Name: Ruth D.
LIVESTRONG.COM Username: ruthannd (LIVESTRONG.COM Member since: March 22, 2016)
Age: 46 Height: 137
BEFORE Weight: 160 Dress/Pant Size: 8 to 12
AFTER Weight: 137 Dress/Pant Size: 4 to 6
LIVESTRONG.COM: What was your life like before joining LIVESTRONG.COM?
Ruth: I simply floundered trying to find ideas as to what to do and what to eat to make a change. I had no direction as far as diet and exercise and no idea as to how to or where to start.
I thought I was healthy because I occasionally made an attempt to change my diet and exercise. But I was ashamed of how I looked and felt. I had never felt comfortable in my own skin and wondered if I ever would. And it didn't help that I basically ate whatever and whenever. There was no balance in what I ate — no portion control.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What was the turning point that inspired you to make a change?
Ruth: In 2013 I was just unhappy about everything: my relationship, my body, my diet and my health. In September of that year I responded to an ad on my company's bulletin board for a weight-loss challenge at a local gym. That was the day I promised myself that I was going to make a change.
I couldn't really afford the fee to join the challenge, but I committed to the expense, completed the six-week program and took third place. Ever since then I've been in a healthy relationship, I'm in the gym at least four days a week and I have a much healthier food lifestyle.
LIVESTRONG.COM: How did LIVESTRONG.COM help you lose weight?
Ruth: I first found out about LIVESTRONG.COM earlier this year. I use the site daily for recipes, exercise ideas and other tips that have helped keep me on track. The recipes that are on MyPlate have given me plenty of healthy option for meals. It took me a couple of months to reach my ultimate goal weight.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What was your support system like?
Ruth: I have a fantastic support system within my family, my co-workers and my boyfriend. They have all cheered me on during my weight-loss journey and during the moments I spent at the gym. They don't try to convince me to eat bad stuff when that type of food is around, and they are always commending me for my dedication.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What's your favorite way to work out?
Ruth: I love my gym time — especially the boot camp program offered at my local gym. I do like to walk and am in the process of "learning" how to run effectively.
LIVESTRONG.COM: Can you tell us more about how you changed your body and lost inches as a result of focusing on fitness and lifting weights?
Ruth: I have never in my life had any kind of muscle, so you can imagine what it's like for me to have them at 46!
In 2013 my weight was 160 pounds; right and left biceps were 11 inches; shoulders were 16 inches; chest was 40 inches; waist was 34 inches; hips were 42.5 inches; left and right thighs were 22 inches; and left and right calves were 16 inches.
Presently, my weight is 137 pounds; right and left biceps are 10.5 inches; shoulders are 14.5 inches; chest is 35.5 inches; waist is 31.5 inches; hips are 36.5 inches; right thigh is 22.5 inches; left thigh is 22 inches; and left and right calves are 13 inches.
I still have a long way to go, but I am very pleased with my results.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What's your weekly exercise schedule?
Ruth: Monday through Thursday I have my boot camp classes from 6 to 6:45 p.m. I usually get on the elliptical for about 15 to 20 minutes before each class.
I've also recently added a 5K training program that puts me on the treadmill three times a week at lunch.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What's a typical day of meals and snacks?
Ruth: I eat five to six times a day: two snacks and three meals. I have my BCAA generally before bed as my sixth meal. I eat a lot of protein, vegetables and fruit.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What's the range of calories you eat per day?
Ruth: I stay in the 1,200-calorie range.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What are the healthy staples that are always in your kitchen?
Ruth: I keep fruits and veggies on hand. I also love to stock up on nuts. They're helpful for times when I need to curb a craving.
LIVESTRONG.COM: How do you strategize for meals?
Ruth: I do meal prep for the week on Sundays, and I typically do my grocery shopping once a week. Sometimes I have to stop by the store a few times a week to grab more fruit or veggies. I pack all of my meals and snacks for the day and take it with me to work. Eating out is rare. It's a treat!
LIVESTRONG.COM: Were there any supplements that you took during your journey?
Ruth: I take several vitamins daily, and I drink protein powder with skim milk as a midday snack. I drink water like there's none left on earth: It helps curb cravings when I "think" that I'm hungry.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What's the biggest challenge you faced?
Ruth: My biggest challenge was self-doubt and not believing that I had the ability to change.
I never thought that I would have muscle definition, and I finally do at 46 years old. I thought I was destined to be out of shape because I didn't think that I could find anything that worked for me. But all that has changed.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What's your biggest secret to success that you want to share with others?
Ruth: Anything is possible when you set your mind to it. You can make any change at any time in your life.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What's your life like now?
Ruth: I am an ongoing work in progress. I still have problem areas that I am working on and things to accomplish with my fitness. My goal for myself this year was to do a 5K a month, and I am doing well with that. I plan on working my way up to a 10K next year. I am in the gym four days a week, and my diet is still on point.
I have a cheat meal here and there. I am human and have my days where I just want to eat junk, but I find a way to work through it.
I have made great strides with my exercise. I used to not be able to do something as simple as jumping jacks without getting winded, but now I can do them much easier. And as much as I don't like burpees, I can do many more now than I could've done before.
There were so many things that I used to struggle to do, but I've realized that these exercises are not going to kill me and that I can do them.