Name: Caroline Haugen
Before Weight: 215 pounds
How I Gained It: As I look back throughout my life, I have been overweight since I was in junior high — peaking out at 215 pounds my senior year in high school. Now, for a girl in her teens, being overweight is not fun. Shopping, boys, and of course the weekends are all things that teenagers look forward to. Shopping was not fun because finding clothes was not easy, boys were not as interested because I was larger than the other girls, and the weekends always revolved around food and parties. Being the “bigger” girl always made me feel self-conscious in these teenage activities.
When I got into my 20s I shockingly maintained my weight at 215 pounds, but it was when I met my husband that I decided to “eat better”.
Eating better was something I had no knowledge about, so I made the most sensible decisions at that time. I stopped eating fast food, drinking soda, switched to whole grains, ate more protein and started to run. As expected, the weight started to come off. I went from 215 pounds to 175 pounds in about five months. I maintained my weight at 175 pounds until I got married. Six months into my marriage, I stopped this routine.
When my husband and I got married, eating was exciting; I had someone who wanted to go out and eat at the restaurants in our new neighborhood. I would tell myself: “I will work off this meal tomorrow when I run,” but the more pastas, pizzas, hamburgers, French fries and desserts I ate, the more weight I started to put back on.
Breaking Point: I got married April 4, 2009 and by December 2010 I was already back up to 205 pounds. I knew I had to do something, but I didn’t know where to start. I kept telling myself, “you have lost weight before, so do it again.” I decided to start the process again, but it was when my mom called and told me about this new program at the gym that literally changed my life.
How I Lost It: In January 2011, I met the nutritionist who was in charge of this six week program. At first, I was completely against everything about it because of all the food I had to give up. Diet Coke, bread, pasta, sweets — anything wheat and any food that has ever been processed were all gone starting on day one. I was horrified; I thought there would be nothing fun about eating anymore.
Although I wasn’t thrilled, I was promised the program would change my life and it would be a lifestyle for me that I could live by forever.
By the end of week one I wanted to quit. I was having withdrawals from not having my usual foods and was not too excited when I showed up to weigh in. After getting on the scale, I realized I had lost a solid five pounds. Suddenly, this program didn’t seem too bad!
I continued throughout the program to week six, losing a total of 14 pounds. For me, this was a huge accomplishment because I did it without the bad carbohydrates and processed foods. Yes, you eat a lot of chicken, lean red meat, cheese, fruit and vegetables, but I learned some great and unique ideas on how to mix it up for each meal.
Throughout the six weeks I learned that fruit was going to be my savior. When I craved bread, pasta, or a dessert, I would cut up a couple pieces of a banana with some peanut butter. To please my salt craving, I would toast some parmesan cheese pieces in the oven.
It has now been eight months and I am grain-free, wheat-free and added-sugar-free and I feel the best I have in my life. I focus all my meals on a protein, vegetable and a fruit. I am never tired, my skin looks and feels amazing, and I do not retain any fluid in my hands or face. I look forward to eating rather than feeling guilty about what I am going to eat.
Giving up these foods has taught me so much about health and my body, and that it is a lifestyle change, not a diet. I have created many meal plans and have learned that fat is my friend, not my enemy! The past eight months have been an inspiration to me and I hope my story will inspire others and spark an interest in what it all entails.