Weight Lost: 158 pounds
Hometown: Mesa, AZ
Occupation: Risk Management Program Manager
What was life like before your weight loss?
I began slowly gaining weight at the age of 18. My parents separated when I was 17 and I was stuck in the middle. I went to food for comfort. After the dust settled, I was addicted to food and I was settled into that lifestyle. Life was plain. I went to work, came home, ate, watched TV and then went to bed- day after day. I missed out on lake trips, sporting events and other activities due to my weight.
What was the main motivation behind your weight loss?
My initial motivation to lose weight came when my daughter was two and the entire family went to a pumpkin festival. There was a child's ride, similar to the Dumbo ride at Disneyland, which she really wanted to ride. As we were about to go on, I was told that there was a weight limit to the cars since they went up in the air. I alone exceeded the weight limit. My sister-in-law had to take my daughter on the ride. I was devastated.
My biggest and final motivation came when my co-worker signed up for an at-work weight loss competition. She wanted support and asked if I would join her. I refused. When she asked why, I responded: "I don't want anyone to know how much I weigh". She quickly retorted: "If it bothers you that much, shouldn't you do something about it?” That was it. I realized she was right.
Tell us a bit about your weight loss journey:
It all started with the 12 week, at-work weight loss competition. I lost nine pounds the first week and I was EXCITED! By the end of the 12 weeks, I came in second place and I lost a total of 58 pounds. Even though I came in second, I won more than anyone could have known. That competition gave me the courage, motivation, and willpower to finally take control of what had been out of control for so long. I joined SparkPeople which showed many healthy food choices including new ways to cook at home as well as possibilities for work lunches. I joined several groups that helped me with questions, concerns, or low moments and helped celebrate the high moments. SparkPeople was a CRUCIAL part of my weight loss success. I utilized the tracking tools which illustrated what I truly ate each day. I learned true portions by measuring pretty much everything. The exercise tracking tool helped me achieve my daily calorie burn and, more importantly, showed my progress. I've "met" (online) so many people who helped me mentally and physically. Being able to talk to fellow Sparkers eases your mind, knowing that someone else understands what you are going through. You have others to celebrate with and also ask questions and advice when a plateau is reached. One of my absolute favorite programs is the buddy accountability program. You have a single person that you can count on to keep you accountable to reach your goals.
Before I knew it, I had lost 100 pounds. I was on a roll! Nothing could stop me from getting to my goal. Then I learned I was pregnant with my second child. I was actually shocked and afraid. It took me more than seven years to become pregnant with my first child (due to being overweight). How could this happen? Well, my body was functioning how it should and it just happened. My pregnancy was healthy and just perfect. I took the knowledge from leading a healthy lifestyle and applied it to the pregnancy.
I finally reached losing more than half myself six months after he was born.
What is your typical exercise routine like?
I typically exercise five days a week, switching between running, biking, weight training and swimming. Weekends are spent with my family and we’re pretty active. We enjoy going to the Phoenix Zoo, swimming in our pool and bike rides.
In what ways have your eating habits changed?
Before, my husband and I would typically eat fast food all of the time- sometimes for every meal of the day! I loved soda as well. Today, my diet consists of lean meats, lots of fresh fruits and veggies, unsweetened iced tea and water.
What advice would you give to someone either just beginning or hitting a rough patch in their weight loss journey?
Here are my “Top Ten Tips” for others who would like to achieve weight loss success:
1. Slow and steady wins the race.
2. Don't think of food as a way to feed your body but to fuel your body.
3. Log your food including condiments, butters, oils and drinks. The only way to gauge how you are doing is logging.
4. Don't obsess with the scale. Gauge how you are doing two ways: how your clothes fit and your overall well-being.
5. An apple a day, at minimum, is a fast and easy snack and keeps you full until the next meal.
6. Get up and move at least 10 minutes per day: garden, go for a walk, climb stairs, etc.
7. Even the busiest person can find time for exercise, sometimes creativity is called for! Take your exercise clothes to work and go for a walk, jog or run. (This is my biggest secret to success)
8. Take an hour on Sunday to prepare food for the week. For example, cut up greens and veggies for salad, measure veggies into baggies or plastic containers. Failure to plan is a plan to fail. Nutrition is key to your weight loss success.
9. If you work in an office, here are some tricks to fit in additional calorie burn: take the stairs versus the elevator, walk over and speak personally with a co-worker rather than phone or email, park further out, organize a walking group - meet on breaks and take a stroll, get up once in a while and stretch.
10. Most importantly, love yourself and be positive. Take each day as it comes. If you have a "bad" day, move on to the next!
How has your life changed since losing weight and improving your health?
Today, I'm trimming and toning and working on weight loss maintenance. Everything in my life is 110% better. I can think clearer which has improved my work abilities. I've excelled at my job since I have gained confidence. I've ran in two half marathons and taken up biking. My husband and I share a passion for running and biking. We couldn't be a closer couple. I feel like a trillion bucks!
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