Finding Confidence in Her 30s
An optometrist breaks bad eating habits and drops from a size 14 to a size 6
Before: 170 pounds
After: 137 pounds
Time at current weight: 3 years
Making midnight runs for buffalo wings, eating endless ice cream cones in the dining hall, and frying funnel cakes for stress relief are indelible college memories for Jill Liu. The weight gain was equally unforgettable. She was a happy-go-lucky size-14 undergrad at the University of Texas at Austin, but life after graduation inadvertently put her on a path to weight loss—and she couldn’t stop.
The Turning Point
When Jill moved home after college, she was more excited about grad school and less concerned with her weight. So the optometrist from Sugar Land, Texas, was surprised at how great she felt after dropping 10 pounds simply by eating her mom’s cooking. By her last year of optometry school, she was down to a size 8, thanks to 3 months she spent studying abroad in Wurzburg, Germany. All that walking and sightseeing had done wonders for her waistline. Then she turned 30, and life was good. She held a stable job, made decent money, and had little stress, but she wanted to add some definition to her figure.
She signed up with a personal trainer and dropped the last 13 pounds at the gym, running on the treadmill 50 to 60 minutes, 3 to 4 days a week. She’s now a size 6. Because maintaining weight is easier than losing it, she’s been able to dial back her workouts. She frequents the gym three days a week, each time with a different mission: to meet with a trainer, attend boot camp class, and run on the elliptical. “I have never looked better or felt more confident,” she says.
Jill loves food and refuses to starve herself. She just eats smarter and remembers to burn off any extra calories. Every morning she weighs herself, and if she fluctuates above a number she finds unsatisfactory, she hits the gym harder and reduces her calories. “It is better to catch it early, than to let the weight spiral out of control again. I also remember how hard it was to lose the weight.”
This past November, Jill walked down the aisle to marry her boyfriend, Brian. During her engagement she tried on about 30 wedding gowns, and being able to fit into sample-size dresses was almost as exciting as marrying the man of her dreams.
Find the right trainer. “I could not have lost the last 13 pounds by myself. He taught me what to eat. I am stronger both physically and mentally now. And because I have more muscle, I can eat more during the day.”
It’s all about moderation. “If I have a Sonic burger for lunch, I will have a salad with light dressing for dinner. I eat a few spoonfuls of ice cream after dinner to satisfy my sweet tooth, versus two full scoops like I did when I was in college.”
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