Through her healthier-lifestyle journey, Barb has learned that one of the greatest benefits to losing weight and eating healthy is feeling better. With time management, the support of the Calorie Count community, and focusing on living a healthier life, Barb has lost over 80 pounds. She is well on her way to her goal weight, and is working on improving her relationship with food, body image, and herself.
1. What prompted you to begin this weight loss journey? Did you have an “Aha!” moment? My “Aha!” moment was more of a string of “Hmm” moments. I was never a small girl, even growing up. So, there was never a point when I put on the weight. I just got bigger. But, when I tried on my Maid of Honor dress for my sister’s wedding, and the 24 had me bulging in places you’re not supposed to bulge from, I knew I needed to make a change.
2. What other “diets” (programs, products, plans, or services) had you tried in the past? I’ve tried so many different things over the years. I’ve tried numerous meal plans, gyms, restriction diets, extreme diets, and I even had a time I was so desperate I barely ate anything at all. None were for the right reasons though. I always saw it as, “If I just lose the weight, I can go back to how I ate before.” It was never about changing my life, until now.
3. Please describe how you reached your weight loss goal. What changes did you make to your usual diet, activity, lifestyle, and attitude? Did you implement any other strategies besides Calorie Count? What was the most important change? I always tried to start gradually before. But at just 15 lbs. under 300 lbs., and only 22 years old, I didn’t have the luxury of extra time. I started by cutting out all fast food, chips, junk food, most processed foods, and anything to drink outside of water. It was a hard first few weeks, but I lost 8 lbs. my first week and over 15 in the first month.
Once I started seeing that simply cutting out the bad was working, it was that much easier to start adding in the good. After about a week into it, I found Calorie Count and it has been a part of my journey ever since. Most days, I eat 3 meals and 2 snacks. I try to eat 2-3 hrs apart and nothing past 8-8:30pm. My exercise started off mostly walking. Then I got a bike/elliptical machine and used that too. For the first 7months, I relied on walking/running, my bike, and a few Chris Powell workouts I stumbled onto. Just recently I’ve started Tony Horton’s Power 90 and I am just about 2/3 of the way through.
The most important change, for me, was realizing that this wasn’t just something I’d do for a year or so. It had to be something I was willing to do for the rest of my life. Not to get skinny or look good in my clothes, but to be healthy and, more importantly, alive.
4. Please describe how Calorie Count was instrumental to your weight loss. Calorie Count is probably the one part of my journey that hasn’t changed. I’ve altered my eating schedule, changed workouts, mixed it up with how or when I work out. But the one thing I stayed with was this fantastic group of people. It’s not just a site for losing weight. The people here genuinely care about you. I’ve met some people here that, through some recent family issues, were there for me more than people I’ve known my entire life. And it’s amazing to have people there to hold you accountable without being belittling. Plus, I give Calorie Count full credit for helping me learn exactly how or what to put into my body to keep it healthy.
5. What difficulties did you experience losing weight? I’ve always been bigger. So, I don’t think I’ll ever be “small.” And, I think that knowledge has hindered me a little. I’m definitely my own worst enemy and I tend to underplay my accomplishments. I’m also a full-time mom to a 3-year-old little boy and recently went back to work too.
So, time management, and figuring out a schedule that worked for me, was key to staying on track. I also often have the issue of seeing the “old me” in the mirror rather than the me I’ve become. It’s something I’m still working on.
6. How long did it take you to see results? When did you realize that you were a success? I don’t think I actually saw it in myself until clothes started falling off and I needed to buy smaller pants. I’d probably already lost 30 lbs. and I guess knew I’d gotten smaller, but until I had to go down in sizes it didn’t really hit me. And I don’t think I’d call myself a success just yet. I have lost about 80 lbs. with, give or take, 50 to go. I am motivated and dedicated, but I’m far from my end results.
And more importantly, I’m not fully there mentally. I have a lot of work to do when it comes to having a healthy relationship with myself in relation to food and body image. I think once I accomplish that, then I can feel a little more secure in where I’m at. But for now, I’m just happy telling people I’m at an “almost there” point in my journey.
7. How do you prevent relapse? I don’t. A healthy lifestyle, for me, isn’t just about cutting out every single bad thing and only eating 100% clean. I don’t think I could live that way. I compromise. If I eat clean 90% of the time, but every now and then I want a piece of chocolate or treat myself and go out for a meal, then I’m ok with that. Those occasions are few and far between, but I keep it in my head that they will happen. That way, if they do happen, or if I mess up on my diet one day, I’m not devastated and I don’t go off the rails. I do, however, keep a plethora of fruits and veggies and healthy snacks around at all times, so that I’m more swayed to the healthier choices most of the time.
And I think, at this point, I’m very comfortable with the healthier life I’ve chosen. And most of the time, it’s not about sacrifice or missing out, but eating something equally as delicious that makes me feel a million times better than any cheeseburger or bag of chips could.
8. How has your life changed now that you’ve lost weight? Since getting active and losing weight, I’ve become a completely different person. Outside of losing almost an entire person, I’ve gained so much pride and respect for myself that I lost a long time ago. I am also in the best shape of my life. I enjoy my workouts like I never thought I could. I’m great a squats and lifting and I’m able to now run almost half a mile in one shot, as opposed to 10 feet, before getting winded. I get compliments from people all the time on how great I look and how much weight I’ve lost, but I think the best thing since getting healthy is how great I FEEL. I actually feel good about myself.
9. How long have you maintained your current weight? I’m still a work in progress, so there’s no maintenance work yet. But I’ve been on my healthier lifestyle journey for 9 months now.
10. What five tips do you have for other dieters?
1. It can’t be about a quick fix. If you look at it as a “diet” and something that you only stick to for a period of time, your results will only stick around for a short period of time.
2. Don’t be too hard on yourself. (Something I need to work on myself.) If you crucify yourself for every small misstep then it’s harder to see all the positive ones you take.
3. Reach out to other people. Don’t be shy! If you’re having trouble sticking to it or have questions about something don’t be shy about asking someone or talking to someone about it! ESPECIALLY on Calorie Count! We’re all here for the same reason, to get healthy. So don’t be afraid to reach out if you need it.
4. Don’t overdo it. If you push yourself to the brink of exhaustion every day and refuse to ever take a break, one day your body won’t be able to sustain that. Remember, it isn’t a short term lifestyle. If you can’t hold up your routine for the rest of your life, you shouldn’t be on it! Don’t beat yourself up if you need an off day. Your body needs rest as much as you do, if not more.
5. EAT! So many times I see people making the mistake of taking on these minimalist diets. And they don’t realize they’re doing more harm than good. Even if you DO happen to lose weight eating a mere 400-500 calories a day, you’re more than likely breaking down muscle. (And that’s ALL muscles. Your heart is a muscle too!)
I started out around 1000-1200 calories, and after a while hit a wall. Once I upped it to 1400-1600 I was moving again. Mind you, that’s still on the low side. Eating enough is something I work on daily so that’s not necessarily where you should be. There’s no reason you can’t lose weight on a 2000 calorie diet if you’re eating right and exercising. So, be sure to eat enough or you’ll just end up hurting yourself!
And, more importantly than all of that, don’t forget to congratulate yourself from time to time. You took the most important step and that’s starting. It will only get easier from that point on.