Putting Myself First
One of the best methods for finding motivation to lose weight is to look at pictures of yourself. This is precisely what Cherylemery did and she also encourages others' to do the same. She has lost 60 lbs, acquired new self confidence and is fulfilling her dreams from her "Bucket List."
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?
Kenny Chesney's song "Don't Blink" really hit home with me and made me realize that I didn't have any more time to waste waiting for the "right time" for me to start doing what I wanted to do. First thing I had to do was work on my self-image and that my weight had to improve or I'd still be saying (and not doing) what I wanted to do in 20 years... in 30 years... lying there dying. You don't get a second life... a do-over the next time... the "soon" never comes.
2. What other "diets" (programs, products, plans, or services) had you tried in the past?
I had tried Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, starvation, calorie counting, deprivation, liquid diets, etc.
3. What changes did you make to your usual diet, activity, lifestyle, and attitude?
I ate healthier with more veggies and fruits and counted calories. I began ordering a veggie as my appetizer when I went out (which is often) and believe it or not, it sorta makes you a "celebrity" to always order a veggie as an appetizer. The waitresses would run to tell me what veggies are available for the day. I also stopped having bread as a part of a sandwich. By requesting no bread it seems to have the chefs take extra time making your "sandwich" look and taste good.
For exercise, I began walking the local boardwalk by the Chesapeake Bay. Since I had extreme pain in my hip joints and there were benches every 20 - 30 feet it allowed me to take a short breaks when needed before continuing on. I started doing a half mile 3 or 4 nights a week and ended up doing 3 to 4 miles four or more nights a week. When the time changed and it got darker and colder earlier and with no one else out walking, I joined a local gym. I had never been to a gym before so I just walked and did exercises on the available strength machines. After about four months of this I hired a Trainer. He set me up with a 2-day workout routine which I followed by myself, for several months. Then I had him set me up a new routine, did that for a couple of months, then another one... etc. I didn't want a daily trainer, as I know my own drive and how it becomes too much of a "have to" because someone else would be counting on me. I had to be able to only count on me - after all, if I didn't do it, I was only cheating myself.
I began putting myself first. I went to the gym immediately after I finished working (I work from my home so once the last client left, I left within 15 minutes). Even when walking on the boardwalk I added music and dancing - something I had forgotten I loved, it made the whole "exercising" thing a relaxing, stress reducing "escape". However, the most important change was my attitude and mindset! It's all about mindset...the letting go of the failures of the past...being positive, knowing that this isn't a diet but a life transition!
4. How did Calorie Count help you to lose weight?
Calorie Count has great insightful articles, easy calorie counting, success stories, suggested exercises and helpful advice. It's easy to access and it's a great website.
5. What was most challenging about losing weight?
Not being "convinced" that I look different than I did 18 months ago and being OK when my weight goes up a few pounds, not panicking or just throwing in the towel. Also, realizing that I won't immediately gain 20lbs back by eating a piece of cheesecake.
6. How long did it take you to see results?
I began to see a difference after losing 20lbs. I took many pictures throughout the last 18 months. Without the pictures, I wouldn't have believed I was that person in the first pictures. I whole heartily encourage you to take pictures with different angles many times over the entire journey. People don't believe it was really me 18 months ago. In actuality, I haven't lost any more weight after the first 8 months but have toned and "rearranged" my body. In fact, with the muscle replacing the fat, I have actually picked up a pound or two, only to begin working a little harder with each new workout routine.
7. When did you realize that you were a success?
People that I haven't seen for awhile often start our conversation with: "OMG, is that really you? What have you been doing? You look great!" Also, I have used Facebook to "put myself out there" so that I am - even if in my own mind - held accountable to friends and acquaintances. I have also, inadvertently, inspired others to make their own life transitions. I love it! I have inspired more than 10 people to reevaluated their life direction. I even have people come up to me in the gym to tell me that I am their hero (embarrassing!) and that I really inspire them and that they want whatever music I am dancing to... lol!
8. How do you prevent relapse?
I carry my original "before" picture with me everywhere. I don't hesitate to show other people that are struggling with their lives, not as a pat on the back for me, but to hopefully make them realize that anyone can change their mindset to reach for anything and everything they've ever wanted to do.
9. How has your life changed now that you've lost weight?
I have a "Bucket List." I've already tried snorkeling, para-sailing, riding my own motorcycle. I've gone to Cancun, Las Vegas and the Outer Banks. I smile a lot more and take many pictures of myself. I am much more confident and have definitely gotten my "sexy" back. I take more risks, act sillier and definitely enjoy my life more. I look forward to each new adventure.
10. What five tips do you have for other dieters?
- It's all a mindset. Once you really have that in place, do not doubt that you can be successful. You will be.
- Take lots of photos during your journey. You may think you will remember what you used to look like - but you really have no idea!
- Enjoy the compliments!
- Remember you don't have to reach your goal(s) to reward yourself.
- Don't Blink.
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.