Weight Loss Success Stories: Betsey Dropped Fast Food And 32 Pounds
As told to Jessica Decostole
Betsey Goering had fallen into a common routine: Order dinner in and watch TV all night with her husband. But when she found herself reaching for a new pant size, she ditched the takeout menus for a new body – and a new passion.
Betsey Goering, 28
High school science teacher, Married for 4 1/2 years
Starting weight: 152 lbs
Current weight: 120 lbs
Pounds lost: 32
“All of a sudden I was a size 12.”
I never thought I had a weight problem until I was married. In high school, I weighed about 125 pounds. I played volleyball and ran track, but a few years later, I realized I was gradually gaining weight. When I got married to my husband, Jonathon, my workouts became less consistent. Jonathon and I ordered takeout at least once a week – we’d polish off a large pie from Pizza Hut in one sitting. I would plan to go out for walks after I got home from teaching, but my nights usually ended with me skipping the walk and sitting on my couch, writing lesson plans, grading papers, or watching television instead. I felt sluggish, tired, and overweight. Part of me thought that gaining weight and feeling tired was just a normal part of getting older, but another part of me knew that might be a cop-out. Last year, as I stood in a dressing room trying on clothes, it hit me that size 10s no longer fit. I really needed a size 12. When did this happen?
“If she can do it, so can I.”
Around that time, a fellow teacher at my school joined Weight Watchers, and I watched her start dropping pounds. I thought, If she can do it, why can’t I? So I joined Weight Watchers. It was a good diet choice for me because I have a very competitive personality. Every week, the weigh-in was a chance for me to beat myself from the previous week. Competing with myself was the hardest I’ve ever worked! Plus, having a coworker to talk to helped me stay motivated. Since I saw her every day, we could check in on each other’s progress, discuss which foods were healthy, and just be there to cheer each other on. I started eating smaller portions, stopped smothering my food in cheese, and cut out all the fast food in my diet. I also began cooking more at home and started to incorporate vegetables into my meals. Although my husband missed takeout pizza, he learned to enjoy eating steamed broccoli and even showed an interest in cooking. At first, I was always hungry. But after a few weeks, my stomach got used to eating healthier portions. And I started feeling so energetic. I walked 30 to 60 minutes three times a week and occasionally added a 30-minute bike ride once a week. But I credit most of my weight loss to changing my eating habits. At the start of the program, I thought it would be nice to lose 10 to 15 pounds. Three months later, I was almost 30 pounds lighter.
“I get up at 4:30 a.m. to run – and I’m not even a morning person!”
One afternoon last May, I was out for a walk, and I decided to see how it would feel to run again, without all that extra weight to carry. I only ran a couple hundred yards, but I couldn’t believe how light I felt. It was almost like I could fly or float. I knew I wanted more of that feeling, so I started incorporating more jogging into my walks. My husband, who was always a runner, began running with me, and that made it fun to have someone to compete against. I started logging my time and miles on mapmyrun.com, a website where you can plan your routes, get maps, and talk about running with other runners. It really helped me stay on track. My goal was to work up to a 60-minute jog. By the end of the summer, I more than doubled that goal, ran a half marathon (13.1 miles) in about two hours, and dropped even more pounds, bringing my weight to 120 pounds. That was under my goal weight of 122 pounds.
If someone had told me a year ago that I would be jogging 30 to 40 miles a week, I would’ve laughed at them. Now on Sundays, my husband and I run nine to 10 miles. On weekdays I get up at 4:30 a.m. to run about seven miles before work – and I was never a morning person! When I start my day having already jogged seven miles, I feel like I can do just about anything. I take one day off a week to give my body a rest, but on those days, I can honestly say I miss it and don’t feel as energetic.
“I’m a much happier person now – and people notice.”
February marked my one-year anniversary on Weight Watchers, and I’m very proud that I’m still in the program and have maintained my weight at 120 pounds. The last time I had a fast-food burger was more than a year ago. I also feel like I’ve had a personality transformation: I never knew the kind of personal power that comes with confidence. And of course, nothing feels better than trying on a size 2 and feeling good! I know I’ve made an incredible change in my life, but it didn’t really hit me until I was going through some old clothes. I found a dress that my mom had sewed for me for a formal banquet in high school. I remember the dress had always been difficult to get on and off. I decided to try it on, and it fit better than it did even then! I couldn’t believe it. That was an amazing moment that I won’t soon forget!
Betsey’s Slimming Secrets
1. READ FOOD LABELS.
At the supermarket, instead of just throwing items into my basket, I take a minute to read the labels. I look for high-fiber cereals, granola bars, popcorn, crackers, chips, and pasta. I know they will fill me up and digest more slowly than foods with less fiber.
2. WRITE DOWN EVERYTHING YOU EAT.
Nothing stops me from over-eating faster than looking at a list of everything I put in my mouth that day. It reminds me that things like drinks and peppermints count. Everyone thinks they don’t have time to keep a food log, but it’s pretty easy to throw a journal and pen into your purse. No matter where I am, I can just pull it out and take a couple of seconds to jot down what I’ve eaten.
3. SET SMALL WEIGHT-LOSS AND EXERCISE GOALS.
When I first started jogging, I would aim to increase my time by just 10 minutes. At the start of my Weight Watchers program, I set a reasonable weight goal. Once I met a goal, I rewarded myself with things like new workout clothes. And then I was able to make a new goal. This allows me to continue to challenge myself long after I achieved what I never dreamed possible!
4. DON’T CUT OUT ALL HIGH-FAT, HIGH-CALORIE FOODS.
I know that if I deny myself too long, those cravings will just become stronger. Instead, I allow myself to eat the foods I love: muffins, cookies, and ice cream. But I decrease the portion sizes and make sacrifices in other areas of my diet to compensate for the calories. I mentally plan ahead if I know I’m going to be faced with my favorite cheesecake over the weekend. If I decide in advance how much I’ll eat, then I am able to enjoy every bite without feeling guilty afterward.
5. EAT FRUITS AND VEGETABLES FIRST.
I treat meats and starches like the side dishes. The end result is I consume fewer calories and still feel very satisfied. If possible, I buy fresh produce instead of canned or frozen. My body thanks me for the fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants – and I feel great!
Buddy Up for Motivation
Betsey attributes her weight-loss success to many factors, but social support was at the top of her list. Running with her husband, talking with her fellow Weight Watchers pal, and visiting mapmyrun.com all helped her stay determined and focused. Don’t have a friend or a spouse you can depend on for motivation? Don’t worry; you’re just a few clicks away from one.
SPARKPEOPLE.COM lets you build a profile page and form communities with like-minded people – say, knitters who want to lose weight or single moms trying to stay in shape. Plus, you can get a free personalized meal plan.
GIMME20.COM has information on local exercise clubs and opportunities to meet new friends by joining discussion and activity groups in your area. And you can even create your own blog.
MY-CALORIE-COUNTER.COM offers a free online diet and exercise journal to track your weight-loss progress.
MYFITTRIBE.COM acts as a virtual personal trainer: Download workouts with video instruction to your iPod for use at the gym.
MILLIONDOLLARBODY.COM provides workout videos, cash incentives, prizes, and training tips to keep you going.
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