My Healthier Lifestyle
Runner517 had been overweight since a very young age. After the passing of close family members, learning that her father was diagnosed with type 2 Diabetes and a mother who had a pulmonary embolism she realized that life and health are not guaranteed. She has successfully lost 135lbs over the past two years. What an incredible transformation!
She contacted us through our Share Your Story feature, and provided the following answers to our questionnaire.
1. What prompted you to begin this weight loss journey? Did you have an "Aha!" moment?
It was a combo of things. First off, I had been a large child, large adolescent and a large young adult... so it's not something I never aspired to do -- I had a lot of failed attempts in the past. It really came to a head when I had three grandparents pass away within a year, my father was diagnosed with type II diabetes and my mother had a pulmonary embolism. I knew it was time. Plus, I had the perfect situation all into my lap: I was accepted into the dental hygiene program at the university I attended and I really needed to live near campus. I decided I wanted to live alone, as I have had enough of sharing rooms with 3 other siblings. I was able to control everything that came into my apartment.
2. What other "diets" (programs, products, plans, or services) had you tried in the past?
You name it, I tried it and never kept to it because I was trying for a quick fix.
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?
Math, that's how. When I started, I counted every calorie and took mental stock of the calories I burned when on cardio machines at the gym. It was all a matter of energy in-energy out. But that was at first. I really wanted this to become a lifestyle and I knew that I had to go beyond the prepackaged "diet" foods. So, I bought The New American Heart Association Cookbook and logged onto websites with healthy recipes--In other words, I taught myself to cook! That has really been the cornerstone of maintaining.
I cut down heavily on processed foods. I bought tons of fruits and vegetables, lean meats and whole grains - everything was low cal, low/no fat, low sodium.
Of course, my activity increased by 100%. I had no excuses not to get moving since I had the school gym staring me in the face every day. I did 30-45min cardio 3-4x a week with different area focused exercises. I also participated in any fitness class that was free, considering I could fit it into my crazy schedule. I also started "fitness walking" at a park near my apartment.
Along with teaching myself how to cook, I also, then and now, prepare meals ahead of time or have one or two days that I cook a mass quantity of meals so they would be on hand when needed. "Fail to plan, plan to fail!"
4. Please describe how Calorie Count was instrumental to your weight loss.
Calorie Count was always available when a label on a food wasn't. It really helped me portion my meals.
5. What difficulties did you experience losing weight?
My hormones where in full swing! I often cried because I felt like what I was going through was so tough (not just with the weight loss, but with school and living on my own). I often wanted to "cheat", but luckily I always planned ahead.
6. How long did it take you to see results? When did you realize that you were a success?
My journey started on July 15, 2010 at around 260lbs. Results couldn't ever come fast enough. I kept away from the scale because I didn't want to become obsessed. I tracked a lot of my progress by the way my clothes fit and by the way I felt. I
reached my goal of being between 130-140lbs by April 2011.
Remember that "fitness walking" I mentioned? Well, it turned into running! And I ran my very first race, which was a half marathon, in September of 2011 (a little over a year after starting my weight loss journey). I still get emotional about it. I reached my goal of finishing in under 2hrs. I knew then and I know now that I can do anything I set my mind to!
7. How do you prevent relapse?
I planned ahead. I also never gave myself a "pass" or "cheat day". Since I'm not an animal, I never rewarded myself with food. I took a different path and rewarded myself with an item of clothing- a new shirt or pants. Sometimes I'd need to go buy a few new items because the previous were falling off me. I believe I had pants in about every size.
I stayed away from the social eating scene. I would every once in a while, but never more than twice a month without solid and regular workouts.
8. How has your life changed now that you've lost weight?
Gosh... so many things and in so many ways. I mean, I did lose a 135lbs person. Her spirit is still with me, but I am not the same woman I was before. I am much more assertive in nature. I am the poster child of a "go-getter".
Yes, I do have more attention than before. But, I try not to let that distract me. I try to keep centered on myself and my needs first and foremost. My body is not perfect, as I deal with excess skin. It's a haunting factor and a constant reminder of where I used to be. However, I feel and look amazing in my clothes.
9. How long have you maintained your current weight?
I maintained being between 130-140lbs for year. Right now I weigh about 125-130lbs. I do not plan on that number ever going up again.
10. What five tips do you have for other dieters?
- Learn to cook.
- Energy in - Energy out
- It has to be a lifestyle change or it will never last!
- "Fail to plan, plan to fail"
- Love yourself, because you are truly amazing!
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.