Name: Lisa Maiorana
Height: 5 feet, 6 inches
Before Weight: 156 pounds
How I Gained It: I started to gain weight after I had my first child in 2005, and continued to with my second child in 2009. I was in my early 30s when I had my children, so my metabolism had already started to slow down. I also struggled horribly with severe morning sickness known as hyperemesis during my second pregnancy, which caused me to vomit up to 10 times a day for the first six months and to actually lose weight. The doctor told me I had to gain weight for my health and the health of my baby, so I did — but I don’t think he meant eating half a pizza every day.
Breaking Point: My personal breaking point was when I realized that I literally did not know when to quit eating. I would make myself sick eating portions that were meant to be shared with four to six people, and I would eat it all myself.
One day after eating way too much, none of my pants fit, and I had to wear my pregnancy jeans. I was so humiliated. I had gone from a size 6 to a size 16, the biggest I had ever been in my life. At 156 pounds, I wasn’t what most people would consider overweight, but I have a small frame and I’d always been slim. At size 16, I didn’t even look like myself. I wanted to feel like myself again.
How I Lost It: My birthday is January 3, and I decided that the start of the New Year in 2010 was when I was going to start. My first step was getting myself mentally prepared to make a lasting lifestyle change, not a short-lived diet. This was very important to me — I know that diets are only temporary and the weight always comes back on.
In order to do this and make it successful, I needed to incorporate healthy habits into my life. My diet and exercise plan started out like this: 300 crunches a day (most of my weight was in my belly from having children), plus 30 minutes of cardio every other day. At first, my cardio consisted of just walking on the treadmill. I gradually started to incorporate squats into my routine along with 2.5-pound arm weights.
Once I got comfortable with my workout, I really went for it. I worked myself up to an hour of exercise every day, seven days a week, with 30 minutes of treadmill time at a steep incline, 1,000 crunches (500 in the morning, 500 at night), 50 arm exercises, 30 tricep dips and 30 push-ups. I did this every day because I wanted to feel like it was part of my daily routine, part of my life and part of me.
As for my diet, I made a few major changes. I gave up all white foods entirely — no sugar, no salt, no flour, no bread, no pasta, no rice and no potatoes. I also started only drinking water and fat-free milk — no soda or juice. I ate six to eight mini meals throughout the day to keep my appetite satisfied. My meals would be around 250 to 300 calories, and my snacks would be about 100 calories. When I was losing, I tried to keep my personal daily calorie intake to 1,200. That may seem low, but I needed to lose 50 pounds and at that calorie level, I lost an average of two pounds per week, which is a healthy pace for weight loss. I never felt hungry because I ate every couple of hours.
It was tough, but it was so worth it. I’ve never felt better, and I’m in the best shape of my life now. I’m so toned that everyone jokes about my “guns.”
One thing I’d like to add is that everyone needs a support group. Some people aren’t always going to be supportive when you decide to lose weight — they might be jealous, intimidated or worried that you might be turning into a different person. They might even try to purposely sabotage you. You need one person that fully supports you in your goals and helps keep you on track. I know I did, and this person was my mother. I couldn’t have done it without her!
After Weight: 106 pounds
Happy Birthday, Lisa! Today marks one year since she began her journey, and she’s kept the weight off for six months.