I was always “chunky” as a child and in high school but I gained over 100 pounds after high school and upon moving out of my parents’ house. We rarely had snacks and pop in the house growing up so when I moved out it was like a free-for-all. I was drinking pop all of the time, buying whatever junk food I wanted, and my meals were either college cafeteria food, frozen, or boxed. Once I started working full time the college cafeteria food turned into fast food. It was not uncommon to eat out 2-3 meals a day.
HOW DID YOUR WEIGHT AFFECT ANY ASPECT(S) OF YOUR LIFE? Being 283 pounds I was very self conscious. I hid in big, baggy clothes. I hated shopping and I hated being out with “skinny” friends and family.
WHAT WAS THE “TURNING POINT” THAT GOT YOU STARTED ON YOUR WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY? I went to my primary care doctor because of a health scare. I was so sure I had high blood pressure. I mean I was 283 pounds, having frequent headaches, and a family history of HBP. Fortunately I had a clean bill of health…but I knew it was only a matter of time before my weight caught up with me.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED? On that same visit I spoke to my doctor about bariatric surgery. He was willing to refer me to the best bariatric surgeon in the county but said to me “I think you can do this on your own.” I think that was all I needed to hear. I started counting calories and doing light workouts. I stopped eating fast food. I generally made better decisions on what I was eating.
HOW LONG AFTER YOU STARTED DID YOU BEGIN TO SEE RESULTS OF YOUR WEIGHT LOSS EFFORTS? Once I started working with my coach the weight came off pretty quickly so I would say I could physically see changes in the first 2-3 months. My clothes were getting too big and others were noticing the change also.
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST PART? My biggest challenge was having to unlearn all of the bad habits I had picked up along the way and learn to be consistent. Confidence was another barrier…mostly in the gym. I had no problem being there and enjoyed working out but always felt as though everyone was watching me. I would hide in the studio to workout where nobody could see me.
DID YOU EVER WANT TO GIVE UP? WHAT KEPT YOU GOING? I am fortunate to have an amazing support system. Never once did I feel like I couldn’t do it or anyone was doubting me. I was seeing results and that lit a fire in me. It brought a competitiveness in me that I didn’t know existed. I was also motivating others which helps keep me motivated.
DID YOU HIT ANY WEIGHT LOSS PLATEAUS? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM? If ever I am stuck my coach and I will sit down, go over my eating and activity for the recent weeks and try to figure out what’s going on. We assess, make a new plan and put it into action.
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO LOSE MOST OF THE WEIGHT? While I have been up and down trying to lose weight for a few years the biggest part of my journey was about 2 years (after I started working with my coach). I lost the most weight in that time and have been consistent and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
DID YOU HAVE ANY NON-SCALE VICTORIES? I have completed an 8k and a 10k. I have completed mud run obstacle courses and zip line courses. I have hiked a mountain in Hawaii. I was able to carry 70 lb sand bags. My strength and balance have improved tremendously. These are just a few.
WHAT DOES YOUR DAILY DIET LOOK LIKE COMPARED TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER? I ate out a lot. Sometimes 3 meals a day. Even if I did not eat out I had no concept of the nutritional value of my meal. I didn’t pay attention to portion sizes. I ate until I was stuffed. I snacked whenever I felt like it. I would stop at the gas station on my way home from work at least a few times a week and pick up a bag of chips and a bottle of pop.
HOW DOES YOUR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY COMPARE TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER? Prior to my weight loss journey I did not participate in any sort of physical activity. When I first started working out I would mostly do cardio – treadmill, elliptical, bike – and add some weight machines in there. Since working with my coach my workouts have changed. I focus more on weight training – free weights now mostly vs the machines. Cardio and conditioning are often built into my workouts but my cardio days are much more intense now than those of the past. Example: treadmill interval sprints now vs 20 minutes walking before.
MY WEIGHT LOSS TIPS & TRICKS
- Take progress pictures – just because the scale isn’t moving a whole lot doesn’t mean your body isn’t changing
- Only weigh yourself once a week.
- Learn how to properly fuel your body. Don’t fall into every fad diet you hear about.
- Be consistent
- Be strong. You can do this.