Fed up with the Flab
Tired of being overweight, Leigh-Anne Nielsen decided to take action and finally lose pounds–131 to be exact!
Name Leigh-Anne Nielsen
Job Legal administrator
Weight Before 278
Weight After 147
The Gain: Kids can be cruel, as Leigh-Anne Nielsen knows. By her freshman year of high school, she weighed 210 pounds and her peers teased her relentlessly. Nielsen attributes the weight problem she’d had for most of her life to “being genetically ‘blessed’ with chubby thighs, an ever-growing belly, and more than enough junk in my trunk” — that and a typical teenage diet of sloppy joes and fries.
The Change: While getting ready for her brother’s wedding several years ago, Nielsen was psyched to try on her dress, never mind the size (a 24). Her mom snapped photos, but when Nielsen saw them her heart sank. “I cannot possibly be that wide,” she thought. She went to bed that night and cried. “I cried for strength — to lose weight, to eat healthier, to exercise, and to go through with it and never look back.”
The Life: Her next day’s diet consisted of cereal, apples, chicken, salad, and more than 15 glasses of water. That night Nielsen dragged her mom’s old exercise bike out of the basement. She lasted for 3 minutes. But in a few weeks, she was managing 14 minutes with only brief pauses. Inspired by her success but tired of the bike, she tried everything from running in place to dancing to anything upbeat. Soon she added situps, jumping jacks, and finally a treadmill to the mix. By the following summer, her dress size had dropped to an 18. And thanks to a steady diet of aerobic exercise and healthy foods, it kept falling.
The Reward: Last November, Nielsen finally reached her weight-loss goal, breaking the 150 mark. The change means she has had to reintroduce herself to high school classmates and even family members she hadn’t seen in a while. Sure, that’s gratifying, but it’s not the best part. What is? “Having the knowledge now to teach my children at a young age to make responsible decisions about food and how to take care of their bodies and themselves,” she says.
Give yourself a break. “Learn to forgive yourself for that cookie. If you overindulge, watch your food choices the next few days.”
Never keep leftovers. “Neighbors love treats and leftover cake.”
Try new things. “I was such a picky eater when I was a kid that I’ve made a new resolution: Every vegetable I ever said no to, I try. Egg-plant was last week.”
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