure there were times when I wanted to give up. I think that’s pretty normal. I just always tried to keep in my mind that this was a lifestyle change, not a diet. We all have ups and downs, great food days and sometimes really harrowing ones! I never look at food as good or bad. It’s just food. It breaks my heart when someone says “I’m being bad because I ate that cookie.” I usually reply, “It’s just a cookie. It doesn’t define who you are as a person. Sometimes I have a cookie too!”
DID YOU HIT ANY WEIGHT LOSS PLATEAUS? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM? The dreaded plateaus! Actually I feel like I’m kind of on one now. My weight has stabilized at 160, but I would love to drop another 15. As far as overcoming them? I’m certainly not going to cut calories drastically or start working out like my pants were on fire! I wear the same size jeans I did when I weighed 135 so I’m not sweating the small stuff!
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO LOSE MOST OF THE WEIGHT? It took me about 3 years, but I wasn’t losing consistently because I was also battling binge eating and the “diet” mentality I dragged around for so long.
DID YOU HAVE ANY NON-SCALE VICTORIES? I think the biggest non scale victory is how much I have learned about nutrition. I love to read and have kind of a thing for health and fitness books and magazines. Even though i was following Weight Watchers, I was eating all my Points Values in processed food. I have to say I was starving all the time. I never felt satisfied and my energy was very low. I learned about clean eating from reading Oxygen Magazine and have nearly every book from The Eat Clean Diet series by Tosca Reno.
WHAT DOES YOUR DAILY DIET LOOK LIKE COMPARED TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER? I don’t count Points anymore, but I do count calories. I track my food a day ahead and this really helps me stay on track. I also try to eat clean 90% of the time. On the weekends, I cook a bunch of things like lean proteins, whole grains, and vegetables. I also cut up some fruit. I keep low fat cottage cheese, eggs and hummus on hand. I try to follow the principles in The Eat Clean Diet Recharged by Tosca Reno, and having prepared food really makes eating 6 small meals a day much easier.
HOW DOES YOUR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY COMPARE TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER? I really didn’t exercise much when I was heavier. I walked a bit and went to the gym occasionally, but I had no idea what I was doing. I normally hopped on the treadmill because at least I knew where the START button was! I have fallen in love with weight training and can honestly say I enjoy it more than cardio. I’m a huge fan of Leslie Sansone and I have a great selection of dvd’s in case I’m crunched for time.
MY WEIGHT LOSS TIPS & TRICKS
- Track your food. I cannot stress this enough! Every single time I regained weight that I had lost it was because I stopped tracking. I also recommend tracking a day ahead, even if it seems like a chore. If you track ahead it removes any guesswork about what to eat when you are pinched for time.
- Eat whole foods. Seriously, your body has no idea what to do with a Pop Tart. If the ingredients on the package have words that an MIT grad cannot decipher, please don’t put it in your mouth. You will feel so much better. I promise.
- If you work outside the home, I recommend you pack your lunch. I pack mine the night before so I don’t have to fuss with it in the morning. If you are a stay at home mom (bless you by the way) I would at least have your food choices pre planned.
- Pick up some weights. You will be amazed at how your body will change! Even if you have a lot of weight to lose, it’s okay to focus some time lifting because as you shed those pounds you will have a work of art under there!
- Get some support when you need it. You are not alone, even if you feel like it. I am always here for anyone who needs some help, even if you’re not into clean eating.