I started to become a little overweight when I hit puberty. I would have been considered chunky through most of Jr High school. I was teased, and called “Buddha”, but the funny thing was that I still ran with the “popular” crowd, I was always playing sports, and was even a cheerleader. I never felt comfortable in my own skin though.
NAME : DarShanna
BEFORE WEIGHT : 232
AFTER WEIGHT : 182
POUNDS LOST : 50
So, I lost 35 pounds during the summer betweeen Jr High and High school, and people’s perceptions of me started changing. But inside, I was still that chubby little girl. I started running during high school, and that helped me to keep the weight off. It was important to me to not be overweight again.
HOW DID YOUR WEIGHT AFFECT ANY ASPECT(S) OF YOUR LIFE? I was always fit through most of my 20’s. I gained a significant amount of weight with my first two pregnancies, but it fell off fairly quickly. Anything weight related made me uncomfortable. I look back now and can’t believe how much I let my insecurities get the best of me.
Once I was in my thirties, and had mantained a healthy weight for several years, I started to gain my confidence. I ran several 5k and 10k races a year and even trained for, and finished, a marathon! Then into my forties, I felt fantastic, until my first disc rupture.
Over the next 8 years I ruptured 2 more discs and suffered tremendous nerve damage in my left leg, stemming from my back. I ended up in “pain therapy” to learn how to cope with chronic pain with medication for the rest of my life. Then depression set in. So now I was depressed, in my late forties, dealing with hormonal issues, and having many physical limitations (absolutely NO running) – it was the Perfect Storm for weight gain!!
WHAT WAS THE “TURNING POINT” THAT GOT YOU STARTED ON YOUR WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY? Not that I was at my peak prior, but over the 2014 holidays, my clothes were getting tighter and tighter. I had inhaled several bags of Peanut Butter M & M’s as well as all the other goodies that the holiday season brings. After Christmas, I decided that I should probably get on the scale to see where I was at. I could not believe the number I was looking at.
232.lbs!! That was more than I weighed during any of my pregnancies! I decided right then that this lifestyle was not working for me anymore. Pain or no pain, it was time for me to take back my life! With my fiftieth birthday looking straight at me I knew that I could not continue down this road filled with processed foods and too much wine!
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED? With the help of a friend, in January 2015 I found a nutrition and lifestyle program that interested me. It taught me portion control, community accountability, and group achievement. I started doing the Insanity Max:30 exercise program and stayed with it for the full 60 days. I followed that up with the 21 Day Fix Extreme. It should be noted that I followed the modifier for both of these programs because of my back.
HOW LONG AFTER YOU STARTED DID YOU BEGIN TO SEE RESULTS OF YOUR WEIGHT LOSS EFFORTS? I started losing weight fast. I am tall (5’10”), so I can hold a lot of weight before I can notice much of a difference, but after only 30 days I was down 19.5 pounds! My pants were baggy, my undergarments were way too big, and my shirts felt more billowy. After 60 days I had lost a total of 35 pounds.
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST PART? My biggest obstacle was my medical issues. Then, I found a new surgeon who said he could actually fix my back. He attributed most of my disc ruptures to untreated scoliosis. With surgery scheduled for late March, I exercised until then with reckless abandon. There was nothing I could do to my back that wouldn’t be fixed eventually!
DID YOU EVER WANT TO GIVE UP? WHAT KEPT YOU GOING? I have never wanted to give up! I have put myself out there to all my friends and family, because I do NOT want to go back to being that sad heavy woman who was in a tremendous amount of pain both mentally and physically.
Even after surgery, when I was in bed for 4 straight weeks, I was committed to my nutrition regimine. I lost 10 pounds while I was stuck in bed!
Now that I am three months post surgery, my “unfixable” pain is almost completely gone. I am off narcotic pain medication, and life just keeps getting better!
DID YOU HIT ANY WEIGHT LOSS PLATEAUS? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM? I have been on a plateau for the last month. I’m not sure you would even call it a plateau – I have gained back 6 pounds. Too many parties and special occasions and not enough attention to my diet and health. I have recommitted in July to not only getting back on my own path, but I am bringing my daughter with me.
With all of my bad eating, I had set a bad example, and my daughter is the spitting image of what I looked like in December. I am committed to making sure she gets to where she wants to be, and I will be with her every step of the way. Life is too important – SHE is too important!
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO LOSE MOST OF THE WEIGHT? I lost 50 pounds between January 5, 2015 and June 1 2015, so roughly 6 months.
DID YOU HAVE ANY NON-SCALE VICTORIES? I dropped 3 clothing sizes, which was amazing. I am not afraid of being photographed anymore. And best of all, I can wear a bikini and feel fantastic! I also have a very tight core, which is so important for anyone who has ever had back issues.
WHAT DOES YOUR DAILY DIET LOOK LIKE COMPARED TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER? I try to eat only clean non-processed foods. I am very strict on portion sizes. I don’t like to eat out as much, and I drink very little wine. I shop the perimeter of the store (meats, vegetables, dairy). I also find myself reconfiguring my favorite recipes into guilt free meals.
HOW DOES YOUR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY COMPARE TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER? I am back to my pre-surgery exercises. I love the 21 Day Fix and Fix Extreme programs and I still do Insanity Max:30 – always with the modifier for now. My bones won’t be 100% stable until the end of September. After that, the world is my oyster! I will start running as soon as I get that thumbs up, and I will immediately start training for a 5K race in December.
MY WEIGHT LOSS TIPS & TRICKS
- Find a partner or a community. Any kind of dramatic weight loss is always easier when you have someone to go through that journey with. Find someone who will keep you accountable. It is so much easier to convince ourself that we don’t need to workout today, or that it’s okay to have just one more cookie. It is harder to do that when you have others around you that you are accountable to. And believe it or not, they are watching more than you know!
- Find an exercise that you like to do, and do it for at least 30 minutes a day. This could be walking, running, hiking, swimming, dancing, tennis – the possibilities are really endless. The most important thing is that it is something you like. If you like to do it, you are more likely to actually DO IT!
- Remember that there are no “quick fixes”. You didn’t get to be overweight overnight, and you won’t drop the weight overnight either. Give yourself realistic goals to go after each week or month, and kill them! And don’t be afraid to reward yourself with a new shirt or pair of jeans along the way!
- The old saying “abs are made in the kitchen” is true You have to change your eating habits. You can exercise for 2 hours a day, but if you aren’t eating the right foods, and the right portions of foods, you can eat back all those calories you just burned off on about 15 minutes! A Cobb Salad at a restaurant can easily have over 1300 calories in it – there goes two hours on the treadmill! Instead try eating at home where you can control what goes into your body, and how much.
- Take “before” or “never again” pictures!! It can be so painful to see ourselves through the lens of a camera, but after a few weeks, you will be SO GLAD you did! I don’t think I ever realized how big I had become until I saw those “before” pictures. And as I inched my way down, and I got further and further away from that sad girl, the better and better I felt. Now I love the contrast of the old me to the REAL ME!