How long did it take you to lose the weight? Approximately 1.5 years, maintaining the loss for 10+ years!
Lightbulb Moment: I always knew I needed to lose the weight, and I tried over and over again since the time I was about 12 years old. But the weight just kept piling its way on and it got harder and harder to lose. One of the big “light bulb” moments was in high school when I went to Six Flag’s with a group of friends. I was with my best friend who was thin her whole life and gorgeous. We were getting on a roller coaster and as we went to put the bar down to lock us into the ride, it wouldn’t close. My legs were too big and it wouldn’t lock. I was MORTIFIED!!! I actually had to get off the ride, and being the good friend she is, she got off with me. I tried to play it off like it was no big deal, but I was SO embarrassed and ashamed. I continued to try and lose weight, but because I had SO much to lose I just became discouraged. I was depressed, and the weight continued to pile on. The weight got out of control all the way through college until I hit 290 lbs. That was another light bulb moment for me. I was in a size 24/26 jeans that were TIGHT on me and I was almost 300 lbs!! I just knew I HAD to do something, and I had to do it quick before I hit 300 lbs. The way I chose to lose the weight may not be the way that everyone chooses to do it, and it might not be the “right” choice for everyone, but it was the right thing for me, and I knew I had to do it.
How did you do it? Everyone has their own story of how they got to where they are, and no matter what the story is, we all end up in one common place together...struggling with our weight. I can tell you even after losing 130 pounds and keeping it off for 10 years now, it's STILL a struggle. I have to work at it every day so that I don't gain it back!
A little about myself: I am 33 years old, living in California, and I have struggled with my weight my whole life. I was always the chubby girl in school and slowly over the years the pounds kept coming on. In high school I was 250lbs+ and I'm 5'6''. I never had a boyfriend and just had a small group of close friends. I tried EVERY diet and program known to man. I joined and quit Weight Watchers more times than I could remember. As I went through college the weight kept coming on and eventually at 23 years old I hit my all time high of 290 pounds and a size 24/26. I was miserable. I was getting ready to go into nursing school and I didn't know how I'd do the job carrying all that weight around. I was pre-diabetic too. How could I work as a nurse telling patients what they needed to do to get healthy when I was as far from healthy as I could be?! I needed to do something.
After A LOT of research, soul searching, discussions with my doctors and my parents, I decided to have gastric bypass surgery. Now a days gastric bypass surgery is made available to just about everyone, the procedure has many more options, and it's much safer with quicker recovery times and less complications. But 10 years ago it was a very long process to get approved for (which I think is a good thing), there was much higher risk for complications, and the list of foods that you might never be able to tolerate eating again was a mile long, with 1/200 people dying on the operating room table...but I didn't care about the risks. I decided this was something I needed to do. I knew that my life was much more at risk if I continued to do nothing.
It was a long process with multiple doctor’s visits, I was required to see a psychologist (they did that for every patient), I had to see a nutritionist, and go to a few support groups before the surgery would take place. I didn't tell ANYONE except for immediate family that I was doing this because I was afraid of being judged. Everyone thinks gastric bypass is a "quick fix" and they just make your stomach smaller, you lose the weight, and then you're done. But it's the opposite. And even to this day I’m afraid of being judged that I chose the surgical route rather than doing it the “right” way on my own. This surgery fixes the weight pretty quick, but it doesn't fix your mind and what caused you to become overweight in the first place. YOU have to completely change your lifestyle, watch what you eat, and exercise in order to make sure the weight stays off. I knew a few other people having the surgery also around the same time and they eventually gained the weight back. I'm the ONLY one who has kept it off.
My surgery was 6.5 hours long, luckily no complications, and I followed all the instructions of the diet and for taking care of myself post-operatively. I had to take a month off of work to recover, and there were many stages of the diet I had to go through before I could even eat solid foods again. It was a tough recovery mentally. I wouldn’t even sit at the dinner table with my family when they were eating for a LONG time because I didn’t want to watch them eat food that I couldn’t eat. It was hard. But I didn’t regret the decision I made. There was NO way I'd EVER let myself get back to 290 pounds...not after putting myself through surgery and the recovery process. This was a promise I made to myself. I am proud to say that this is a promise I’ve been able to keep, but not with out conscious effort every single day, for ten years now.
I lost about 100 pounds the first year and then the weight loss slowed down. I became a nurse during that time and was on my feet all day and continued to eat right and work out and lost another 20 pounds or so. I maintained that loss until now. Going from a size 26 down to a 10. I got engaged last year and began working out again 4-6 days a week with a trainer to prepare for my big day. But it became very time consuming and expensive to have a trainer and spend so much time in the gym. I needed something that I could fit into my schedule as a nurse working 12-hour shifts.
It was around this time I began communicating with a wonderful and inspiring Beachbody coach on Instagram (IG). We soon connected on Facebook and then started communicating regularly. She gave me suggestions on a few Beachbody programs that I could do at home in 20-30 minutes per day. She and I had many talks about weight loss, the journey I had been on, the feelings I experienced along the way and the goals I was trying to achieve now. I found a program I wanted to try (PiYo- a mix between Pilates and Yoga) and decided to do the 60 day challenge with this program. I was very motivated to do this and to really kick my health and fitness goals into high gear.
