Weight Loss Success Story: Erin Lost 60 Pounds And Began Her Journey To Self Love
NAME : Erin
BEFORE WEIGHT : 220
AFTER WEIGHT : 160
POUNDS LOST : 60
WHEN DID YOU START DEVELOPING A WEIGHT PROBLEM?
I was always a pretty “average” sized kid. I stopped playing sports when I entered high school to focus on working towards an academic scholarship. Although I’d become physically inactive, I still ate like a middle school kid. I spent every penny I could on junk food, and exercise was something I didn’t even want to think about. During my first 3 years of high school, I gained over 70 pounds.
HOW DID YOUR WEIGHT AFFECT ANY ASPECT(S) OF YOUR LIFE?
After putting on so much excess weight, if I had any confidence before, it was gone. I was embarrassed of the way I looked. I was physically uncomfortable doing any type of physical activity. My skin suffered, and I developed severe acne. I spent many days feeling extremely sluggish, unmotivated, and even depressed. There were many events and opportunities that I missed out on because I didn’t want to be around people looking “like this”. I wore sweats everyday and really got down on myself. I was suffering physically, emotionally, and spiritually for a long time.
WHAT WAS THE “TURNING POINT” THAT GOT YOU STARTED ON YOUR WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY?
One day at my aunt’s house, I stepped on the scale and saw a number that I couldn’t believe: 220. (Granted, I have definitely been heavier, but I’m not sure HOW heavy due to my avoidance of the scale.) After stepping off of the scale, I stared at my reflection for a long time in the mirror. Dramatic, I know…but it’s true. At that moment, I promised myself I would get things under control. I’d spent years feeling miserable, but this was the first time I truly admitted to myself that I NEEDED to change.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED?
My mom is an angel. She’s been supporting & encouraging me since the beginning…really even before I was ready to change. My efforts started during second semester of my junior year in high school. We spent the warmer months walking outside. I started with 1-2 miles. I took up running for a short time. It’s a great workout, but I hated it and fell off. That’s when I realized I needed to branch out and find a type of exercise that makes me want to come back for more; I had to find my “jam”. One summer we started doing workouts similar to the football team at my high school: tire flips, agility ladders, bleacher runs, sprints, tire pulls, etc. This was it! I fell in love with the intensity, the strength/power components, and the shorter duration. Haha This became my jam. High intensity interval training (HIIT) is what ignited the flame.
HOW LONG AFTER YOU STARTED DID YOU BEGIN TO SEE RESULTS OF YOUR WEIGHT LOSS EFFORTS?
Within the first year of roller coaster “healthy” eating and working out, I saw a pretty encouraging change. I don’t remember exactly how much weight I lost, but my junior year prom dress had to be taken in about 2 sizes senior year. (I wore it to a friend’s prom.) I was so excited! Although I wasn’t consistent with healthy living at the time, I still felt 10 times better than before. My mood, energy levels, and confidence began to increase during this time.
Since then, my weight loss has been slow and steady over the past few years. During my freshman year in college (shout out to UNT), my best friend noticed that my appearance changed quite a bit while looking through old photos. I really couldn’t believe it! I never kept up with my weight too much, but my body composition had obviously changed.
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST PART?
There were two challenges throughout my journey that I really struggled with. First was my desire for quick results. In the long run, it set me back because I was getting sucked into so many “weight loss tricks”, diets, etc. that were not sustainable at all. They usually ended in a binge of some sorts, or I would just “quit” all together for a month or so. Now, I’m more patient with myself. Regular exercise and healthy eating will get you where you want to be, but it’s imperative that you remain consistent.
The second challenge I had to tackle was changing my eating habits. I didn’t truly change my perspective on food until my second year in college. It has taken years for me to make it a true lifestyle, which means balance is included daily. I eat “clean” (fruits, veggies, complex carbs, water, and occasional seafood) about 80-90% of the time. If I’m having a crazy week, it’s more like 50-60%, and I’m OK with that. With much practice and experimentation, I have finally developed a healthy relationship with food. It no longer stresses me out or makes me anxious. Balance and sustainable habits are key!
DID YOU EVER WANT TO GIVE UP? WHAT KEPT YOU GOING?
