Name: Sheena G.
Age: 30 Height: 5'1"
BEFORE Weight: 255 pounds Dress/Pant Size: 16/18
AFTER Weight: 188 pounds Dress/Pant Size: 8/10
LIVESTRONG.COM: What was your life like before joining LIVESTRONG.COM?
Before I started my weight-loss journey I didn’t think much about what I ate or how much I exercised. I ate fast food almost daily, and I never drank water or ate vegetables. I’ve always loved myself, but I can’t remember a time when I didn’t wish I was smaller, regardless of how big and beautiful I felt.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What was your inspiration to make a change?
I spent almost a year watching the transformations of other people on Instagram. During my last semester of graduate school I made a big effort and improved my grades, and that started me wondering. I asked myself why I was able to succeed at everything else in life, but not lose weight. That day I started to think of weight loss in a different way. I focused more on changing my lifestyle and making that my priority instead of my past practice of starting a strict diet.
I had a small setback after the death of my father and some other major life issues, and I regained 30 pounds. I’m back on track now, though, and still here pushing toward my goal. I want people to know that life happens, and it’s OK to gain back some weight. The important thing is to not give up. You just have to keep going, keep working. It’s a permanent lifestyle change — a journey with no ending — not a temporary diet. There will be bumps in the road and occasional setbacks, but you only fail when you give up.
LIVESTRONG.COM: How did LIVESTRONG.COM help you lose weight?
It took me 13 months to lose 100 pounds. I used LIVESTRONG.COM for the articles and information. I find it motivating to read the success stories of other people who have gone through a similar journey and to find out details about how they transformed their lives. I also used the LIVESTRONG.COM workouts for ideas when I exercised at home.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What was your support system like?
I’ve been documenting my journey on Instagram and YouTube since day one for over two years. I found a larger community of people with the same goals who supported me through social media. My friends and family have also been very helpful.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What’s your favorite way to work out?
I like to jog. I participated in 20 organized races in 2015, including two half marathons. I couldn’t even run a mile in high school! I also really enjoy a workout called SWEAT that’s taught by a girl I follow on Instagram. Pound Fit is another favorite way to exercise. It’s a full-body workout inspired by playing the drums that uses weighted drumsticks that are designed specifically for the workout.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What’s your weekly exercise schedule?
For me it’s all about being consistent. My goal is to work out every day for at least 25 minutes. Every day doesn’t have to be intense, but every day I must do something to keep my body moving. My exercise schedule changes a lot. Some days I go to the gym before work, and some days I go at night after I give my son a shower. When I go, I do both cardio and strength training. On the weekends I enjoy mixing it up with aerial yoga, SWEAT workouts or pole dancing.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What’s a typical day of meals and snacks?
I usually eat one or two snacks and three meals each day. My favorite meal is ground-turkey chili, and my go-to breakfast includes hard-boiled eggs. My best food tip would be to find ways to make the things you like healthier.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What’s the range of calories you eat per day?
I typically eat a range of between 1,300 and 1,500 calories per day.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What are the healthy staples that are always in your kitchen?
I always have my water bottle, Tupperware and other containers for my meal prep for the week and an inspiring motivational quote on my fridge. I also always have my favorite Chobani Almond Coco Loco yogurt on hand for when I have cravings.
LIVESTRONG.COM: How do you strategize for meals?
I like to do meal prep on Sundays. I make enough for my lunches and breakfasts for the week. I usually go grocery shopping once a week (twice a week if I’m juicing).
LIVESTRONG.COM: What’s the biggest challenge you faced?
The biggest challenge I faced was dealing with the death of my father. My father was diagnosed with liver cancer in October 2014. His condition quickly progressed and worsened. Much of my time was spent making trips to the hospital, but I also had to continue living life: go to work, take care of my son, work out, meal prep, go to class and find time to complete schoolwork.
I told myself “excuses or results.” No matter how valid the excuse, I had to choose one. I chose results. I chose to keep fighting for my goals and not to use my father’s illness as a reason to emotionally eat.
I completed my MBA in December 2014, and my father passed away in January 2015. I reached my initial 100-pound weight-loss goal one month later, in February. Instead of giving up, I reminded myself how proud my dad was of me for finally changing my lifestyle, and I used that as motivation in my journey.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What’s your biggest secret to success that you want to share with others?
The biggest secret is that there is NO secret!
- Embrace the journey.- Change the way you think!
- Do your own research (Google, Instagram, books, magazines)!
- This is your journey, so find what works for you!
- Don’t be so hard on yourself if you mess up. It’s what you do after that counts.
- Use all of your resources (Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, LIVESTRONG.COM Calorie Tracker and countless other health and fitness apps).
- This is for life, so you don’t have to change everything overnight. Take it one day at a time.
- Drink your water! Track your meals. Schedule time for your workouts.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What’s your life like now?
I’m still here pushing to reach my final goal of 135 pounds: Weight-loss journeys have no ending. I still read articles on LIVESTRONG.COM for motivation. Other people’s success stories inspire me to keep pushing. I love my body. Some days I can be hard on myself since I’m not where I want to be, but then I remind myself of how far I have come. I’m on day 16 of the #D2S100 challenge, so I’m working out every day for at least 25 minutes. I’m registered for some upcoming races, and I’m tracking my meals. My biggest overall health improvement is being able to keep up with my 4-year-old son. Now it’s “mommy, slow down” instead of the other way around!
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.