The Power to Change
Even as a young child, Nightraine always dreamed of being at a healthy weight, but growing up within an obese family she was never taught proper eating habits. In her late teens she realized that she had the power to change these unhealthy habits, and has since lost 70lbs by eating balanced meals and incorporating physical 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've been overweight all my life, and I remember even as a young girl every year for my birthday, instead of wishing for a Barbie playhouse or a pony when I blew out my birthday candles, I wished to be thin. In the Freshman year of high school when I went for my physical, my doctor came in and talked to me about my weight, which had sky-rocketed to nearly 200 lbs. Even though I didn't do much about it that year, that coming school year I was determined to become healthier, especially after realizing during soccer's "hell week" that I could barely run a half mile, let alone the 2 miles we had to run twice a day. That's when I had the realization that I had the power to change who I was.
2. What other "diets" (programs, products, plans, or services) had you tried in the past?
My mother has been on and off Weight Watchers for as long as I can remember. When I was 9 or 10 I went on it and lost 20 lbs, only to gain it back and more.
3. What changes did you make to your usual diet, activity, lifestyle, and attitude?
The first and most important part for me was simply the change in my mindset. For all my child-life, I thought that I could just wish my weight away. I never took the steps to eat healthy foods, because, coming from a nearly completely overweight to morbidly obese family (with the only healthy ones at the moment being a 9 year old and a 5 year old), I was never really taught how to eat healthily. I was always encouraged to eat more. If you didn't eat 2 plates full of food, it was an insult.
During my sophomore year in high school, I started playing soccer again, where at least during "hell week" we had to run 2 miles twice a day. I tried to keep up my activity level from that for the rest of the year. I also started slow with my diet changes, by simply trying to eat slower and resisting the urge to eat more than one serving of food. It was definitely hard at first, but it really paid off because I started to enjoy my food more.
This part isn't for everyone, but that May I made a huge change: I gave up meat. It was for a number of reasons, but one of the most important reasons for me was for the fact that if I stopped eating meat, I'd cut down on the fried and fast foods, which really did consume a lot of my eating habits. It also helped me to break away from my family's unhealthy eating by making my own healthier foods and measuring out only what I needed. I never seriously counted calories until recently, but from the beginning of sophomore year to the end of sophomore year, I ended up losing my first 35 lbs.
4. How did Calorie Count help you to lose weight?
Calorie Count is so helpful with figuring the calories of foods and also how much I burn when I go on runs. I also love the support you get from the forums. Whenever I have a question or concern, someone is always there for support and advice, and I love the community we have here.
5. What was most challenging about losing weight?
It was definitely all the times I've been perpetually caught on a plateau. They're always so frustrating, and it feels like no matter what you do, you can never get off of it!
6. How long did it take you to see results?
I couldn't even say. I don't think it was until last summer when people really started to comment on how much weight I lost. I got comments from people I had rarely talked to saying how great I looked. I think it took others' comments to really start seeing it for myself.
7. When did you realize that you were a success?
It was a combination of two recent events. First, after prom was over and all the pictures were up and circulating around Facebook (what can I say, I'm a teenager!), I looked at pictures that were of my friends and I, and I noticed that from the side I looked slimmer than one of my thinner friends!
Second, I've had to buy jeans for college recently, as all of mine were too big on me. I've worn a size 13 ever since I started wearing jeans, and even though I was wearing a size 10/11 at the time, I didn't think I could fit into anything much smaller. For giggles, I decided to try on 8's, and they fit! So I bought those. However, when I went home and wore them around one day, I realized they were loose. I went to the mall with my friend the following week to *possibly* exchange them for 6's, which I figured I'd try on for more giggles. However, when I tried them on, I realized... they fit perfectly! I was officially not what I thought were "bigger" sizes and instead something that was acceptable for a teen girl!
8. How do you prevent relapse?
I don't really keep pictures of myself from my bigger days, but I do keep a pair or two of my size 13 or 15 jeans around in case I need a little nudge in the right direction. I mostly use my memories of feeling yucky and undesirable to keep me from relapse. Although I may gain a few pounds from indulging a little too much, I have to say that I freak out too much over a few pounds to ever gain 70 more. Why would I ever want to go back to big and unhappy anyway?
9. How has your life changed now that you've lost weight?
Although I have a long way to go in the ways of self-confidence, I've really gained a lot of self esteem and am so much happier than I used to be. I'm so much more comfortable in my own skin.
10. What five tips do you have for other dieters?
- Start slow. Nothing's worse than being overwhelmed and quitting!
- Don't be too hard on yourself. We all have our off days, or weeks,
but that doesn't mean we're failures or that we're not strong enough.
Just pick yourself up and learn from your mistakes.
- Love yourself first. I've been in contact with so many young women
who hate themselves and try hard to lose weight, only to spiral into
eating disorders. In order to be truly successful, we need to love
ourselves first and know we're all worth a healthy, gradual, and
- Keep track of your fiber! Don't forget the other essential
vitamins and minerals, but fiber is your best friend if you're looking
to lose weight. It makes you feel fuller for a longer period of time,
and it also slows down the fat and sugar absorption process, which
helps to stop the accumulation of body fat.
- Weighing isn't the only way to document your progress. Although I
weigh very often, many people I know use measuring tape to take their
measurements, which could be much more beneficial, as instead of just
looking at a number, you're actually watching your body getting
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