74 Pounds Lost: Motivation in the strangest places
NAME : Angie
BEFORE WEIGHT : 282
AFTER WEIGHT : (lowest) 208
POUNDS LOST : 74
WHEN DID YOU START DEVELOPING A WEIGHT PROBLEM?
I’ve always been a chunky person. My idea of activity was marching band. I’ve had roller coaster rides with my weight, losing 40lbs my senior year of high school.
Which I gained back throughout college. 2am pizza does not a healthy lifestyle make. Along with that, my emotional eating skyrocketed. I was always a bit of a stress eater, but I began to turn to food for sadness too. I ate my pain, basically.
After college, retail jobs maintained my weight because I was active at work. Combine a job I hate with stress eating and I gained 25lbs in a year.
A new and better job helped a bit, but marriage (surprisingly) did not. I got “fat and happy” trying to eat the way my husband did.
By 2011, I weighed 282 and honestly didn’t notice. I was used to being the “fat girl” of the group and ignored my own feelings.
HOW DID YOUR WEIGHT AFFECT ANY ASPECT(S) OF YOUR LIFE?
Since I’ve never been active, I have issues with stamina. I got winded walking upstairs. Running was a nightmare. My eating habits destroyed my gallbladder and I had to have it removed. My lower back and knees hurt all the time. I was constantly sick, catching every germ that passed my way. I snored horribly and was always tired due to poor sleep. I would sweat all the time and clothes were always uncomfortable.
My blood pressure, which had always been 120/80 was 160/110 in 2011. There was talk of BP and cholesterol meds.
WHAT WAS THE “TURNING POINT” THAT GOT YOU STARTED ON YOUR WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY?
I owed my “turning point” to a dress… honestly. After all that other stuff, I still didn’t do anything about it. Then, I bought a dress for a wedding for 20 dollars and when it arrived I tried it on and it didn’t fit. It was my size and didn’t fit. I had to put on spanx and a corset and all that crap. That was it – that was the straw. I was done being uncomfortable, unhappy, and dissatisfied.
That night I went out to mexican with my husband, his brother, and his brother’s wife. The next day I started my journey.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED?
First thing I did was started using MyFitnessPal. I did research on calorie counters and found that one and I’ve used it ever since. Then, I stopped drinking soda and coffee and weight on a water flush – I drank about 2 gallons of water a day for a week. This allowed me to stop drinking caffeine with minimal headaches. Even though I have resumed drinking it, my intake has dramatically decreased.
I began by focusing only on my food intake. I knew it would be hard on my body at the weight that I was to start trying to workout immediately and that I would lose motivation if I had a set back. So, I focused only on my food intake until I lost 15lbs. Then I began walking the treadmill at my previous job for 30 minutes a day, building slowly my speed and time.
HOW LONG AFTER YOU STARTED DID YOU BEGIN TO SEE RESULTS OF YOUR WEIGHT LOSS EFFORTS?
People saw the changes in me before I did. I carried a lot of weight in my face and people started to notice at about 15-20lbs that something was happening. When I hit 30lbs and I had to safety pin my pants up… that’s when I noticed. When a co-worker told me, “Girl, buy some pants, you look like you’re wearing a sack”… that’s when I noticed.
By December 2011, I had lost about 32lbs, and that was the first time most people saw me. People noticed.
What’s odd is, when I look in the mirror, I still see the girl at 282. That’s disordered thinking, I know, but it’s hard to change your vision of yourself.
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST PART?
I lost my weight by myself – my support group was full of people I didn’t know. It was hard hearing these things:
“Don’t lose too much weight…”
“It’s a holiday, you can eat that… splurge a little”
“Come on Ang… one piece of [insert here] won’t kill you”
They didn’t get it… it was tough to look at them and not scream, “don’t you get what I’m trying to do!”
Another hard part was injury. I had started intervalling at 40lbs down and I reinjured myself again with sciatica. I had to have physical therapy, at which they told me that I might not be able to run, which crushed me. I had to start back at the beginning of my training and incorporate PT exercises into my running.
DID YOU EVER WANT TO GIVE UP? WHAT KEPT YOU GOING?
There were days I wanted to give up… when I wanted that next slice of pizza, or that milkshake, or that piece of cake, or I didn’t want to interval with my dog. Or I just didn’t want to…
What kept me going initially was the progress I kept seeing. My pants kept getting smaller, the number on my scale kept getting smaller. But those are feeling and can’t sustain motivation. I’m learning now that health and pride must sustain motivation.
I’m learning this because I did fall off the wagon. My husband got really sick, I got laid off, found a new job that is more stressful (remember I eat my stress) and there is food around all the time, and my hours are very different. I’ve been off the wagon for about a year.
But… I’m noticing it. I’ve gained weight, I feel tired and sluggish all the time, my pants are tight, and I’m generally displeased and not proud of myself. These are the feelings I want to change and therefore must find my motivation again.
