LIVESTRONG.COM Member since: June 2015
Age: 41 | Height: 5'3"
BEFORE Weight: 197 pounds Dress/Pant Size: 14/16
AFTER Weight: 156 pounds Dress/Pant Size: 8/9
LIVESTRONG.COM: What was your life like before joining LIVESTRONG.COM?
I was overweight and always tired. I ate terribly and never drank water. I drank about two cans of soda a day and rarely exercised. I didn't have energy or motivation. I was depressed and didn't want to go out with my friends because I didn't want people to see how fat I was.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What was your inspiration for making a change?
My daughter's father was diagnosed with liver disease. I was angry with him because I didn't feel he was making an effort to get better. I couldn't understand why he wasn't making the necessary changes to get well. Then I realized that I was doing the same thing. Not only was I at my heaviest, I also smoked half a pack of cigarettes per day. I knew I had to get healthy for my daughter so she would have at least one healthy parent. After I quit smoking, I gained another five pounds. This was when I joined LIVESTRONG.COM and committed to losing weight.
LIVESTRONG.COM: How did LIVESTRONG.COM help you lose weight?
I made it my mission to learn everything I could about weight loss. LIVESTRONG.COM played a huge part in that. The weight-loss stories were so inspiring. The recipes, exercises and articles on health were instrumental in my journey. I also counted calories, which really helped me get my diet in check.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What was your support system like?
I had a lot of people cheer me on and tell me how great I looked. My co-worker and I also helped each other by picking out healthy snacks for the office, instead of the usual doughnuts and cookies.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What's your favorite way to work out?
I ride my bike to work whenever possible. I also started running, something I never thought I could do. I joined a gym too. I find workouts on YouTube.com and do them at home in the mornings. I try to find fun, active things to do.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What's your weekly exercise schedule?
I ride my bike to and from work and will go to the gym three or four times a week when possible. When the weather is nicer, I will try to fit in a run in the morning before work. I am not a huge fan of the gym, so I find I tend to put on weight or plateau in the winter. I enjoy outdoor exercise the most.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What's a typical day of meals and snacks?
I usually have scrambled eggs and a banana in the morning, soup or a salad for lunch, apples and peanut butter for a snack — and maybe some almonds. For dinner, I usually have chicken or fish with vegetables. I especially like avocados and will add them to salads. Sometimes after the gym I will have a protein smoothie. I try to eat clean most of the time, but will usually have a cheat meal once or twice a week.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What's the range of calories you eat per day?
I try to stick to 1,200 to 1,500 calories per day, depending on how much I have exercised.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What are the healthy staples that are always in your kitchen?
Avocados, Greek yogurt, almonds, bananas, eggs, peanut butter and whole-grain bread. For snacks I will keep some grapes in the freezer or cut up some fruit or vegetables so they are handy.
LIVESTRONG.COM: How do you strategize for meals?
I prep meals ahead of time when possible, and I always pack a lunch. Sometimes I will just bring a bunch of fruits and vegetables for salads or make a big pot of lentil soup to take to work for the week.
LIVESTRONG.COM: Were there any supplements that you took during your journey?
I used protein powder for smoothies, matcha tea in the mornings and multivitamins.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What's the biggest challenge you faced?
The biggest challenge I faced was when my dad passed away. My daughter's dad also passed a week later. I was devastated. I stopped working out to stay home with my daughter because I felt she needed me close by. Before I knew it, I'd lost my motivation and went back to eating unhealthy food, especially at night. I am an emotional eater and always have been. I put back on some of the weight, but I am getting myself back on track. I have learned not to let setbacks become permanent. We will all have them and shouldn't be too hard on ourselves. If you did it once, you can do it again.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What's your biggest secret to success that you want to share with others?
Find something you enjoy. Exercise doesn't have to be a chore. There are so many great online resources for healthy meal ideas. Trying new recipes and foods can keep an otherwise boring diet interesting. Also, the first few months are the hardest because you don't immediately see the results. Remember, it takes 30 days to notice changes in yourself and about 60 days for others to notice. After 90 days, you will be thanking yourself for sticking with it.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What's your life like now?
I feel so much better and have tons of energy. My self-esteem and sense of self-worth have improved greatly. I have not yet reached my goal, but that's OK. I am a work in progress. Instead of having a certain weight as a goal, I just want to be fit and healthy!