My coach actually convinced me to become a Coach for Beachbody myself and try and help other people reach their weight loss and health goals while continuing to pursue mine. I decided to do it. I wanted to help people. I wanted to inspire people the way she had inspired me. It was the BEST decision I've ever made. I love reaching out to people and giving them encouragement, helping them become more active, sharing tips, advice, and just supporting them. I KNOW how it feels to be unhappy with my body, to feel like there’s no hope, and how awesome it is to come through those feelings and make a change. I've lost another 10 lbs or so over the past few months so I'm down about 131 lbs since the beginning of my journey.Gastric bypass helped me lose the weight but it did not give me abs! I'm working on continuing to improve my body, tighten up lose skin, etc and increase my muscle mass while decreasing body fat percentage. I'm at 159 lbs right now. But more than the number on the scale, I want to get down to 20% body fat (I'm at 29% right now). So I will continue working out, eating clean, and being the BEST Beachbody Coach I can be!! I want to continue to help encourage and inspire, and help stop the obesity epidemic in the US. Even if I only help one person, it'll be worth it. This has become a new passion in my life, and I hope this new journey is only the beginning. My Instagram account (@fitnursevic81) has grown and there are followers every day saying that they look forward to my posts, and are joining my fitness challenges through Beachbody. I have friends and co-workers that joined my first challenge and have lost 10,20 and 30+ pounds and inches off their bodies the past few months with my help and support as their coach, and I LOVE it!! I will continue to share my story with people and hope that it helps inspire someone else to start their own journey. I will be there to help them until the end.
What was the biggest challenge you faced? How did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge I have faced over the past ten years has been keeping the weight off! Like I mentioned before, gastric bypass doesn’t keep the weight off forever. You have to WORK to keep the weight off. I still am conscious about what I put into my mouth, and making sure I stop eating as soon as I start to feel full so I don’t stretch out my stomach again. I have to workout 4-6 days a week to help maintain the loss and also so I can continue to lose the body fat I’m trying to lose. Muscle doesn’t build itself…you have to help build it. Another huge factor in me maintaining my loss has been surrounding myself with people that are supportive and understand my goals. Beachbody has been huge in that. Everyone is so supportive, especially my coach! I am trying to be that coach for my own personal team. So anyone that needs a little help, inspiration, and motivation, please contact me! I WILL be that person for you!!
What was the single thing that helped you most along the way, especially when things got tough?
I think the thing that has helped me along the way is NEVER forgetting what it felt like to be 290 pounds and be asked to step off of a roller coaster at the theme park. I also kept one pair of my size 24/26 jeans and every now and then I pull them out and look at them. I now can fit into ONE leg of those jeans.
How has your life changed since losing the weight? My life has changed in so many ways. I am a happier, healthier, and more present. I’m not as shy as I used to be. I found my soul mate along the way. I am able to get around work easier and able to be on my feet for long periods of time and not get sore or tired. I can walk up a flight of stairs with out getting winded. I can cross my legs (seems like such a small thing, but us women know how it feels when you can FINALLY cross your legs). I am no longer pre-diabetic, and I know I will be healthy for my future children. I actually enjoy buying clothes…and they are much cheaper in smaller sizes might I add.
Exercise routine: Currently I am running a fitness challenge group for my team through Beachbody and we are doing T25 workouts 5-6 days per week. It’s a 10 week challenge. Before I started T25, I did 60 days of Piyo, and I have another challenge lined up to start after T25.
Favorite breakfast: My favorite breakfast is one egg scrambled with mushrooms and spinach, 3 slices of turkey bacon, and some fresh fruit. I also make overnight oats quite often to bring with me to work for breakfast. I will add fresh fruit to it and have a protein on the side.
Favorite sweet snack: I’m not huge into sweets, but the thing I cannot go with out is my coffee! I usually will do some type of latte with almond milk, but no frappuccinos or things like that. I have many low cal, low sugar coffee creations up on my IG page. I also have my Shakeology nutrition shakes once a day. Totally satisfies any sweet craving I have and I can create SO many different flavors and varieties.
Favorite dinner: I really love broiled salmon or grilled tilapia with grilled vegetables, and if I’m adding a carbohydrate to the meal I’ll either do sweet potato or whole-wheat couscous.
Favorite healthy restaurant or fast food find: I don’t go to fast food restaurants at all anymore. Subway is about as fast food as I get. They have SO many healthy sandwich options. I usually get a turkey sandwich with mustard, no mayo, and all the veggies and its only about 300 calories for the 6’’ sub.
Advice for someone just starting: The best advice I have is to not give up! Make small goals for yourself. That was something I wished I had done during my heavier days. I always looked at it like I have 130 pounds to lose! That seems almost impossible when you look at it that way. Break it down to smaller 5 or 10 pound increments and then keep going from there. Find an accountability partner! Find a friend, or loved one, or a coach like I did to help you through your journey and keep you accountable. Find someone who can talk and give you advice when you have a bad day. I can be that person for you!! Just contact me through IG or email me at [email protected] if you need help. I will help you!
Anyhing else that you would like to share: Like I said before, everyone has a story of how they got to where they are and how they are trying to fix it. Don’t judge anyone’s journey, There isn’t one “right” way to lose weight. There’s many ways to do it. You just have to fine the right way for you. I can help you find that. You are worth it. You will do it. You will be successful. You just have to believe in yourself.
Please feel free to contact me ANYTIME:Instagram: @fitnursevic81 Facebook: facebook.com/fitnursevic Email: [email protected] Beachbody: teambeachbody.com/fitnursevic
Have your own weight loss story? Inspire others and share it in a future Weight Loss Wednesday! Contact us at [email protected] to learn more.