DID YOU HIT ANY WEIGHT LOSS PLATEAUS? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM?
I hit three weight loss plateaus.
I hit one at 35lbs for about 3 weeks. I keep working out, but tried to increase my intensity during intervaling. I attempted to cut out breads for a week…but ultimately, my body just had to readjust.
Then I hit another at 55lbs. That one lasted 3 months. After two months of no movement, I decided to have a splurge day and eat whatever I wanted… then get back on track. This helped and I began to drop weight slowly again.
My last plateau of loss was at 215. I sat at this number for almost 4 months…and all I wanted to see was 200. I tried an handful of things – incorporating weights, no sugar, cutting out caffeine again… finally I saw my lowest point – 208 – for a total of three weeks before I got laid off.
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO LOSE MOST OF THE WEIGHT?
I started 9/10/11 at 282. In December of 2012, I weighed 208. so I lost 74lbs in about 14 months. I got laid-off and started gaining weight. In February of 2013 I weighed 220 (15lbs in three months – stress eating!)
I’m not proud of it but I’m currently sitting at 234. I’m finding motivation from inspring stories and my pants being snug. I invested a lot in a wardrobe I’m pretty happy with and I WILL NOT GO BACK TO WHAT I WAS!
DID YOU HAVE ANY NON-SCALE VICTORIES?
I went from a 24W to 18M in pants
I went from a 2X to a L/XL shirt.
I lost 1/2 size in shoes.
I can walk 3-4 miles in less than an hour.
I can feel my jaw
I sleep better.
I don’t wake up in pain
My BP and cholesterol are better.
… but I want my motivation back. I’m not at a weight I want to be and I need to remember DIET is a four-letter word. I’m not on a diet, I’m living my life.
WHAT DOES YOUR DAILY DIET LOOK LIKE COMPARED TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER?
Instead of doughnuts and crazy sweet coffee, I eat egg whites or yogurt and lightly sweetened coffee.
My lunches are smaller – 1/2 sandwich, salad, tuna – versus the huge lunches I used to eat.
I try to snack on fruit rather than candy.
I drink 1 soda instead of nothing but soda a day.
Dinners are still a bit of a struggle to get back under control.
But, mostly, it’s more lean protein, fruits, vegetables… I try to eat fewer sweets. And just… LESS.
HOW DOES YOUR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY COMPARE TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER?
Well, it’s fall here in Ohio, and it’s hard to get out…. but when I was at my peak, it was a 3-5 mile walk or intervalling everyday, with weights about twice a week. For a change, I would do Dance Dance Revolution for higher impact – I do this a lot in the winter.
In the last year, my physical activity has decreased dramatically. I could blame work, and grad school, and life… but I should just blame myself. I can make the time if I want to… I did it before, and I need to remember this…
MY WEIGHT LOSS TIPS & TRICKS
- Track your food: Find a calorie counter that works for you and log everything that goes in your face, including drinks and stuff like gum. Do it consistently and before you eat. If you go out, find something that fits in your calorie counts, and eat that. Eat what you like, just eat less of it. You don’t have to do crazy diets to lose weight… Eat less and then follow tip 2
- Move more! Find something you like to do and do it! It can be hard if you’ve never been active, but find SOMETHING. Zumba, Just Dance, Hip-Hop Dance, Dance Dance Revolution… whatever… just find it and do it. Don’t forget to incorporate weights (heavy or light) because if you’re big like me, you need weights to build muscle and tighten lose arms.
- Drink water…. start your day with a glass, drink a glass before eating. Listen to your body – which can confuse thirst for hunger. Try water to crush cravings for sweets and food. If you don’t like water, try fruit infused water or water additives (but try to wean yourself from those if you can). At my lowest point, I was drinking 3 32oz containers of water a day. Sure you pee a lot, but drinking water helps you drop water weight, keeps your skin clear, keeps you more alert than coffee, and quenches hunger and thirst.
- Don’t be like me…. DON’T GIVE UP. Life is hard and wrought with complications. People lose jobs, have stress, tough times, and bad days. I did the wrong thing and I let those things swallow me and detract me from my goals. Now I’m trying to get back on track… and it’s harder now than when I first stared. If stressed, or struggling – get it out! Write a journal, scream in your car, strap on your shoes and run it out… just don’t give up. I regret that I did that and am now having to fix it.
- Social support is all well and good – they can be great motivators – but at the end of the day, your inspiration and motivation has to come from YOU! Don’t do it for anyone but yourself – keep doing it for yourself. Take pride in your accomplishments and push for your goals. Take set back and find a learning moment in it. When you look at yourself in the mirror, see yourself for who you really are and what you really look like. The negative stuff can be easier to believe… but find one positive things about yourself every day. At the end of the day, everyone can be proud of you for whatever reason… but it’s pride in yourself that will let you sleep like a baby.
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