I Won the Fat War: Carrie Chatman
No more sweets at 17.
Name: Carrie Chatman
Current Age: 20
Weight Lost: 176 lb
Successful Strategies: Exercised to reduce food cravings, and ate low-fat, healthy foods
At 14, I wanted to believe that other people couldn’t see my 300-pound frame. So when my Dad said, “Carrie, your mother and I are having health-related problems because we’re overweight, and we don’t want the same for you,” I was mortified! Still, I wasn’t ready to diet and vowed that when I was, I’d do it on my own.
It took 3 more years of being winded climbing stairs, shopping for plus sizes while my friends bought from the trendy junior section, and sitting on the sidelines during gym for me to be ready to make a change. At 311 pounds, I’d had enough. So one night during Christmas vacation when I was bored, I turned on some music and hopped on the treadmill that my aunt had given us as a gift. Within a week or so, I was walking 30 minutes every night and enjoying every minute of it.
Learn Right from Wrong
hanging my diet was more complicated. I knew I ate the wrong foods: Pop-Tarts for breakfast, soda and Doritos for lunch, second helpings at dinner, and ice cream or cookies every night. I didn’t really know what the right foods were; I just knew I needed to eat less. So I cut out chips and sodas and ate the smallest portions I could. Not surprisingly, I lost weight–about 30 pounds–but I felt terrible! I had so little energy. I knew there had to be a better way.
By reading health magazines, I learned to eat a balanced diet, to drink water, and to not skip meals. Food wasn’t my enemy; I just had to make better choices: a banana, cereal, and fat-free milk every morning; grilled chicken, salad, and a piece of fruit for lunch; an apple after school; and a turkey sandwich on whole wheat for dinner. My energy returned, and I continued to drop weight.
I headed off food cravings by moving my daily walks outside (far from the kitchen) and timed them for right after school when my temptation to eat was worst. For 6 months, the weight came off steadily. I lost 45 pounds; then I hit a plateau. I remember crying and telling myself, “You can do it. You’ve come this far.” I increased my walking to 4 miles a day during summer break, and when I returned for my senior year, I had lost another 21 pounds. By graduation day in May 2001, I was down another 80 pounds, and my healthy habits had become second nature to me.
Today, at age 20, I try to keep my weight between 135 and 140 pounds. I walk daily and do 20 minutes of crunches and push-ups when I get home. Plus, I take step aerobics three times a week and occasionally do a Tae-Bo workout tape to shake things up. I feel wonderful and can do things, such as play racquetball, that I never would have dreamed of in high school.
Even better, my success has encouraged my parents to become healthier. My mom buys less junk food, and my dad has lost 53 pounds. I may have helped them, but I know that the real inspiration and determination to change has to come from the inside.
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