Name: Nichole WickensHeight: 5' 5"Starting Weight: 186 lbs.Current Weight: 145 lbs.Pounds Lost: 41 lbs.How long did it take you to lose the weight: 5 months
Lightbulb Moment: I quit smoking in November of 2013. I was already over weight and extremely unhealthy thanks to smoking. I used food as a way to overcome my cigarette addiction. Around my 26th birthday in February 2014 I noticed that there were stretch marks on my stomach from weight gain. I stepped on a scale and was shocked. I had put on around 25 pounds in 3 months.
How did you do it? About a month later, in March of 2014, I joined Weight Watchers. I was hesitant at first because I had misconceptions that it was for older women, or women with bigger weight problems than mine. I was relieved to see that I was accepted and encouraged in the meetings. The app was a huge life saver and I considered 'dieting' as a big math problem. I like math so this made sense to me.
As for how I did it, mostly I started cooking. I never used to cook before and would usually eat out either at fast food restaurants or bar food at my job. So for me the first step was to start cooking my own meals. I didn’t have an oven at the time, as I lived in an efficiency, so I had to get really creative with a hot plate. The best part about Weight Watchers was the mobile app. Being able to record what I ate with the convenience of my cell phone made it a breeze. I was able to save favorites that I used a lot to make tracking easier - such as grilled chicken, English muffins, or jelly. Another part of the application is the bar code scanner. This made shopping for groceries easy. I could quickly compare one product with another simply by scanning the bar code, and having it tell me the points value. Using this application I was able to develop find brands that worked for me. The meetings gave me encouragement. I was excited to share my success with the women in my group. Getting awards for small increments such as 5 pounds, 10% and 25 pounds kept me motivated and determined to succeed. I carry my 25 pound key chain with me everywhere.
As for the cooking. I was never a very good cook before this. I started simple. Other people on their weight loss journey gave me the tip to stick to the perimeter of the grocery store. That is where you find the produce, meats, and dairy that make up a healthy diet. I quickly discovered my favorite produce such as red onions, sugar snap peas, red pears, and pineapples. But I would try to switch it up too. Every time I went grocery shopping I would pick something I had never tried before. This is how I discovered pomegranates, although a pain to prepare, worth it in the end. I also discovered water chestnuts and bamboo shoots. I would combine these with some chicken, snap peas, and a little teriyaki dressing. This is usually my go to meal. It reminded me a lot of Chinese food, but without the rice. Even many month later I still try and mix it up. This last week I started working with potatoes. I cut up two sweet potatoes, used a little eggs whites to coat, then used some salt and pepper for flavor. I then baked it at 500 degrees for 22 minutes. This tastes way better than any fast food fries I’ve ever had and it’s only 7 points. I recently moved and I now have an oven in my new apartment. This opened up a lot more possibilities for me in regards to cooking. They way I lost the weight is that I had fun with it. I experimented and tried new things. Cooking is now one of my favorite hobbies.
What was the biggest challenge you faced? How did you overcome it? During the month of August 2014 I moved from Michigan to California to pursue my dreams. I visited many areas and finally got to go on my cross country trip that I've always wanted. Being on the road while trying to eat healthy is difficult. However I am happy to say that after four weeks of traveling, two going away parties, and 1 wedding, I lost 3 lbs!!!!
What was the single thing that helped you most along the way, especially when things got tough? My mom. She encouraged me to join Weight Watchers in the first place and was with me when I moved cross country. She even agreed to join Weight Watchers with me so I wouldn't be alone in my dieting travels.
How has your life changed since losing the weight? I used to eat McDonalds every day and I haven't touched it once since starting this journey. I have way more energy and am in general just a happier person.
Exercise routine: I chose to not have a car in California to encourage me to try and get around by walking and biking only. Additionally, I have fallen in love with running and yoga, especially hot yoga :D
Favorite breakfast: Bagel thins, laughing cow cream cheese, and grapes
Favorite sweet snack: Fiber one brownies or oatmeal squares. I am also addicted to pineapples and pomegranates
Favorite dinner: I created a hashtag on instagram called #diystirfry. My first experience with eating healthy was with stirfrys since I lived in an efficiency with no oven and only a hotplate to work with. I would combine 2-3 vegetables or fruits, 1 protein, and either a low fat cheese or a low fat sauce. There are a million things you can make with this combination.
Favorite healthy restaurant or fast food find: Applebee's saved my life on my road trip. They are Weight Watchers friendly but even if your aren't a WW follower they have at least 4 low calorie dinner options to choose from including steak. Yum!!!!
Advice for someone just starting: You will be surprised how easy it is at the beginning, then by about week four your be ready to throw your hands in the air and give up. Don't! Set backs are part of the process. Don't beat yourself up too much for a bad day or week. Just keep remembering that every week, day, hour, minute, is a fresh start.
Anything else that you would like to share: My healthy lifestyle journey really started two years ago when I got into hula hooping. My tag is diddntuno. you can use this to find me on Instagram, Twitter, ebay, and Youtube. Happy Hooping!
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