LIVESTRONG.COM Username: smoore1988
LIVESTRONG.COM Member since: April 15, 2012
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Age: 25 years old
Height: 5 feet 5 inches
Weight: 220 pounds (I might have been larger. This was the first time I weighed myself.)
Dress/Pant Size: 14/16
Waist: 33 inches
Weight: 129 pounds
Dress/Pant Size: 4
Waist: 27 inches
LIVESTRONG.COM: What was your life like before joining LIVESTRONG.COM?
Sarah M.: I started my weight-loss journey when I was around 220 pounds (but I suspect at some point I was larger). My social life pretty much consisted of pizza with friends and candy on movie nights. After graduating college I decided to make a life change and move to the beautiful state of Colorado. I knew I always wanted to live close to the mountains, and I felt that my life in Kansas was extremely boring. After I moved, I became depressed and would binge eat frequently to make myself feel better. I missed my friends and my family a lot. My first job in Colorado was working nights at an animal emergency clinic. Don't get me wrong, I loved my job, but in order to stay up until 8 a.m., my co-workers and I would eat unhealthy, sugary, fatty foods and drink lots of soda.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What was your inspiration to make a change?
Sarah M.: My turning point was when I saw some pictures of myself on a graduation trip to Costa Rica. I was twice the size of everyone in our tour group! To make matters worse, I also had high blood pressure and couldn't even remember the last time I'd eaten a green vegetable.
LIVESTRONG.COM: How did LIVESTRONG.COM help you lose weight?
Sarah M.: I started by tracking calories on MyPlate, LIVESTRONG.COM's Calorie Tracker. I tracked everything I consumed. This held me to a pretty high degree of accountability. Once I started eating better, the numbers displayed on the scale began to drop. I made sure that I watched the amount of sodium, sugar, carbs, protein and fat that I consumed daily. Sometimes I would go to the community and ask questions like, "How do I avoid binge eating cookies around the holidays?" Everyone was very helpful and had great ideas. It's nice to have the support from others that are going through the same ups and downs as yourself.
Once I began losing some weight, I felt comfortable going to the gym and exercising. I did the elliptical for 20 minutes along with 30 minutes of weightlifting each day. Once I hit the six-month point of going to the gym, I began to get burned out on the elliptical and decided to cancel the membership (which I was terrified to do because I didn't want to slack on exercising and gain back my weight) and do some outdoorsy things. I did the Couch to 5k program and became a runner. Three years ago I would never have imagined myself actually enjoying running. I also started hiking and doing interval training, which really kicked my weight loss into gear.
I enjoy logging on to LIVESTRONG.COM to check out the different health articles and success stories of how others lost their weight. It has been a long, hard journey for me, but I wouldn't change a thing about it. I lost my weight over the course of two years, slowly and steadily, which I am a huge proponent of because it is much harder to gain it back if you have a bad day.
LIVESTRONG.COM: Who was/is your support system?
Sarah M.: My mom was my biggest support system. From when I was a child, I watched her go through yo-yo dieting, so I felt like she understood what I was going through. She held me accountable. LIVESTRONG.COM's Calorie Tracker was also a huge help because I never really thought about how much sodium or calories are in certain foods. Finally, I met my boyfriend near the end of my weight loss, and he helped encourage me to be a strong, healthy woman.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What's your favorite way to work out?
Sarah M.: My favorite way to work out is hiking or doing anything outdoors. My new obsession is trail running.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What's your weekly exercise schedule?
Sarah M.: On Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday I do a two- to three-mile run with my dog around 5:00 a.m. and then rotate between different workout videos. Then I'm off to work! Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday I try to hike. I am very fortunate to live in Boulder, Colorado, so I can get a great workout by doing something that I enjoy.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What's a typical day of meals and snacks?
Sarah M.: I eat two large meals a day, and in between I fit in three snacks. My morning starts out with a banana and English muffin or oatmeal that has peanut butter and chia seeds mixed into it. Sometimes I mix it up and make a concoction with unsweetened cocoa powder, honey and peanut butter to make it feel like a dessert! I always eat fresh fruit and raw veggies and plain Greek yogurt throughout the day. For dinner I usually try to stick with a large salad or a lean protein and vegetable combo. I'm definitely not afraid to eat carbs, but I make sure my meal isn't too heavy on them.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What's the range of calories you eat per day?
Sarah M.: I usually eat between 1,200 and 1,800 calories a day. I try to look at sodium, sugar and fat levels as a huge indicator on which foods I choose to consume.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What are the healthy staples that are always in your kitchen?
Sarah M.: Light English muffins, bananas, a variety of fruit (whatever is in season), raw vegetables, Adams natural peanut butter, canned pumpkin, chia seeds, cinnamon, sweet potato, oats and unsweetened vanilla almond milk. My new obsession is butternut squash. I cook it in the Crock-Pot with a little bit of cinnamon for a delicious, healthy dessert.
LIVESTRONG.COM: How do you strategize for meals?
Sarah M.: I like to plan my meals on the weekends. I usually go grocery shopping on Saturdays and Sundays and don't typically go the rest of the week unless I forget something. I live by myself, so there is always the struggle of cooking for one. I like to cook big portions (soups, casseroles, etc.) and freeze at least half of it. This way, I can rotate through different meals every week. I make it a point to pack my lunch for work every day. There are always cookies and bad foods floating around, so I like to come prepared with snacks and healthy choices so I don't eat the things sitting it the break room. Around noon I eat my plain Greek yogurt and an apple. A few hours later I eat some type of fruit, and then a few hours after that I eat raw veggies.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What's the biggest challenge you faced?
Sarah M.: The biggest challenge I faced was learning to avoid unhealthy foods at work. At home it was very easy for me to stick to a healthy routine. I felt like there was always fast food, pizza and baked goods sitting around work, though. I always felt like many of my co-workers encouraged me to eat poorly, and it was hard to say, "No thanks, I would rather eat my yogurt than that doughnut."
LIVESTRONG.COM: What's your biggest secret to success that you want to share with others?
Sarah M.: Stay active and track your calories daily. If you go to the store, make the decision to walk or ride your bike instead of getting in your car to only drive a mile. Wake up an hour early and get in a quick workout. I promise that you will feel so much better about yourself. It is much easier to make healthy decisions when you start the day off right. I never thought I would enjoy exercising so much. It isn't something I dread anymore because I know after I am done I feel like I have accomplished something. If you have a bad day of eating you should just move on with it. There is always another day to start fresh. We make our own choices, and no one is perfect.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What's your life like now?
Sarah M.: I reached my goal of 129 pounds (which surpassed my original goal of 140), and it felt great. Now I have gained back a little weight, but I've stayed the same jean size because I am focusing on building lean muscle. Every workday I wake up at 5 a.m. to go for a jog with my dog. On my days off I try to fit in a hike. My boyfriend and I like to compete to see who can get up the mountain the fastest! After living in Colorado since 2010, I can finally enjoy the beauty it has to offer. I recently started hiking 14ers (for those of you not from Colorado, this is what we like to call mountains that are 14,000 feet in elevation). They are definitely a calorie-torching workout. My goal in the next few years is to hike every 14er in Colorado. I still continue to log on to LIVESTRONG.COM's Calorie Tracker and the site multiple times a week to check out health articles and log my calories. For the first time in my life I feel strong and healthy.
Written by: Kelly Plowe