“I’m My Slimmest Ever at 47!”
Kimberly Justus thought she was destined to be fat, but her active son taught her otherwise
Weight now: 152 pounds
Weight then: 220 pounds
Pounds lost: 68
My story: I was diagnosed with dyslexia when I was in third grade, so when my schoolmates worked on reading, I had to leave for special ed. Being singled out took a toll on me emotionally. The only thing that made me feel better was eating, and by eighth grade, I was 150 pounds and a target for teasing. When all the girls were wearing cool jeans, I was taunted for my elastic-waist pants. I never tried to lose weight, though. I guess I just accepted that I was destined to be fat. And I kept gaining: Years later, after I had my son Beau, the pregnancy pounds stuck with me. When I reached my largest size, 22W, I hid my body under my then-husband’s sweats.
In 2001, Beau was 10 and active in sports. It was getting hard for me to keep up with him, and one day when I bent over to pick up a ball he’d just thrown, I realized I had developed “oomph syndrome”: I couldn’t pick it up without making a big oomph sound from the exertion! It hit me right then that I needed to slim down. If not, I’d be on the sidelines the rest of my life.
Behind the binge
After losing 10 pounds on my own, I joined Weight Watchers for extra motivation. My son kept me focused, too–he learned the Points system and what I could eat. I also started a food journal, which made me realize how much my emotions spurred my eating. Eventually, I was able to turn to nonfood activities, like playing my guitar, when I felt an emotional binge coming on.
Sink or Spin
Six months into the program, I got a job as an office manager at a gym. Each day I watched the Spinning class. It looked fun, but I didn’t think I’d be able to keep up. Then an instructor urged me to try it, so I did–and after a couple of classes I was hooked. It took me 2 years to hit my goal of 150. I still felt shapeless, so I treated myself to a personal trainer: Within a year, I went from a size 12 and 33% body fat to a size 8 and 17% body fat. I still weigh 150, but I’m toned. That’s why it’s silly to pay so much attention to the scale! Today, I’m proud to say I’m an athlete. In 2005, I ran my first half marathon, and I’ve since completed four triathlons. Exercise makes me feel alive and, best of all, happy.
How I did it
I ate more…raw, healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
I ate less…refined and artificial sugars. I still enjoy organic honey and maple syrup, but I’ve eliminated everything else.
I exercised…with a personal trainer. Having to answer to someone made me want to show up and work hard. My mantra was…”Love yourself.” I’ll always be pear-shaped–and I accept it! I focus on the positives of my figure, like how strong my legs are and how they’ve carried me across so many finish lines.
Unexpected gain: A newfound confidence and self-esteem. I went from an insecure kid labeled as someone who couldn’t complete anything to someone who worked hard, reached her goal, and has maintained her success.
My health bonus: My chronic headaches are gone. Cutting back on sugar made a world of difference not only to my weight but to my overall health too.
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