You Can Accomplish Anything!
The title is one tip that our this week's featured member, Carlymariex would like to share with you. Her story is very inspirational as she’s a teenager who realized she had the power to change her unhealthy eating habits by eating balanced meals and incorporating physical exercise. She has since lost 38lbs.
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?
I was of average size in middle school and even in the beginning of my freshman year of high school, but around Christmas of 2008 I just began eating what I wanted because I figured that I had a good metabolism. In June of 2009, I was getting ready for a horse show after not doing one for some time. I was rushing to get on my horse, and had to put on my show jacket. Before that, I had not tried it on - and I had gained nearly 40 pounds in a little over a year. My mom had to help me button the jacket, which was so hard - it was like squeezing me through a straw, and it just wouldn't button! The same applied to my blouse, which was a size 8. As she was buttoning the jacket, my mom said to me, "Please watch it, I'm worried about you". That just really struck me. And the fact that horse show attire is very expensive further motivated me to fit back into my old clothes!
2. What other "diets" (programs, products, plans, or services) had you tried in the past?
I really just did it on my own - my father offered to bring me to the gym (his way of getting me to lose weight. Sneaky!) I changed my eating habits and I joined a website geared towards Teens. Halfway through my weight-loss journey I joined Calorie Count.
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?
As a teenager, it was exceedingly difficult for me to commit to a healthy lifestyle at first, but I had to do it. I began laying off starches, breads and sugars (big staples of my then-diet) then I started eating more fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains. I also tried to go to the gym every week, beginning at 2 times a week and gradually increasing that number to nearly 5 times. I made a promise to myself that I was not going to continue being the fat girl, as I wanted my old body back so desperately. I also started counting calories. When my friends slept in on weekends, I was already at the gym, hitting up the cardio machines. When my family went to the ice cream stand, I got an Italian ice. Simple changes like that really were what lead me to success.
4. Please describe how Calorie Count was instrumental to your weight loss.
I didn't join CC until after I completed my weight loss and began maintaining, but I would always Google specific questions about weight loss, and the first site that would pop up would be CC! The boards and members on here mentioned such helpful advice, and I found out that a lot of other people were going through what I did. Not to mention, they had the nutrition information for nearly everything - even Chinese food!
5. What difficulties did you experience losing weight?
My family was supportive, but because my sister and father aren't the healthiest, most active people, their attitudes and actions always tempted me to give in. That said, there was always junk food in the house. By working on my willpower and uncovering my love for baking healthy desserts and cooking, I was able to dodge that challenge. Also, weight loss as a busy high-schooler is very difficult. I'd come home from school wiped, just wanting to watch television and surf Facebook, but I knew that I had to go to the gym. And there were so many times in which I'd be limited on time, so I'd study for the following morning's test on the elliptical machine, or read my textbooks on the treadmill. By fitting exercise into my schedule, it was a way for me to relieve stress but get studying done at the same time.
6. How long did it take you to see results? When did you realize that you were a success?
After about a month or so, my mom began commenting on how much more toned I looked since starting up at the gym. Then, not long after that, my clothes began feeling looser and looser. That was all the motivation that I needed to continue. After awhile, more and more people commented on my loss - from my grandparents to even the owner of my gym! When I hit my ultimate goal weight of 135 in April 2011, it all seemed so surreal to me.
7. How do you prevent relapse?
Moderation is definitely my secret weapon. I eat what I like, but I always fit it into my calorie budget for the day (yep, I'm hooked on calorie counting). I realized that it is very hard to only limit yourself to only one "treat" once a week or so when you're out with friends a lot. I'm also an avid gym-goer. I relieve stress at the gym, which I love. Both of those things as well as continuing my healthy new lifestyle are the foundation of my maintaining plan.
8. How has your life changed now that you've lost weight?
Everything, from my horseback riding performance to my social life has changed dramatically. I'm so confident, and I'm actually in the best shape that I've ever been in my life. I'm slimmer than I was before I gained weight, and healthier, too. I have so much more energy and drive. I'm not embarrassed to speak up and talk to someone new because I'm afraid of how they'll perceive me because I'm fat. My favorite thing to do is to wear an outfit that makes me feel incredibly confident in my new body.
9. How long have you maintained your current weight?
I've maintained my current weight for about four months now. I'm still trying to fully change from weight-loss mode to maintenance. It was scary for me to increase my calories and lay off the intense cardio at the gym, but I have realized that it's working for my body. Now, my goal is to gain some more muscle to further work on that lean, muscular frame.
10. What five tips do you have for other dieters?
- Everyone asks me exactly what they should do in order to succeed, but I realized that many of the problems that people face don't have to do with other people trying to tempt you - it's yourself. That said, you need to work on your willpower and confidence FIRST. Without those two, weight-loss is impossible.
- A strong support system is also great, whether that is a circle of buddies on CC that have the same goals as you or even your own mom. You have to realize that weight loss is a mind-over-matter deal. You have to do what is best for your body, not your cravings, even if you think that the better option may be tastier. That also includes working out even when you feel like doing anything but.
- One of the biggest things I found was to not compare yourself to others. I used to be the biggest of all of my friends, and even though it motivated me to lose the weight at first, as I became slimmer I began comparing their bodies to my own, which decreased my confidence. Everyone is different.
- You just can't expect to look like someone else because their body seems so much better. You have to have faith in yourself. You can accomplish ANYTHING. By keeping faith, willpower and confidence close by, you will feel incredible - the weight loss will follow.
- Plan out days for weighing yourself, taking off from working out (recovery day), and a day in which you'll have a special "treat." For example, I usually weigh myself on Sundays, rest on Fridays because I'm usually out with my friends, I usually splurge on Fridays as well. If you have a set schedule in place, you won't forget the last time you did any of those things. It is also nice to be organized (and to have a set recovery day every week that you can look forward to!
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.
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