I started gaining weight rapidly as an adolescent. I can’t pinpoint the exact reason, but I moved when I was 10, and also fell off the monkey bars at school. After that, I was depressed and in a lot of pain, so I wasn’t as active as I had been.
HOW DID YOUR WEIGHT AFFECT ANY ASPECT(S) OF YOUR LIFE? I had a lot of self esteem issues. I was called “fata$$”, “jabba”, you name it…kids are cruel. I didn’t date until I got to college, and even then it was never anything more than casually hanging out. Guys didn’t consider me more than just a buddy, until I met my husband when I was 27.
I was not athletic at all, and any attempts to participate in any kind of sports left me winded and in pain.
WHAT WAS THE “TURNING POINT” THAT GOT YOU STARTED ON YOUR WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY? My husband and I tried to get pregnant in 2008, and I was starting to get into pretty decent shape. During the “two week wait”, however, I felt exhausted and downright miserable. After two negative home pregnancy tests, I decided to see my doctor, and found out that I had Graves Disease (hyperthyroid). I tried to treat it with pills at first, to no avail. Eventually, I opted for the radiation iodine pill.
After my thyroid was radiated, the decision to start me on thyroid replacement hormone was a little too delayed, and I gained 30 pounds in only a couple of months. I was in a size 22 and weighed 232 pounds, the biggest I had ever been.
I was STILL motivated to get the weight off, and attempted my very first Zumba class. I kept up with the instructor, and then couldn’t move for three weeks. Again, I went back to my doctor, and this time I found out that I had Rheumatoid Arthritis.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED? My doctor helped me to get started. She was always very supportive of my weight issues, but I was concerned about the risk factors for diabetes and heart disease. To begin with, she suggested that I eliminate inflammatory foods (such as wheat), and recommended the Paleo diet to me. I was hesitant at first, because I was always told you need whole grains for a balanced diet, but I was willing to give it a try.
HOW LONG AFTER YOU STARTED DID YOU BEGIN TO SEE RESULTS OF YOUR WEIGHT LOSS EFFORTS? Immediately after cutting out the extra carbs, I felt a burst of energy. I was finally able to start walking for fitness, instead of laying on the couch when I got home from work. After the first month, I started noticing that my clothes were a LOT looser.
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST PART? I had always associated exercise with pain, and was receiving mixed messages about needing intense exercise to make a real difference. The hardest part was getting started. I was so out of shape, that it would take me at least 20 minutes to walk a mile, and I was huffing and puffing the whole way.
DID YOU EVER WANT TO GIVE UP? WHAT KEPT YOU GOING? At first, I felt like I was just wasting my time, because I was never going to look like the women in the fitness magazines. I was focusing on the wrong goals…once I started doing it for the HEALTH factors (my LABS were looking incredible, even if my ABS weren’t), there was no turning back.
DID YOU HIT ANY WEIGHT LOSS PLATEAUS? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM? I hit plateaus all the time, because my body kept readjusting to my conditioning. I finally just started ignoring the scale, and listening to my body instead.
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO LOSE MOST OF THE WEIGHT? 10 months, and I have kept it off for 2 years now
DID YOU HAVE ANY NON-SCALE VICTORIES? TONS! My inflammation levels all but disappeared, my insulin resistance improved dramatically, and I have the body of a much younger person now. I was also able to powerwalk my very first half marathon in 3 hours. I am currently participating in a challenge to run/walk 2,015 miles for 2015. My body continues to amaze me!
WHAT DOES YOUR DAILY DIET LOOK LIKE COMPARED TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER? When I was heavier, I ate a lot of “whole grain” bread, pasta, and rice, but I also ate a lot of “low fat” cookies and ice cream.
My current diet consists of whole foods, made up of produce, protein, and (healthy) fats. I no longer eat things made with grains (not even whole grains), and I save things like ice cream for special occasions. My favorite indulgence is plain greek yogurt made with whole milk, with a scoop of natural (no added sugar or oils) peanut butter.
HOW DOES YOUR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY COMPARE TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER? I am completely different now than when I was heavier. I am constantly in motion. I stand at my desk at work, and I wear my FitBit EVERYWHERE…I end up walking about 9 miles a day.
MY WEIGHT LOSS TIPS & TRICKS
- There is no “quick fix”. To make the weight loss last, you have change your lifestyle.
- Stop eating processed foods. You can get all the nutrition you need from whole foods.
- It doesn’t matter HOW you move, just move…find the exercise that works best for you. I STILL prefer to walk over anything else.
- Don’t look at the scale. Don’t even buy one. Just listen to your body.
- Once you’re at a healthy weight, don’t push yourself to keep going. Orthorexia is very real. Again, just listen to your body. Once you’re moving and giving it the nutrition it requires, it knows where to stop.