WHEN DID YOU START DEVELOPING A WEIGHT PROBLEM? I developed a weight issue at the very young age of 6 when my dad became terminally ill with ALS. Both my mom and I turned to food as a coping mechanism. Then at age 15 I was diagnosed with PCOS where I gained an additional 80 lbs in ONE year!
NAME : Whitney. BEFORE WEIGHT : 269. AFTER WEIGHT : 139 POUNDS LOST : 130
HOW DID YOUR WEIGHT AFFECT ANY ASPECT(S) OF YOUR LIFE? My weight affected every aspect of my life. I was self conscious, had low self esteem, avoided social gatherings, I avoided being in any relationship, avoiding going to the doctor for fear I’d be “fat shamed”. and I had a negative relationship with some members of my family as my weight was often a topic of discussion amongst them.
WHAT WAS THE “TURNING POINT” THAT GOT YOU STARTED ON YOUR WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY? My turning point was my first born child. I knew how hard it was to grow up without a parent and I wasn’t going to let that happen to my child when it was 100% in my own control. I knew how selfish I was being and my life and health issues no longer just affected me, they affected my husband and kids. My child(ren) were my reason why because they were bigger than life itself. They were life.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED? I started by making small changes. I didn’t tackle everything at once. I wanted to set myself for success. I started by educating myself on proper nutrition, watching/following personal trainers, and making changes to the food I was buying. I then started by moving my body by walking. I’d load my son up in the stroller and go on 3 mile walks a day. Walking was all I could do at that time so I did that. As I became more confident in my ability , I started to tighten up my diet even more and started doing at home based workouts. I lived in the middle of rural Montana at the time so I didn’t have access to a gym. The closest one was 1 hour each directions.
HOW LONG AFTER YOU STARTED DID YOU BEGIN TO SEE RESULTS OF YOUR WEIGHT LOSS EFFORTS? I started to see small changes in the first 2 weeks but not nearly as fast as I would have liked. I thought I would have dropped 20 lbs in the month which clearly isn’t realistic.
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST PART? I feel like I had every obstacle stacked against me. Mom of 6, PCOS, lived in the middle of no where Montana, no access to a real gym, no community or friend support, a husband that was gone 20-23 days a month so I was often a single parent, I had PCOS, hypertension, prediabetic, high cholesterol, lack of sleep, bad mental health/anxiety.
DID YOU EVER WANT TO GIVE UP? WHAT KEPT YOU GOING? So many times yes! I always went back to focus on my “why”. I’d imagine how I’d look, feel and act once I was at my goal. I believe mindset is the # 1 key to success in weight loss and achieving your goal.
DID YOU HIT ANY WEIGHT LOSS PLATEAUS? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM? YES! I had them often. I’d often go weeks or months without losing anything. When this would happen, I would often take 3-5 days off from working out, give my body a break, and increase my calories. Then once those 3-5 days were over I’d often see the plateau break.
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO LOSE MOST OF THE WEIGHT? I had a unique journey in that I lost the first 80 lbs in the first 8-9 months but then I went onto have 3 kids in 3 years so my weight would fluctuate due to pregnancy and breastfeeding. I reached my goal weight of 140 lbs by the 6 year mark.
DID YOU HAVE ANY NON-SCALE VICTORIES? Absolutely! So many! I had more energy, slept better, skin changes, no more PCOS symptoms, my mental health improved, I no longer have any health issues, my gut bacteria is increased, I don’t get sick as often and I’m no longer afraid of being a ticking time bomb.
WHAT DOES YOUR DAILY DIET LOOK LIKE COMPARED TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER? I had TERRIBLE eating habits. I binge ate and emotional ate. I LOVED carbs. The more carbs the better. Chips, bread, crackers, pretzels, etc. It was even better if the carbs had cheese on it like pizza. Pizza was my go to. I’d often eat an entire pizza by myself and think nothing of it. I was always a good fruit eater but I didn’t make vegetables a priority at all. I wouldn’t eat breakfast most days and would then binge eating around noon.
HOW DOES YOUR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY COMPARE TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER? My physical fitness now is night and day different than when I started. I’m in the best shape of my life! I initially did NOT like working out but I started to fall in love with it when I saw the positive changes it was making in my life. It helps my mental health SO much! I preferred cardio in the beginning but now I focus more on weight training. I am going to be doing a fitness competition soon!
HOW DID YOUR EATING HABITS CHANGE? I started by educating myself on proper nutrition. After that I switched to portion controlled food system using the Beachbody 21 Day Fix portion containers. I tried to stick with Whole Foods and tried my best to avoid anything processed. Prioritized lean protein, fruits, veggies, whole grains, etc. I’d occasionally drink a diet soda but not much. I’d focus on the outer aisles of the grocery store vs. the inner since most of the inner aisles are shelf stable and processed. I’d occasionally meal prep but since I was a stay at home mom I preferred to take each meal at a time. I prefer variety and it was just easier for me.
ARE THERE ANY PEOPLE, SERVICES, BOOKS – EVEN QUOTES, THAT UNKNOWINGLY HELPED YOU ON YOUR JOURNEY? YES! I watched a lot of the NBC show The Biggest Loser for years before I decided to make the change. The people that inspired me most were the trainers on the show. Bob Harper, Jillian Michaels, Jen Widerstrom and Dolvet Quince.
WHAT DID THIS JOURNEY TEACH YOU ABOUT YOURSELF? I’ve learned that I am an unstoppable force. I am strong, worthy and beautiful at any size.
MY WEIGHT LOSS TIPS & TRICKS
- Start by determine your Why. Find the reason you want to change and it should be something that is very meaningful. Like kids, health, etc. It shouldn’t just be about vanity.
- Start Small and set realistic goals. Don’t try to tackle everything at once. Remember that this won’t happen overnight. By setting realistic expectations like ” it doesn’t matter how long it takes me as long as I get there” you’re far more likely to succeed vs. saying you want to be at your goal by 2 months. If you have a lot of weight to lose then 2 months is completely unrealistic.
- Find an exercise that you like and enjoy. If you find something you like you are more likely to stick to it. Make it Fun!
- Be prepared! Pack snacks, eat before going to a social gathering, pack meals for road trips, meal prep, etc. preparation is key!
- Surround yourself with support. Find someone that motivates you and encourages you to reach your goals. If you have someone that is constantly distracting you or encouraging you to “just eat this or skip a workout ” then it will be much harder to reach your goal.