How long did it take you to lose the weight? After graduating high school (2003) I starting working out at Curves and lost about 25 lb in about 6 months. I was fine with this for a while, but then really wanted to lose more. In 2006, in college, I started working out more, and counting my daily calorie intake and lost another 15-20lb. Finally, in 2010 I joined Weight Watchers after my weight fluctuating 5-10 lb. To be honest, I wasn't FULLY focused on weight loss. But 2014 was my year. I lost another 10 lb to bring me to a grand total of 55 lb lost since high school!
Lightbulb Moment: I had been overweight and uncomfortable with my appearance for most of my life. Clothes not fitting was just the norm. But, after graduating high school, my aunt asked very casually if I wanted to join Curves and start working out with her and my mom. I said yes, that sounds fun- UNTIL I learned they weigh you and take your measurements. I didn't want that to happen. But I swallowed my pride and did it. Working out was very new to me, but the atmosphere was so fun and supportive. I would wake up at 5am and be proud to be one of the first ones at Curves! It became a healthy addiction! I loved working out and seeing results- losing weight was SO new to me. I'm a nurse, and I want to portray a positive, healthy image for my patients!
How did you do it? First step was Curves. Working out was fun there, and I felt comfortable. Creating a routine of exercising (almost every day) was and is essential. I still wasn't eating the way I should. Weight Watchers has been an absolute blessing and necessity. It taught me how to eat, basically. Fruits and vegetables are now cornerstones of my diet. Counting points/calories is essential for me- I can't just "wing it." Weight Watchers meetings, counting points, and regular exercise is the only way that works for me! Weight Watchers is so flexible.
What was the biggest challenge you faced? How did you overcome it? Alcohol. Going out with my friends and husband and drinking too much. I would ruin very healthy days with too many calories spent on drinking! To be honest- I had to stop drinking. Alcoholism runs in my family. I tried for years to moderate my drinking but truth be told, it was too much. I've been sober since mid-January this year... and trust me, that is something I never thought I would say. I'm happier than I've ever been- happy and proud of myself. The negative talk I used to tell myself has decreased so much, it's unbelievable. I know most people don't need or want to give up alcohol. But I needed to!!
What was the single thing that helped you most along the way, especially when things got tough? Looking at before and after pictures- of myself and of others. Telling myself even though I don't eat perfectly, I'm much better and stronger and happier than I used to be.
How has your life changed since losing the weight? I am more comfortable with myself in every way. I allow my personality to come out more. I take more risks. I go outside my comfort zone. I speak up. I smile more. I wear more colors in my clothes. I wear dresses! Being healthier makes me feel happy! I can do things I never thought I could do.
Exercise routine: Body Combat (similar to kickboxing, but so much more!!) at my local YMCA. I also love walking DVDs (like Leslie Sansone's collection), and tae bo/kickboxing DVDs as well. I try to walk as much as I can, and I'm currently training for a walk/jog 10K.
Favorite breakfast: Smoothies: protein powder/Weight Watchers smoothie mix (chocolate is the best flavor!!), 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1 frozen banana (or 1 cup frozen fruit such as cherries), mixed in my blender until smooth and thick. I also love adding PB2 to my smoothies.
Favorite sweet snack: Anything chocolate! Especially chocolate Vita-Tops.
Favorite dinner: Whole wheat couscous, steamed/sautéed vegetables (such as carrots, squash, zucchini, green beans, etc), with grilled chicken or a black bean burger.
Favorite healthy restaurant or fast food find: Chick-Fil-A chargrilled sandwich with a fruit cup and diet lemonade, or Wendy's chili or their salads with grilled chicken.
Advice for someone just starting: Just START!! It's never a "convenient" or "perfect" time. We will never be perfect or flawless. You will make mistakes. You'll be really proud of yourself one moment and perhaps disappointed the next. We're all human, and we all struggle with weight loss. But surprising yourself with weight loss and giving yourself the gift of health is an amazing feeling. No matter how long it takes you to lose the weight- just start today.
Anything else that you would like to share: Stay positive. Negative talk won't get you anywhere. When you "mess up," just start again. Just keep going!!