50 Pounds Lost: Christine Makes Gradual Changes for a Successful Strategy
Name: Christine Rhodes
Location: Milford, Pennsylvania
Before: 215 lbs.
After: 165 lbs. (and 20 more to go!)
What was the “turning point” that prompted you to lose weight?
I was sitting on the couch and it just hit me how terrible I felt. Here I was, 24 years old and just celebrated my 1 year wedding anniversary with my husband, and I had managed to gain all the weight I had lost prior to getting married plus an extra 15 pounds. I was out of breath anytime I climbed the three flights of stairs to our apartment, laying down to sleep I was suffocated by my chest, and I had no energy whatsoever. And I just came to realize I don’t deserve this — I deserve to be healthy and happy.
When did you start trying to lose weight?
Off and on for years, but I always failed because I went about it the wrong way. This time — and the last time — I started seriously in June 2012 by changing my lifestyle and becoming a healthier person.
How did you get started?
I tried to make small changes that soon became habits that built on each other to really influence my life. I started off by eating healthier and drinking water as part of my daily diet. I started exercising and gradually upped the intensity and time I spent at the gym. My main goal this time was not to burn myself out by doing everything all at once — instead I wanted to take small steps that added up to a big change.
What was your biggest challenge?
At first it was changing my diet over to eating healthier by myself, which was very hard. It was due to my husband, who loves to cook but isn’t known for the healthiest of foods on his menu. But after a few months of seeing my determination, he started to notice how good I felt physically just by eating better. So he started cooking foods that were better for the both of us — now he’s been eating healthier with me, too! And he admits that he feels great and is happy I stuck with it this time to encourage him. We both motivate each other with healthy recipes and new foods to try, and I’m happy he is so supportive.
Were there any times when you wanted to quit or give up? How did you stay motivated?
Honestly, not really. This is the first time I can say that though. In the past, yes I’ve wanted to give up because it got too hard and my mind wasn’t in the right place. But since I’ve been focused on what I want and how I want to be physically inside and out, as well as mentally and emotionally, not much tends to break my spirit. Don’t get me wrong, there are days I just don’t feel like going to the gym simply because I’m tired or whatever reason. If that really is the case, I let myself just go home and do what I want to do for that evening instead. Then I’ve noticed the next day when I go, I tend to stay longer during my work out or just give more of myself than I usually do because I really want to be there. I never want going to exercise to feel like a punishment — I want to enjoy the time spent at the gym and look at it positively.
If you reached a weight loss plateau, how did you break out of the rut?
A few times, I honestly just took a break. I’d up my calorie intake to a reasonable amount with light exercise that would help me maintain my weight for a few weeks. Then after I felt rested and ready to put forth my 110%, I’d reduce my daily calories to a healthy amount along with a strong exercise routine that I stuck with and the plateau seemed to break on it’s own. I just use those plateaus to give myself a break and maintain what I have achieved thus far till I was ready to push again.
What’s your current exercise routine?
I make it a goal to go five times a week, leaving me Friday and Saturday as my rest days unless I choose to go or use as a make up day if something came up. I do a mixture of cardio on the Arc or Elliptical machine set to high resistance, which has done wonders for my glutes along with squats! Also I work out in the circuit training area for strength as well as the abdominal circuit training area to help work my obliques and lower abdominals, which has helped a lot in firming my stomach.
What’s your daily diet look like?
Weekday mornings I start off with a healthy fresh fruit and yogurt smoothie with fresh parsley and spinach added to it; snack mid-morning on nuts, a piece of fruit, or veggies and hummus; lunch I will bring anything from a homemade soup, wrap stuffed with grilled chicken and avocado, or tasty salad full of veggies; dinner I tend can be broiled shrimp or fish, grilled chicken breast, steak, with a side of veggies and some rice or once in a while mashed potatoes since it is a favorite of mine! On the weekends, I still make it a goal to have healthier choices, but I give myself a little more flexibility since we are usually out with friends or with family and I like to enjoy myself without feeling pressured. If I find myself at a restaurant with everyone, I just look for the healthier options and search out the nutrition facts first before ordering.
What’s your favorite healthy snack/meal?
I have a serious obsession for buffalo chicken of any kind. So I came up with a recipe to make buffalo chicken bites using crushed Melba Toast as bread crumbs on chicken breast cut into slivers using egg whites to hold them on. Fry in a pan with a little Pam spray so they don’t stick until cooked through — then put Franks Red Hot sauce on them and you have a healthier, low calorie buffalo chicken recipe! They taste just as good as buffalo chicken you’d get elsewhere, except healthier. Great on salad with celery, tomatoes, and bleu cheese or in a wrap. It’s my comfort food.
Do you have specific suggestions for avoiding temptations?
I believe that if you truly need to avoid a food, get it out of your reach. Don’t buy it when you’re food shopping, or if you’re still at home with your parents, tell them you don’t want it within your eyesight to remind you of it. But I’m of the mindset that if you can handle it, have your favorite treat once in a while. As long as it’s not part of your daily diet, it’s okay to splurge and enjoy that ice cream bar or have that small bowl of chips. Being balanced like that for me has helped greatly so I don’t become too obsessed and give up in the long run.
What’s your life like after weight loss?
Well, I have way more energy and a serious confidence boost. My overall mood has improved and I am more positive. Working out has also helped with any frustration levels due to work, college, bills. Also, I sleep much better!
If you have any suggestions to others what would they be?
Don’t give up. It’s hard, and at sometimes it seems like nothing is happening — but sometimes the scale lies. I have hit a plateau before and had I not been taking my measurements to keep track, I would have become discouraged. I realized I might not have been losing pounds according to the scale, but I was losing inches and fitting more into my old clothes again. Always keep at it and know that you’re making positive changes that will help you become a healthier person all-around — so you can’t throw in the towel!
Source: Everyday Health
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