I’ve been overweight since kindergarten and something I thought I’d always be. Binge eating was…correction , IS my “illness”. When I was a kid I always begged for snacks and would cry when I didn’t get what I wanted. As I got older and was able to get any food I wanted, my weight spun upwards rapidly. I blew up to 293lbs because I’d binge on food daily. I’d eat not until I was satisfied but until I was BEYOND stuffed. And once that full feeling went away I’d eat more. I never knew what feeling hungry felt like anymore because I never gave myself the chance to be hungry. To make it worse I never did any exercise–I’d go to work and then come home and take a nap. Every single day.
NAME : Dawn
BEFORE WEIGHT : 293
AFTER WEIGHT : 155
POUNDS LOST : 138
HOW DID YOUR WEIGHT AFFECT ANY ASPECT(S) OF YOUR LIFE? My weight was causing physical pain but also emotional pain. My body ached–knees, back, feet. I had horrible stomach issues and felt tired all the time. When friends and I would go to the mall it’d always bother me that they’d be able to shop anywhere and buy all these cute clothes. Then they’d swap and share outfits while I had to go to the “big girl” stores and spend twice as much on an outfit that was honestly old lady-ish . I just wanted to be able to go into any store and buy an outfit. I was a size 22 pants, XXL shirt, and always had to buy wide shoes. I struggled with depression for a few years and I’ll be honest–it was pretty bad. I needed a change. I wasn’t happy with where my life was going. I wasn’t healthy.
WHAT WAS THE “TURNING POINT” THAT GOT YOU STARTED ON YOUR WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY? Before I knew it my 22’s were starting to feel snug. No way was I going up another size. I decided this is it. I NEED to get healthy. I need to feel good physically and emotionally.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED? I signed up on Sparkpeople.com and started tracking my food and exercise. I worked the fast food and soda out of my diet. Worked in more fruits, veggies, and lean proteins. I have a major sweet tooth so cutting out chocolate, especially peanut m&ms, was difficult. I began walking around the lake near my house, starting off with 1-2miles. I tried my best to keep on track.
HOW LONG AFTER YOU STARTED DID YOU BEGIN TO SEE RESULTS OF YOUR WEIGHT LOSS EFFORTS? I never took any before pictures or measurements because, honestly, I didn’t think I’d stick to it. I thought for sure I’d give up just like all the other diet plans I tried in the past. But after seeing a loss on the scale, clothes feeling loose, and just an overall better feeling–I realized this was it. I’m doing it and it’s paying off. I just needed to find a plan that worked for me.
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST PART?
I love food, I mean who doesn’t? haha So calorie counting let me have what I wanted but taught me moderation. It helped me not to binge. Every once in awhile I’d fall off the wagon and binge like the old days.I still struggle with that but I’m nowhere near as bad as I used to be. I’ve learned that if I lose control one day then I just need to brush off and get back on track the next day. NEVER let one bad day turn into a bad week…month. Just move on from it. Learn from it.
DID YOU EVER WANT TO GIVE UP? WHAT KEPT YOU GOING? I’ve wanted to give up pretty much every time I had a hardcore craving for something that I knew would throw me off track. I have a few “trigger foods” that once I start eating I find it extremely difficult to stop, usually sweets. But after seeing the number on the scale and getting so many cheers from friends and family , I knew I had to keep going.
DID YOU HIT ANY WEIGHT LOSS PLATEAUS? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM? Yes! The worst!! Hitting a plateau is beyond frustrating. My longest one lasted a little over a month and I wanted to just give up. I was eating right, working out and in my mind, getting nothing out of it! I might as well just eat what I want. Luckily I had such a great support system that kept me motivated and on track. If I had given up back then I’d still be 216lbs….or worse gained back what I’d lost prior. Now here I am– 138lbs lighter. My knees and back don’t hurt like they used to. I have more energy and I can share clothes with friends! You just have to keep trying, keep pushing yourself. Treat this not as a diet but a lifestyle change. I want to maintain this healthy lifestyle forever. I never want to lose this feeling of….LIVING.
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO LOSE MOST OF THE WEIGHT? From start to finish about 2-3 years. When I first started I lost over 80lbs in a year and felt amazing. I was the smallest I’d ever been (although still overweight) and I started to get too comfortable. Over the next year I gained/lost the same about 30-40lbs because I had fallen off track and in 2013 said “ok this is enough” and got back to lose the weight I gained back & reached my goal weight.
DID YOU HAVE ANY NON-SCALE VICTORIES? Omg so many!! When you’re overweight for sooo long theres a bunch of little things that feel like such a big deal when you can participate in them! such as:
Wearing calf boots!
No more wide shoes!
Fitting in chairs at ball games/movies with space to spare!
Sharing clothes & being able to buy clothes ANYwhere!
No more shortness of breath while doing simple things like tying my shoes, painting toenails, & going up stairs.
No more mens clothing–although I still like their workout pants-Come on people, women need POCKETS!!!
Weighing less than my dad and brother!
Knee and back pain nearly gone (did some damage carrying around all that weight).
Getting out of “plus size”!
No more fear when sitting on certain chairs at parties.
Doing circuit training exercises and feeling the new strength in my body
Pride in saying “no” to foods that I know arent good for my body.
WHAT DOES YOUR DAILY DIET LOOK LIKE COMPARED TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER? Portions!! My biggest change was portion control. I’ve always liked fruits and veggies, I just ate so much junk on top of the healthy so it would , by far, cancel out that I’d even eaten them! I’d have a huge bowl of cereal (sometimes 2-3 more) for breakfast or a snack , I’d have 2 sandwiches at a time plus chips or candy because I “gotta have a snack with my meal”, which makes no sense! Reading labels and serving sizes really put things into perspective for me.
HOW DOES YOUR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY COMPARE TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER? Most of my afternoons were spent napping or watching TV with a bowl of peanut m&ms in my lap. One day I decided to check out the park near my house that I had driven by a bazillion times. Best idea ever. I began walking around the lake for about 1.75miles and now I’ve done up to 10+miles at a time there! It’s just so relaxing to me to be outside walking or running. I find it motivating and calming.
MY WEIGHT LOSS TIPS & TRICKS
- Portion contron!! Read labels! The icecream says 150 calories….but for a 1/2cup! I mean seriously who eats only half a cup of icecream!? Always check the serving size.
- Baby steps. A large part of my success was taking baby steps. I didn’t go out there and eat 1200 calories a day of only veggies and workout like a maniac. I cut out soda….then fast food….had 2 slices of pizza instead of 4-5! Tried to get some activity in a few times a week. I set small goals VS large ones. Big goals are intimidating and we tend to focus too much on them and end up failing because we feel as though it’ll never happen. So setting small goals gives you that burst of accomplishment and pushing you to continue.
- Try new things! Don’t let exercise become a habit that you dread. Switch things up and keep it fun then you’re more likely to stick with it. It doesnt have to be an hour doing hardcore exercise at the gym, it can be SO many other things — a bike ride around the neighborhood, a walk with the dog, playing sports with friends/kids/on team. Just get out and be active!
- Don’t be your own worse enemy. You’re going to have many bumps in the road on your journey and it’s all a part of learning and growing. I even started my own fb page, Planking For Peanut M&Ms , to keep me accountable and help motivate others!
- FEED your body!!!! I see so many women eating 1200 calories and being cardio junkies. Hey…for alittle while I was one of those women!! Yeah, you’ll see a loss on the scale BUT also a loss in muscle mass and metabolism function!! Your body needs fuel!! Listen to it!