This week’s featured Success Story is all about pure willpower and determination. Having been obese most of her life, Sanguinia chose to change her lifestyle by incorporating healthier foods and adding exercise. All her changes led to a phenomenal weight loss of over 150 lbs. Her story is a definite inspiration and a must read!
1. What prompted you to begin this weight loss journey? Did you have an “Aha!” moment? After downing two 2-liters of soda per day and eating all the Fast Food I could get my hands on…I was diagnosed with PCOS, High Blood Pressure and Insulin Resistance all at once. After yo-yoing since I became a teenager (I have been obese since I was 3 years old) I finally found that slow and steady wins the race!
2. What other “diets” (programs, products, plans, or services) had you tried in the past? All of them…as I am sure many people of my starting size will tell you. They are all fads and they make money when you fail!
3. Please describe how you reached your weight loss goal. What changes did you make to your usual diet, activity, lifestyle, and attitude? Did you implement any other strategies besides Calorie Count? What was the most important change? I completely cut out all beverages that contained calories as well as processed beverages with artificial sweetener. In other words I drink water all the time. Just that in itself garnered me a 30 lb weight loss in about 2 months! That was the beginning. Fast forward 6 years and I am now a vegan. I took up exercise on the Wii and eventually was comfortable enough with myself to go out in public. I now take yoga classes. What really helped me achieve the weight I am now is education. I started by picking up used nutrition textbooks (real nutrition books based on real science!) and then slowly finding other books by authors such as Michael Pollan and Marion Nestle they sit atop of my ‘Food Hero List’. Joining them on the list is Dr. Kelly Brownell from Yale University’s Rudd Center. I listen to his podcasts religiously. Changed my life!
4. Please describe how Calorie Count was instrumental to your weight loss. Calorie Count puts your food choices in black and white. And let me tell you I was startled to see my original reports. When I think about the food I ate to ‘diet’ back then compared to what I eat now – it’s like my own little horror movie that has a really positive ending! Thank you Calorie Count!
5. What difficulties did you experience losing weight? The points in time where I let go of all motivation and dedication. Every time it proved to be detrimental and I always gained back a few pounds. Sometimes you just don’t want to think about it for a second and sadly seconds turn into days and days into weeks and before you know it, you’ve gained 10 pounds back! It really is a lifelong battle, but I am determined to win and to stay the victor.
6. How long did it take you to see results? When did you realize that you were a success? The moment I realized I had actually lost 12 whole sizes since my heaviest! For me, that is 150 pounds lost so far. I still have a bit to go, but I am determined to get there. I am currently the same size I wore in first grade! No joke, a size 16 in WOMENS.
7. How do you prevent relapse? Fresh fruit and veggies have replaced cookies, ‘diet’ junk food, cheese, ice cream and fast food. If I cannot combat a craving for something I try to find a vegan substitution. For instance I had a real hankering for a sloppy joe. I found a recipe that uses beans instead of meat! They turned out pretty good! Also, I had to fight off many food phobias. If you were to tell me just 2 months ago that I would be eating and loving beans today, I would have bet a million dollars you were wrong! I am slowly de-programming my brain to stop pre-judging foods before I’ve even tried them, a habit I picked up from my mother. Over the last few weeks I tried beans, olives, mushrooms and asparagus all for the first time ever (I am 33) and I loved it all except the mushrooms, but I am even determined to keep trying those.
8. How has your life changed now that you’ve lost weight? I am able to cross my legs now – something I have never been able to do my whole life. I have always been a proud and confident person, but apparently I found out over the last year or so I was very unapproachable in grade-school and I seemed to have a chip on my shoulder. I am now friends with several people whom I assumed didn’t want to have anything to do with me simply because of my weight. I was so wrong!
9. How long have you maintained your current weight? I am still losing. I have been steadily losing at least a pound a week for a very long time.
10. What five tips do you have for other dieters?
- Educate yourself with real science!
- Watch those processed foods!
- Allow yourself to feel real hunger – it’s in your throat, not your gut.
- Cut out any sweetened or artificially-sweetened beverages.
- Move your body.