From grade school until my senior year in college, I was overweight. It seemed like I tried every diet that was available, but after dropping a few pounds, I always managed to gain back the weight I’d lost, plus more. I never participated in sports because my extra weight tired me out quickly. I usually spent my evenings eating junk food in front of the television. I became more depressed about myself with each pound I gained, and I avoided social activities with family and friends since I felt so self-conscious about my weight.
When I was 21, my father suffered a stroke. He had high blood pressure and other health problems, all results of his genetics and lifetime of unhealthful eating habits. If I did not make some serious changes in my life, I, too, would suffer from the same health problems. At 262 pounds, I was finally ready to fight the “battle of the bulge.”
I went to my first aerobics class at the university health club, and it seemed longer than any 60-minute college class I’d ever attended. I stuck with it, though, and continued going to three classes a week. After two months, I lost 10 pounds. I was excited about the weight loss but knew that in order to lose more weight and keep the weight off, I needed to change my eating habits. I began substituting fish, pasta, vegetables and fruit for high-calorie, high-fat foods like hamburgers and shakes. As the pounds came off, my self-esteem grew. My family and friends noticed the changes in me and were very supportive and impressed with my dedication. This motivated me to continue exercising and eating healthfully.
Then, when I hit a plateau, a trainer suggested I add strength training to my workout program to build muscle. At first I was reluctant because I thought I would bulk up and gain more weight, but after doing some research, I found out I was absolutely wrong. I used lighter weights and performed more repetitions, which not only sculpted my body, but also revved up my metabolism and therefore burned calories.
After I reached my goal weight, I started running. I recently completed a 10-mile race, which was something I couldn’t have done before. It was a challenge, but very exciting. Now, I have a new goal: to complete a marathon.
My weight loss was long and slow, but I knew if I wanted permanent results, they wouldn’t happen overnight. I am no longer a dieter, but a person who has adopted healthful eating and exercise habits for life.