There have definitely been days that I wanted to quit, especially when I had a significant amount of weight to lose. My motivation and hope to keep moving forward may sound silly, but here it is. I KNOW I CAN. I can visualize myself being strong and healthy. I have already proved to myself, through other struggles in life, that I can accomplish anything I put my mind to. So, if I know without a doubt that I CAN, why would I quit? Why would I sell myself short? Don’t I deserve better? (Then it turns into a pep rally. Haha) If you know you can, and you truly want it…FIGHT for it! Giving up is not an option.
DID YOU HIT ANY WEIGHT LOSS PLATEAUS? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM?
Plateaus happen, and it’s not a bad thing. Hitting a plateau shows that your body is changing, adapting, getting better. Two things have really helped me change my body after hitting a wall: weight lifting and increasing my food intake. Lifting weights is my favorite form of exercise. It keeps me strong and it has also helped me tone up and cut down my body fat percentage. Don’t be afraid to pick up some weights. You won’t get bulky, just sexy. Haha Second is food. Most people equate weight loss with highly restricted calories, but it could backfire in the long run. When I hit a plateau, I will slightly increase my food intake (think veggies, not cheeseburgers) to help boost my metabolism and also fuel the weightlifting I’m doing. I typically eat 4-5 small/medium meals throughout the day. This is what works best for me.
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO LOSE MOST OF THE WEIGHT?
I lost the majority of the weight over 3 years. This is not as exciting as a 100 pound weight loss in 90 days, but it’s been steady and I have not reverted to my old ways.
DID YOU HAVE ANY NON-SCALE VICTORIES?
The non-scale victories always outweigh the scale victories for me. I really don’t pay much attention to my weight. I like to focus on how I look, feel, and move. I have never been stronger or had a better outlook on life since my journey to health began. My biggest victory through all of this has been learning to love myself!
WHAT DOES YOUR DAILY DIET LOOK LIKE COMPARED TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER?
When I was heavier, I would skip meals occasionally. When I did eat, it was generally unhealthy unless my mom cooked it. I loved fast food and processed junk foods. I drank a lot of juice and soda too.
This is what a typical day looks like now.
Breakfast: eggs and veggie sausage
Snack: homemade protein smoothie
Lunch: brown rice and sautéed veggies
Snack: dairy free yogurt, almonds, veggies (raw or cooked)
Dinner: homemade soup with veggies or salad
HOW DOES YOUR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY COMPARE TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER?
I avoided any type of physical activity before.
Now I lift weights, do a little cardio, and I’m a part time Crossfitter. (Is that a word?) Here’s a little sample of what I do. It changes depending on what I have going on in life.
Monday: legs and cardio
Tuesday: upper body
Wednesday: legs and power
Thursday: upper body and “functional” HIIT (kettlebells are usually involved)
Friday: whatever doesn’t hurt haha
Saturday: active rest- walk, play outside, etc.
MY WEIGHT LOSS TIPS & TRICKS
- Learn to Love YourselfUntil you work on this one, the rest of the journey will not flow. Love yourself, appreciate yourself, and take care of YOU.
- Be PatientPatience is truly a virtue. Take your time. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. And while you’re working towards your goals, don’t compare yourself to others. We all have different bodies, lives, AND goals. Just because you’re not progressing as fast as Becky it doesn’t mean you’re not killing it! Having people in your life for inspiration is ok, but don’t fall into the comparison trap. You’ll lose focus of your journey.
- Become a ScientistThere are a million different philosophies about losing weight. The only way to figure out what’s sustainable for YOU is to try some things out!! Now, I’m not talking about quick fixes and detox systems. Just try different variations of plans based in whole foods. Give yourself time to experiment and figure out what makes you feel the best. Food should add fuel to your fire, not put it out.
- Move Your BodyLike with food, there are so many different exercise programs out there. Find something you enjoy and are excited to do, then move! Work your way up to being active for about 60 minutes 4-5 times per week, and just have fun with it.
- Rest & RecoverOne of the most forgotten components of health is rest. Take a day off, foam roll, stretch, sleep a little longer, take a hot bubble bath. Your body AND mind need time to breathe and recover. It will help keep you sane, but adequate rest can also help you progress in your weight loss journey!
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