How I Lost 120 Pounds
BEFORE 278 lbs
AFTER 155 lbs!
My eating habits used to be terrible. On a typical day, I would eat a cinnamon roll or doughnut for breakfast, a burger and fries for lunch, and something quick and easy like takeout for dinner. Snacking meant candy bars and soda. Over the years, I also used food as a way to comfort myself. During my teens and early 20s, I would binge when I was depressed or stressed out. After something bad—like a breakup—happened, I would eat a whole pizza in one sitting.
Setting a good example
About six months after my daughter was born in August 2009, I learned a sobering statistic: A child of an obese parent is 50% more likely to be obese, too. At that time, I was at my heaviest, and taking seven different medications for issues related to my weight, including heart disease and depression. I was a size 20 and disgusted with myself. Around this time, I also started to introduce my daughter to solid foods. I was so diligent in making sure she ate fruits and vegetables, yet I was eating a bowl (or more) of ice cream every night. That's when it dawned on me: How can I expect her to eat vegetables if I don't eat them? I knew then that I was going to have to make big changes to become the healthy, energetic mom that I'd always wanted to be.
One habit at a time
I joined Weight Watchers with a friend, which taught me a lot about portion control and the nutritional value of foods. I realized how much I was really eating and started cutting my portions and skipping junk food. The meetings helped me see that I was using food as a way to deal with my emotions, so I decided to try exercise as a stress reliever instead.
At first, I was too embarrassed to work out in front of people, so I did fitness videos for 10 or 15 minutes at home every day. Eventually, I mustered up the confidence to go to the gym in our apartment complex, and used the treadmill and the elliptical trainer for short intervals. A few months later, I tried a combination of walking and jogging, too (I would jog for a minute or two, then walk for a minute or two). After seven months, I lost 70 pounds and ran my first 5K. I slowly continued to increase the time and distance I ran as I shed the rest of the weight. I just finished my first marathon last fall in Philadelphia!
I'm a better mother, both mentally and physically, thanks to my weight loss. I have more energy to play with my daughter and I was able to go off all of my medications. I'm so much more optimistic because I feel confident and excited to start each day—something I never felt when I was obese.
My stick-with-it secret
Set small weight loss goals like losing 5 or 10 pounds per month and work toward those, instead of always keeping in mind the total amount you want to lose. And celebrate every milestone, no matter how small. Whenever I lost another 10 pounds, I would allow myself to buy a new workout item, like a smaller-size shirt, a new DVD or a running magazine.
My best tip
Tackle one new healthy habit each week. Overhauling everything at once can be overwhelming and too hard to maintain. Focusing on one issue at a time helped my changes become long-term habits.
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