I’ve been obese my entire life…even as a small child.
HOW DID YOUR WEIGHT AFFECT ANY ASPECT(S) OF YOUR LIFE? My weight has always affected every single aspect of my life. As a child, I was bullied, not just because of my weight, but because I was very quiet and shy due to having a low self-esteem.
WHAT WAS THE “TURNING POINT” THAT GOT YOU STARTED ON YOUR WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY? I had taken my children to a local race one day here in the town I live in. I had to walk up an incline to get into the area where the races were taking place. The incline was very small and the walk was not even that far, but then I got to a overpass bridge that was elevated even more. I felt as though I couldn’t catch my breath on the way inside and had a very hard time crossing this bridge. On the way out when the event was over, it was worse. I thought I wouldn’t be able to catch my breath so much that my husband had to leave me there, go get the car, and come back to pick me up. It was so bad that I thought I would have to go to the hospital. When you’re breathing and breathing trying to catch your breath and it’s just not working, it’s a very scary thing. This happened a couple weeks before I decided I was sick of being miserable. After this happened, it was on my mind every single day (enough to where it pushed me to make a change).
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED? In the beginning, I just changed what I was eating, when I was eating, and the amount of food that I was consuming. When I was obese, I had a bad habit of not eating anything all day long, then waiting until 5 p.m. when it was dinner time, then would eat whatever I wanted throughout the rest of the day very late into the night. I added in a lot of raw veggies when I wanted snacks, started eating breakfast and lunch (much healthier choices, of course), and it helped to satisfy me into the nighttime so I was able to cut out the nighttime snacking (or even binging).
HOW LONG AFTER YOU STARTED DID YOU BEGIN TO SEE RESULTS OF YOUR WEIGHT LOSS EFFORTS? I started to see results immediately. I had taken photos on the very first day I decided to change my lifestyle and photos in the same clothes about 3 weeks later. There was a huge difference. I never stepped on the scale in the beginning because I was scared of what that number might had shown me. I went by photos only for the first month or so until I felt confident enough to step on the scale. Photos made all the difference in my weight loss journey and are what has kept me motivated and accountable the entire time.
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST PART? The hardest part for me was trying to reverse my food addiction. Instead of trying to resolve my food addiction, the best way to go about it was to find a love for different foods. Instead of eating a lot of fried or sugary foods, I started eating vegetables and lean meats. I had a horrible sugar addiction in the beginning which took months to change. In the beginning I substituted with the lower calorie Weight Watchers ice cream bars or Skinny Cow bars. That was enough to satisfy the craving for sugar (or ice cream which was my trigger food). I still struggle to this day with these things at times. I’ve come to realize though that our bodies crave what we feed it. If I eat clean, I crave clean foods. If I eat sugar, I crave sugar.
Another very difficult thing for me to learn was to realize there is balance in everything. This is KEY for anyone wanting to take this journey! As a mom and wife, I was always doing everything for everyone else. Everyone was always very dependent upon me at the same time. I needed to learn to balance the time I put into myself as well as the time I put towards my children, husband, and everything else that is important and necessary in life. Over the last couple years, the things I’ve had to learn to balance in life have changed and I’ve had to reevaluate as life has changed. It’s one of the most important lessons to be learned in this because, as a mom and wife, we seem to forget that we are just as important as everyone else.
DID YOU EVER WANT TO GIVE UP? WHAT KEPT YOU GOING? Honestly, I never wanted to give up this time. Usually, any other time I’d gone on a “diet”, I would hit a plateau (like most people do), give up, go back to eating the way I was previously eating, and gain all the weight back plus more. I was determined this time. I got on the Internet and started researching, researching, and researching. Come to find out, believe it or not, I was not eating enough! I changed some things up, and the weight started coming off again. I was determined this time! I knew I didn’t want to feel miserable all the time and needed to change my life. This wasn’t a diet for me this time around, but I needed to change my lifestyle once and for all.
DID YOU HIT ANY WEIGHT LOSS PLATEAUS? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM? When I hit my first plateau after the first forty pounds, I was confused. I wondered why on earth I was plateaued when I had so much more weight to lose. Like so many times previously, I wasn’t giving up. When I realized I wasn’t eating enough, I added in extra calories and the weight started falling off again. When I hit my second plateau (after the first 60 pounds had come off), I figured out what my daily calorie intake should be and I started staggering my calories. I would have high calorie days and low calorie days. It bumped my plateau after the second week. I then experienced a third plateau when I was about 25 pounds from my goal weight. I decided, this time, that I would eat at maintenance for a month, then bring my calories back down to a deficit to give my body a break for a while. When I brought my calories back down, it triggered my body to start losing again and I lost another 20 pounds.
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO LOSE MOST OF THE WEIGHT? I lost most of the weight in the first 17 months.
DID YOU HAVE ANY NON-SCALE VICTORIES? I have had a lot of non-scale victories.
*Every time I’ve taken photos and seen progress. This is what has kept me going and motivated for so long.
*Seeing the number on the tape measure go down.
*Having to buy new clothing every few weeks.
*Being able to shop in any store I want. I’ve had to shop in plus-sized women’s clothing stores since I was in 7th grade. I went from the Plus-sized girls department in JCPenney straight into plus-sized women’s clothing.
*Becoming an ACE Certified Personal Trainer
*And my biggest NSV which was my all-time goal of becoming an ACE Certified Health Coach
*Using my certifications to start my own successful business as a Lifestyle Modification Coach. This is my way of paying it forward and I absolutely love it.
WHAT DOES YOUR DAILY DIET LOOK LIKE COMPARED TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER? When I was heavier, I ate out a lot. My favorite restaurant was Chilis. I loved their Quesadilla Explosion Salad or a HUGE burger. I loved their jalapeno cheese fries smothered with cheese. I also loved their brownie dessert topped with fudge and ice cream. I would eat these things all the time and never thought twice about the amount of calories I was consuming. It was very seldom that we ate at home. We would frequent a local restaurant that had huge baked potatoes stuffed with cheese, sour cream, and all kinds of other stuff. I loved loved loved ice cream and didn’t think twice about having two bowls of it in a night. I loved candy..especially Skittles and Chocolate. My eating habits were very bad! I never ate anything until after 5 p.m. everyday and had a horrible sleep schedule too.
Now, my eating habits are very scheduled. I plan ahead and record what I’m going to eat ahead of time. I eat lots of lean meats (usually chicken), tuna, and lots of fish. I love vegetables, salads (with only balsamic vinegar, olive oil, or lemon for dressing), beans, nuts, avocado, fruit, greek yogurt, etc. I do allow myself treats like dark chocolate. If I want ice cream and don’t want to feel guilty, then I’ll put a frozen banana in my Vitamix and make “ice cream” that way. I’ve learned how to find substitutes for some of the things I used to love that I felt I couldn’t live without.
HOW DOES YOUR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY COMPARE TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER? I was completely sedentary before I decided to change my lifestyle. Now, I exercise six days/week. I do 3 days of cardio for one hour and three days of weight training. Sometimes, I’ll add in Yoga on my rest day.
MY WEIGHT LOSS TIPS & TRICKS
- Learn balance with EVERYTHING in life! Remember that YOU are just as important and everyone else. Make the time for yourself that you truly deserve.
- Don’t look so far into the future at the number of pounds you need to lose to be healthy. Take it week by week. All the small changes you make each week will soon turn into one HUGE change.
- If you have one bad day, it shouldn’t amount to thinking you’ve failed. This is a lifestyle change. There are no diets! Tomorrow is a new day and a fresh start.