How Lisa T. Lost 40 Pounds!
By ANN RUSNAK
Name: Lisa T.
LIVESTRONG.COM Username: Ltafoya79
LIVESTRONG.COM Member since: December 13, 2013
Dress/Pant Size: 14
Dress/Pant Size: 6/4
1. What was your life like before joining LIVESTRONG.COM?
I joined LIVESTRONG.COM at a point where I was already pretty healthy, but needed the little extra push/motivation to keep me on track. Prior to discovering LIVESTRONG.COM and before starting my journey, I was reasonably healthy physically, but I was overweight and unhappy.
2. What inspired you to make a change?
I originally decided to make lifestyle changes because of my children. I noticed what they were eating, and how my daughter was bordering on becoming a little heavier than she ought to have been for her age at the time. I knew that much of it was my fault, and I did not want to be one of those people who just sat by and let her kids develop unhealthy habits. I also took a good look in the mirror and was unhappy with what I had let happen. Not to say that I had been fit prior to having kids, because I honestly never really exercised consistently in my life, but I didn't realize the effect that the gradual weight gain had had on my appearance. I'd never been small, but all of a sudden the realization that I was truly overweight hit me like a ton of bricks, and I decided then that I wasn't going to be like so many of my family who had developed diabetes and heart issues as a result of unhealthy habits. I wanted to be there for my children and set a good example.
3. How did LIVESTRONG.COM help you lose weight?
I used LIVESTRONG.COM as a source of inspiration. I enjoyed reading about other people and their journeys, it often helped keep me motivated when I was down or had hit a plateau. I also really enjoy the health articles and recipes. I use LIVESTRONG.COM as a source when I'm looking for answers to fitness or health related questions.
4. What was your support system like?
My friend Cristi was really the only person who KNEW what my goals were and knew what I wanted to accomplish. She was the person who sponsored me essentially. She encouraged me, she helped me in every way she could, and if it hadn't been for her I wouldn't have gotten as far as I have. She is still one of my best friends, and she is absolutely amazing. I'm completely indebted to her for everything she has done not only for me, but for my kids.
5. What’s your favorite way to work out?
I really have learned to love the gym, even though my preference was to work out at home. I have a gym partner now who is wonderful and fun. He helps me stay accountable not only fitness wise, but diet wise as well. He's great! I don't know how I managed without him.
6. What’s your weekly exercise schedule?
I work out Monday-Saturday. Three days a week-if time allows-I will have two gym sessions-morning and afternoon. Morning sessions consist of weights. Afternoons are HIIT elliptical workouts and stretching. Two of the six days are active rest days where I stretch, and do steady cardio. The remaining four days alternate between upper and lower body sessions. I do core work every day. Sunday is always a rest day. Every week is slightly different depending on the program I'm doing.
Sometimes I am not able to make a double gym session, others I have to take an extra rest day for whatever reason. I've learned that remaining flexible yet consistent is the key to being successful.
7. What’s a typical day of meals and snacks?
I usually eat 5-6 times a day, but that is not always the case. I eat breakfast because it IS the most important meal of the day. I'll usually have a snack/second breakfast around 9, lunch, midafternoon snack, dinner, and sometimes an after dinner snack. I supplement with protein shakes to not only get my daily intake of protein, but also to help me meet my caloric needs, as sometimes I don't eat enough to do so.
8. What’s the range of calories you eat per day?
I eat anywhere between 1500-2500 calories per day depending on what I did in terms of workouts. If I have a heavy weight day, I definitely eat more. Now that I am eating towards a different goal, my caloric need and intake is very different than what it was when I was trying to lose weight.
9. What are the healthy staples that are always in your kitchen?
I always have peanut butter, wild rice, and tuna. I'm not a cook, so I like anything I can grab on the go.
10. How do you strategize for meals?
Of course my first priority is my family, so they obviously get taken care of first in terms of groceries. It becomes a little difficult when you're essentially shopping for two separate households. I will have to admit, I do not strategize for meals. Having a family, full time job, long work commute, etc., I find that I don't have the time or the energy to do so. What I try to do, is buy groceries that I am able to take up to work-easy things like egg beaters and oatmeal for breakfast; soup, wild rice, tuna for lunches; and peanut butter and crackers, nuts, or fruit for snacks. I have a cabinet full of lunch, snacks, and protein. I truly hate shopping, so I go once every two weeks.
11. What was the biggest challenge you faced?
Diet was, and still is, my biggest challenge. I have a hard time meeting my caloric needs most of the time and I still struggle with sweets. It is really hard to get out of the weight loss mindset, and it has been really hard for me to find a balance that I feel good about. Once you stop thinking in terms of weight loss, and start thinking in terms of muscle gain, it becomes a different ball game because in order for your body to build muscle you have to give it the proper nutrition to be able to do so.
This is an aspect of my journey that I feel will always be a battle because I am a total foodie. I love food and I love to eat. I believe that moderation is the key in most cases. However, I've learned that you can't outwork a bad diet.
12. What's your biggest secret(s) to success that you want to share with others?
- Don't beat yourself up if you feel like you've slipped. Life happens. Things come up. There is no way to predict what will happen from day to day. Be consistent, but be flexible. Do not give up just because you missed a day or two, or even a week. Get back on the horse and try again.
- Don't get discouraged if you don't see immediate results. It takes time, be patient.
- Listen to your body. Eat when you need to eat, rest when you need to rest. Hurting yourself just isn't worth it. You must take care of yourself so that you can be the best you possible.
- Don't live and die by the scale. Pay more attention to how your clothes fit and how you feel. I think it's a better indicator of success.
13. Can you describe what your life is like now?
I'm healthy, I'm fit, I feel like I'm setting a good example for my children, and I'm really happy with the progress I've made. Overall, I feel amazing! My mood is good, I've got confidence that I never had before, I'm proud of my accomplishment, and I'm even more thrilled that my changes have trickled down to my kids. My daughter is more inclined to eat fruit rather than candy, and my son seems to enjoy vegetables quite a bit more than I did as a child.
I'm still very active, and find myself trying to do more things and to encourage others to become active or be more active. I still continue to do what I can to make improvements and I try to challenge myself both physically and mentally. From a health perspective, my mood is better, I have less anxiety, my blood pressure is low, my endurance is building, and I feel strong.
I still use LIVESTRONG.COM as a source of inspiration and research.
Ann Rusnak is LIVESTRONG's Sr. Community Manager. Her quest to lose the "baby weight" before the "baby" finished elementary school sparked an interest in health and fitness that continues to be a passion to this day. She loves hiking and yoga, and thinks the best exercise is one you can do with a good friend. Over the years Ann's desire to fit into a certain size has evolved into what she feels is the more important goal of feeling good and having energy to live life to its fullest.