Age: 45 | Height: 5'7"
BEFORE Weight: 320 pounds Dress/Pant Size: 26-28
AFTER Weight: 170 pounds Dress/Pant Size: 10
LIVESTRONG.COM: What was your life like before joining LIVESTRONG.COM?
Before joining LIVESTRONG.COM I was not paying attention to nutrition or exercise. I felt awful about myself and would avoid interaction with others. I modeled in high school and was studying to be a certified trainer before having children, so I was thin most of my life. At my heaviest, I was working three jobs and helping my father through his battle with cancer. I was making bad choices in my diet. My health was getting worse, and my clothes were getting tighter. I had migraines often and high blood pressure that required medication.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What was your inspiration for making a change?
I had put off taking care of myself while I took care of my father. My father passed away, and I realized I had little ones that needed a healthy mom. I wanted to get my health back to be there for my children. I began to feel better! I remembered how I felt physically and mentally when I was healthier. That mindset kept me going.
LIVESTRONG.COM: How did LIVESTRONG.COM help you lose weight?
I have always been inspired by fitness and nutrition. I started using MyPlate to help watch my portions and nutritional needs. I was always looking for new workouts and loved the articles on LIVESTRONG.COM. Seeing what others had gone through was always an inspiration. Slow and steady, it took me about five years to lose the weight.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What was your support system like?
I had great support from family. My kids are so proud of me. They tell me that their friends say how strong I look. My oldest daughter works out on her own and with friends. My youngest does mud runs and obstacle races with me. She loves getting shiny medals, just like her mom.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What's your favorite way to work out?
I am now a certified personal trainer with a certification in strength and conditioning as well as an MMA conditioning specialist. I specialize in HIIT and boot-camp training, combining strength and cardio. I love Spin classes, kickboxing and sparring. I had never run in my life, but now I've done several half marathons, 10Ks, 5Ks, trail-run events, mud runs and a couple of Spartan races.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What's your weekly exercise schedule?
My typical workout schedule includes HIIT Monday through Friday at 5 a.m. I do two to three Spin classes a week in the afternoons or evenings. I train with clients at various times. Saturdays vary with either a fitness event or a rare day off. Sundays I train with clients in the early morning, do more HIIT training, and I follow that with a Spin class. I have met so many amazing people and wish I could work out 24/7 with my "fitfam"!
LIVESTRONG.COM: What's a typical day of meals and snacks?
I eat about 2,500 to 3,000 calories a day to maintain my weight. As much as I work out, I need this fuel! I always have protein throughout the day, starting with a protein shake right after a morning workout. I eat all day long — mini meals. I feel I should constantly fuel my body throughout the day. Snacks include raw trail mix, protein bars that are low in carbs and sugar, cucumbers with hummus and green drinks. I definitely do indulge, but I make sure not to slip back into bad habits.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What are the healthy staples that are always in your kitchen?
Being a vegetarian, my healthy staples include protein-infused nut butters, unsweetened almond milk, raw trail mix, protein bars, whey protein powder, avocado, cucumbers, hummus and other veggies and beans. I also love tacos! I always have corn tortillas, vegetarian meat substitutes, lettuce and salsa on hand.
LIVESTRONG.COM: How do you strategize for meals?
I try to meal prep as much as possible. I need to be prepared for the day. But I also need variety, so I can't eat the same lunch and dinner all week long. I prepare my lunches the night before and try to grocery shop once a week.
LIVESTRONG.COM: Were there any supplements that you took during your journey?
I take a multivitamin. I also take a supplement for thermogenesis, energy and focus. I drink BCAAs [essential amino acids known for muscle building] throughout the day for muscle strength and recovery. I take MSM, glucosamine and hyaluronic acid for joint health. I also drink turmeric and a green drink to keep my immune system healthy.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What's the biggest challenge you faced?
It can be totally overwhelming to try something new. My weight-loss journey really became clear when I started boot-camp training. People would come in completely uncomfortable and feel intimidated. Once I started becoming comfortable, I would try to help others. We all come into this with our own challenges and things we may be afraid of or feel we cannot do. Weighing just under 300 pounds, I couldn't do much without wanting to pass out and had to modify many movements. When I would tell others of my story, I felt I gave them a sense of security.
Challenges will come with the territory. I have had injuries like plantar fasciitis, a torn ligament in the knee, ankle issues and a torn rotator cuff, to name a few. You have to find what you can do. There is always a modification. You don't come this far to let anything stop you.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What's your biggest secret to success that you want to share with others?
My biggest secret is to find what you enjoy most. For me it was finding support and motivation from people who became friends and, eventually, family. Don't care about what others think, it's your journey. We're all on different paths and shouldn't judge others. Focus on those who help you and inspire you.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What's your life like now?
I continue to read new articles on LIVESTRONG.COM. I am always learning! I love going out and am confident and comfortable in my own skin. I am not perfect, but no one is! I am accepting of myself because I know how far I have come.
Some days are better than others, but that is where friends come in. We lift each other up. I have found my passion is to help others. When they overcome obstacles and learn new things, I know how their happiness and sense of accomplishment actually feels. That is my reward.
What Do YOU Think?
Do you have an inspiring Success Story to share? Did you use LIVESTRONG.COM to get healthy? Email us at email@example.com for details on how to share! To get started on your fitness journey, join us today on LIVESTRONG.COM or by downloading the MyPlate app.