Beaming With Confidence
Long term Calorie Count Member Elfkittie22 has lost 87lbs and is thrilled with her new figure. She tells us that the key to her success was changing her attitude, removing unhealthy foods from her diet such as alcohol and incorporating exercise.
She contacted us through our Share Your Story feature and provided the following answers to our questionnaire.
1. What made you decide to lose weight this time?
I was a senior in college finishing up some requirements to graduate. At my school, two physical education classes are required. I decided to sign up for weight lifting and SCUBA. I thought that since I had to go lift weights 3 times per week anyway for class, I'd try counting calories as well "just to see what happened." I was also really tired of feeling bad about myself, and was starting to experience joint problems even though I was only 21 years old.
2. What other "diets" (programs, products, plans, or services) had you tried in the past?
I have been a member of Calorie Count for many years, so I have tried calorie counting (though not religiously) in addition to slim fast, Weight Watchers, Slimquick, extreme calorie reduction and detox diets.
3. What changes did you make to your usual diet, activity, lifestyle, and attitude?
I began very slowly with the changes. I didn't do any other exercise at first besides my weight lifting and SCUBA classes, but I began by simply counting calories. The first day I entered everything into Calorie Count I was amazed to see how much I was actually eating!
After that I gradually made other changes like adding some light walking, quitting drinking alcohol except for special occasions and limiting eating out to a maximum of 3 meals per week.
After I dropped the first 50 or so pounds I started doing the Couch to 5k running program. At first, I could barely handle one minute of running at a time. I huffed and puffed and struggled my way through each run.
The most important change that I made, and the reason I think I was successful at losing weight this time was my attitude. I was much more relaxed about things and less rigid in my food choices, which made it much easier to stick to. This helped me make sensible decisions, but still enjoy my life and the food I eat.
4. How did Calorie Count help you to lose weight?
I would never have been able to do this without Calorie Count. It has proved invaluable for me. I use it to look up and create recipes, see how many calories are in restaurant food before I go out, keep track of my daily calories in and calories out, and of course talk with other members who have become my friends.
The forums are an incredible tool and have been such a help. I can always ask a question or get some support if I am struggling with something, or I can give others advice in something I have been through. I spend most of my time on the thread "Girls in their 20's who want to lose about 100 pounds" in the motivation forum. Having people you are accountable to really helps you push through hard days.
5. What was most challenging about losing weight?
The plateaus! As I have gotten closer to my goal weight, I have been losing slower and slower, and sometimes I won't lose any weight for a month or more. It has taken me 6 months to lose 10 more pounds! It can be really frustrating and disheartening to make healthy choices, yet not see results on the scale. Sometimes it felt almost impossible to stay positive and keep exercising and counting calories.
Plateaus have taught me that I need to keep a variety going in my eating and exercise, and have proved to me that I will be able to maintain my weight once I am at goal. They are both a blessing and a curse!
6. How long did it take you to see results?
I lost about six pounds in my first month, but I also did measurements and discovered that I had lost almost 6 inches in the first month as well. People really started to notice when I had lost about 15-25 pounds.
Taking down my measurements and keeping track of them in my calorie count journal has also really helped me to visualize my results. I was amazed to discover that I have lost 10 inches in my hips, waist and chest since I began losing weight.
7. When did you realize that you were a success?
A pivotal moment for me was when I was at the gym and someone left out their dumbbells without putting them away. To be nice, I started moving them back where they belonged. I was struggling and out of breath by the end, when I realized that the dumbbell I had been lifting weighed 45 pounds, which was how much I had lost at that time. I was shocked. I could barely lift that much weight, and I had been carrying it around on my body for years! No wonder I was having joint pain and getting out of breath.
I realized I was a complete success when people began telling me that I inspired them and asking me for advice on how to lose their own weight. This has been both strange and exciting for me, and I take it as a huge compliment when I can inspire others. It really makes me feel good, and happy that I can help other people.
8. How do you prevent relapse?
I keep my pair of jeans that I wore at 255 pounds and try them on occasionally. It is a huge eye opener to see how big those jeans really are and how much my body has changed. It reminds me of how far I've come and helps me put things in perspective.
I also keep logging! I only take a day off occasionally for special occasions; otherwise I am diligent about it!
9. How has your life changed now that you've lost weight?
My life has done a complete 180. My joint pain has disappeared, I can now run 25 minutes at a time, climb stairs without having to take a break and my confidence has gone through the roof.
I now call myself a runner, which is still strange to me since I have always hated running. I am still working on my speed, but I really do love getting out and hitting the pavement. I love various types of exercise including: weight lifting, swimming, tae bo, dancing and of course running. Getting out and moving really makes me feel great. I am finally comfortable in my own skin, and I am much more outgoing than I used to be. I love having my picture taken; I get flirted with by strangers at the grocery store and I feel awesome about myself! I am not worried about dancing in public and I actually like getting dolled up now! I have really come a long way. Along with the 87 pounds I have lost so far, I have also shed many of my insecurities.
10. What five tips do you have for other dieters?
- Use measuring cups and smaller plates, bowls and eating utensils. I have really become aware of my portion sizes, and measuring cups are the best way for me to really know how much I'm eating. A smaller fork or spoon helps me eat slower, and clearing a smaller plate makes me feel more satisfied without eating as much.
- Give yourself a bit of tough love and STOP making excuses! This is something I really embraced, because excuses are what caused me to put on 100 pounds of excess weight. Excuses only stand in the way of what you can achieve.
- Find a workout you enjoy! If you are having a blast, then it doesn't feel like "exercise." Go biking with friends, play with the dog or go dancing! Whatever gets you moving. It is so much easier to stick with an exercise if you like doing it.
- Don't beat yourself up if you mess up one day. In the grand scheme of things, one day doesn't mean much. One day of overeating or missing the gym will NOT cause the end of the world, and will not cause you to put all your weight back on. This is real life people, and no one is perfect! Take your oopsie day with a grain of salt and move on.
- Cut out alcohol. This one was a big challenge for me, because let's face it, drinking is fun. I realized, however, that it isn't worth it. Alcohol is empty calories that alters your ability to control yourself. For me, this resulted in late night fast food binges and an upset stomach the next day. I am not saying stop drinking completely, but bring it down to a "once in a while" thing instead of say nightly or even weekly. I only drink 2-3 nights per month and can have a perfectly awesome time with no alcohol!
If you would like us to feature your success story, you can submit it here. The most insightful stories will be featured on this blog and in the weekly "Success Stories" newsletter.