Weight Loss Success Stories: Elizabeth List 166 Pounds With Creative Food Alternatives
NAME : Elizabeth
BEFORE WEIGHT : 345
AFTER WEIGHT : 179
POUNDS LOST : 166
WHEN DID YOU START DEVELOPING A WEIGHT PROBLEM?
I’ve been overweight my entire life, for the most part. At 3 years old, pictures reveal that I was doomed to be the pudgy kid.
HOW DID YOUR WEIGHT AFFECT ANY ASPECT(S) OF YOUR LIFE?
For years, I found myself shirking social encounters, only going to work and out to run errands. I wasn’t able to play with my kids. I wasn’t able to be the best at my job that I could be and I believe I suffered professionally.
Walking past people and being given a wide berth is embarrassing. So is asking for a seat belt extender in an airplane. Having to find ways to get around obstacles like clothes racks at stores or thin aisles was always a quick way to become frustrated and sad.
WHAT WAS THE “TURNING POINT” THAT GOT YOU STARTED ON YOUR WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY?
After having gone through a divorce, getting remarried, and having my fourth child, I decided enough was enough. My kids deserved to have the best me possible and I deserved to be as happy as I could possibly be. I decided the biggest thing I hadn’t accomplished in my life was to be fit and healthy – so I made a commitment to myself that I would do it and find out how different life might be.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED?
Two weeks after having my fourth child, I walked into Weight Watchers. Oddly enough, it was the only plan I had never tried. I’d done every plan imaginable but I’d never tried Weight Watchers. I figured it was my last hope…..
HOW LONG AFTER YOU STARTED DID YOU BEGIN TO SEE RESULTS OF YOUR WEIGHT LOSS EFFORTS?
I started to see results immediately, but after a couple of months my losses slowed. I hadn’t become active at all and knew that had to change. Five months into my journey, I began using the recumbent bike at the local YMCA. I could only do 10 minutes with no resistance.
Each day I went, I told myself to go one more minute. I couldn’t. It took each week to add that minute. Eventually, I was able to do 30 minutes on the bike. So I figured I could walk on the treadmill. Once I worked up to 30 minutes there, I tried the treadmill. I could never do more than 2 minutes at a time.
And then I found group fitness classes and things really began to change. I was really starting to enjoy being active. I was doing Zumba, TurboKick, Bootcamps, toning classes, even running 5k races with friends.
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST PART?
The hardest part for me was and always has been portion control. Even after losing all this weight, I can still revert back to bad habits and not eat one of something but actually finish the package. It’s something I still haven’t mastered but I work on it every day. Luckily, these instances come fewer and far between anymore.
DID YOU EVER WANT TO GIVE UP? WHAT KEPT YOU GOING?
I never wanted to give up because I knew everything I did, even “mistakes”, was going to get me to my goal. I knew that I had keep moving forward, even if the scale said I moved backward.
Mostly, I didn’t want my kids (two of who are teenagers) to think I was a quitter or couldn’t accomplish goals I set for myself. They had to know that setting a goal and reaching it is important, even something as physically demanding as losing an entire person.
DID YOU HIT ANY WEIGHT LOSS PLATEAUS? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM?
I had three 17-week plateaus. They were so frustrating. Two of them were in my last year while trying to lose the last 20 pounds. But since I’d tracked every bite of food I’d eaten and every activity I’d done and had a record of my journey, I looked back over the information and kept my eye on the prize knowing that as long as I kept moving the scale would budge eventually. It did and I was able to keep going. When it happened again, I remembered how I felt before and kept going again. And again.
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO LOSE MOST OF THE WEIGHT?
It took me 3 years to lose the weight.
DID YOU HAVE ANY NON-SCALE VICTORIES?
I was able to buy my first pair of Levi’s.
I can now wear a size I haven’t worn since I was 8 years old.
I found my collar bones – I didn’t even know they were there!
I was ecstatic the first time I buckled my seatbelt with one hand.
When my husband could get his arms all the way around me, I cried. Happy cry.
WHAT DOES YOUR DAILY DIET LOOK LIKE COMPARED TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER?
My meals were usually pretty healthy, but I ate entirely too much. And then I’d supplement my eating with lots of candy and sugary snacks.
Now I eat a pretty balanced food plan, paying attention to days when I need more protein or days when I need more carbohydrates.
I still have treats, but they’re not as often and they’re not in mass quantities.
HOW DOES YOUR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY COMPARE TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER?
Wow! This is huge! I usually do at least one workout per day, but several days a week have two workouts. Occasionally, I can sneak in a third workout. I’m constantly on the go and constantly finding ways to move more. I can actually dance and enjoy being an active person. Once upon a time, I’d find every excuse possible to stay home or not be social. Not anymore – I’m always looking for something to do.
MY WEIGHT LOSS TIPS & TRICKS
- Don’t deprive yourself, but don’t overindulge. Find ways to make alternatives to your favorite foods. I LOVE macaroni and cheese. I just don’t eat it as often and when I do I lighten it up any way I can.
- Don’t be a slave to the scale. The scale can make you crazy. Weigh once a week, whether you want to or not and call it a day. Realize the scale can fluctuate for no obvious reason and you could derail yourself by giving that number on the scale too much power.
- Find friends to be on this journey with you. Having someone you can text to talk you off the food ledge can be a valuable tool. They can also help motivate and encourage you to make better choices in general. I am absolutely confident that had I not created a circle of friends to lean on, I would not have reached my goal.
- Move in any way possible. It might just be fidgeting, stepping back and forth, parking farther in the parking lot. And add in the activity as soon as you can. I waited five months before I did and this is my only regret on this journey. I should have started moving right away.
- Don’t beat yourself when you make a mistake. There really are no mistakes, only learning opportunities. It’s a journey, a walk if you will. It’s not a sprint. And it’s not a straight line – there will be bumps and curves along the way.
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