I was the most adorable kid ever, (if I do say so myself) …until 3rd grade (8 years old) or so. I’m not sure what happened but I began to obsess over food. I was ALWAYS hungry but I was scared to eat in front of my classmates and my family. I would go hungry all day and then sneak food and binge when I thought no one was looking. I developed a really unhealthy relationship with food. I packed on the pounds pretty fast and yo-yo dieting would be something that I struggled with until I was 26.
HOW DID YOUR WEIGHT AFFECT ANY ASPECT(S) OF YOUR LIFE? My weight affected every aspect of my life in a negative way: I couldn’t walk from point A to point B without getting out of breath or breaking a sweat; I’d drive 40 minutes out of town to shop at Lane Bryant because we didn’t have one in my hometown. Whenever someone would compliment me on my clothes and ask where I got them, I would lie and say, “I don’t know. It was a gift…” because I was ashamed; I was super, super shy (and completely inept) with boys (men, when I got older); On gym days at school I’d fake being sick so I wouldn’t have to do the fitness challenges; I’d turn down invitations to parties with friends; I always wore a T-shirt over my bathing suit, even when I went IN to the water; I never once ate lunch in the cafeteria in high school, I’d wait ’til I got home and I’d pig out because I was so hungry by 3:00; Then, there’s the internal agony of feeling like you’re a disappointment to all your loved ones… I could go on and on and on. Every single action/re-action that I had (or didn’t have) to ANYthing was motivated by my weight and how self-conscious I was of it.
WHAT WAS THE “TURNING POINT” THAT GOT YOU STARTED ON YOUR WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY? In 2006, I made it to screen test callbacks with producers of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” …only to not be chosen as a contestant for Season 3. I was absolutely devastated. Ironically, I gained weight in my depression over that. And, it wasn’t until 2008 when I FINALLY got smacked in the face. I call it my “ah ha!” moment. I was watching a home video of myself and it was seriously like an out of body experience because I did not believe that the person I was watching was myself! It was kinda scary, actually… to not even recognize yourself. In that moment I had finally decided enough was enough.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED? The very NEXT day, I changed. I know that sounds crazy, but I did. It was Thanksgiving week but I wasn’t going to let that stop me. I decided that I was going to weigh myself every Monday morning to track my progress. I made a conscious effort to eat healthy. In the beginning it was pretty simple: Grilled chicken v fried chicken; side salad v french fries; water v coke. It’s not exactly rocket science. And, I NEVER told myself I “couldn’t” have something. If I wanted a cookie, I’d eat it and just be careful for the rest of the day… I very slowly began to add exercise into my routine. I didn’t want to get burned out like I had in the past. I started walking at a local park twice a week… then I progressed to 4 & 5 times a week… then I invested in Jillian Micheals’s 30-day shred DVD and so on and so forth. Most importantly… I didn’t tell anyone what I was doing. I know “they” say you need a support system but I was too ashamed to talk about it. I’d been dieting & failing and talking about it for 20 years. I was done talking! If I did fail… well, nothing would change and I could save face. If I succeeded… that would just be awesome 🙂
HOW LONG AFTER YOU STARTED DID YOU BEGIN TO SEE RESULTS OF YOUR WEIGHT LOSS EFFORTS? It was about 4 months before anyone started to notice. Even though I was losing weight every week at a steady pace and kinda sorta seeing my own results, no one else seemed to. When they did it seemed to be all at once, “Oh my gosh! You’re getting skinny.”
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST PART? I have to say I was pretty freakin’ motivated 🙂 I was SO SICK of myself that THAT was motivating me to keep going. I can’t explain it but it was like someone else was doing all the work for me. I know that God certainly had a hand in it. Nearly 5 years later I’m still awe-struck that I did it with such determination and fervor. I was on a mission and nothing was going to stop me.
DID YOU EVER WANT TO GIVE UP? WHAT KEPT YOU GOING? One week, a few months in to it, I gained 3lbs. It crushed me! I had my pity party and pouted for a day… I did NOT binge eat like the “old” Laura would have but I did go a little lax on my diet that day. Again, some other force was doing all the work for me and I just kept thinking about all the misery I went through up until this point… The next day I got back to it and on the next Monday I had a 5lb loss.
DID YOU HIT ANY WEIGHT LOSS PLATEAUS? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM? In 2010 I met a 95lb loss… I was determined to keep going. I wanted to make it to that 100 pound mark. I ended up meeting my husband right around that time 🙂 I got a little distracted, shall we say and I ended up gaining a few pounds and plateauing at 145lbs. Thank God, that’s all I managed to gain/maintain. Recently, I decided to finally conquer that plateau and push through to my final goal of 130lbs. I’m happy to say I’m 5lbs away. Who knows… maybe I’ll go further. “120lbs” always had a nice ring to me 🙂
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO LOSE MOST OF THE WEIGHT? From the time I started in 2008, until that magical moment in 2010 was 14 months. It sounds crazy but it actually went by pretty fast. Looking back now, I can’t believe it’s been 6 years since I started that journey. Everything happens for a reason but I can’t help wonder what my life would’ve been like had I had my “ah ha!” moment earlier…
DID YOU HAVE ANY NON-SCALE VICTORIES? Non-Scale victories are just as exciting, if not more, sometimes! I remember when I first started to notice my collar bones. That’s crazy but I could never see them before! Or, the bones in my chest or my hips… it’s like, “Hello! Where did YOU come from?” Any time my pants felt looser it was so amazing. Even my shoes and my rings began to fit differently. Indentations of muscles would appear in my arm or leg and eventually they were completely noticeable. My body literally changed before my very eyes. I also treated myself to to a tummy tuck. I had so much loose skin that it was completely necessary and I’m so glad I did it. I have one stomach now (not 2!) and it’s flat. Life is good 🙂
WHAT DOES YOUR DAILY DIET LOOK LIKE COMPARED TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER? When I was heavy I ate anything and everything. If it tasted good, it was going in my mouth to Heck with the consequences! I still struggle with this addictive/gregarious kind of trait but I manage to keep it under control… Now, I pay attention to what I eat. The principle is the exact same as it was when I started: Eat healthy, drink lots of water, treat yourself without freaking out, and just be smart.
HOW DOES YOUR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY COMPARE TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER? I went from couch potato to gym rat 🙂 I don’t actually GO to the gym but I work out in my home 6 days a week. It didn’t happen over night. Just like losing weight, my fitness level gradually progressed. It’s an awesome feeling to know that I can do anything with my body, physically. An injury has recently made me modify the intensity of my workouts but I do what I can: Pilates, yoga, cycling, etc. Being active is as much a part of my routine as getting dressed. It’s second nature now.
MY WEIGHT LOSS TIPS & TRICKS
- Set SMALL goals. Losing 3lbs, for example, will seem much more doable than losing 100lbs.
- Reward yourself when you meet those goals… NOT with food 🙂
- NEVER say that you “can’t” have something to eat. You are in control of your body. Eat that cookie, love it, and be mindful of everything else you put in your mouth the rest of the day. It’s all about balance.
- Weigh yourself EVERY week. Even after you meet your weight loss goal, you want to maintain it! Weighing yourself once a week will keep you accountable.*Do NOT weigh yourself every day… at least while you’re losing. Weight fluctuates (mine, 7lbs in a week) and you’ll go crazy!
- Don’t burn yourself out with exercise. Start slowly and build your way up.