I am excited to start a new series on my blog profiling Weight Loss Superstars!
It’s never a perfect road to weight loss, but for someone like Diane, who has lost 150 pounds and kept it off for years, I consider her a great inspiration! Please check out her site where she gives great advice and ideas about weight loss!
I thought of a bunch of questions I would like to know and I think others who are in weight loss mode would like to know too. Anyone who is trying to lose weight is desperate to find out, how did you do it?? I think these questions will give some insight.
Thank you again Diane for your generosity for taking time out of your busy life to answer my questions! You ROCK!!
1). What was your “Aha” moment when you decided you needed to do something about your weight?
I knew I was getting bigger and bigger, and I just couldn’t seem to stop gaining weight. Sometimes I felt as though I was looking from the outside, watching myself go from being an average size college student to a morbidly obese woman in a matter of five years. Weight gain was as easy as drinking water. But there was an “aha” moment which occured in 1997. I had a regularly scheduled appointment which I dreading with every fiber of my being. I was dreading it not because I was worried about a medical condition, but rather because I didn’t want to stand on the scale.
Try as I might, I couldn’t think of a way to avoid the scale, so I got on. It was a mortifying experience. I tried to not look at the nurse, because I knew she must be thinking, “What a fatty.” That moment something clicked for me. I remember feeling scared for the first time. I was scared I would go up to 325, or 350 or worse. I was frightened that I could end up being housebound, or even eat myself to death. Inside my heart, at that very moment, I resolved to do something about my weight once and for all.
2). Had you tried to lose weight in the past – were you successful when you tried?
I had tried every diet known to man except for using any kind of supplements. I joined Weight Watchers so many times I should have been given a lifetime “loser” designation. I tried Richard Simmons’ diet plans, diets in magazines, and bought every diet book that caught my eye. But in spite of all my efforts I didn’t have any success. I’d lose a few pounds here or there, but the minute I stopped going to the meetings, or following the plan in the book, I gained back the few pounds I lost, and added 3 or 4 more! It was quite frustrating.
3). 7 kids!! How do you find time for yourself to concentrate on losing weight?
Well, when I lost the weight I only had three children! I realized after the doctor’s appointment that day, that I needed to make myself a priority. I had poured all of my time and limited physical energy into raising the children, and hadn’t taken enough time to focus on me. So I added myself to the daily schedule.
For me, that included an “exercise date” with myself every morning. And keeping myself on the schedule continued throughout the entire day. That included taking some time throughout the day to assess what I was eating and why. It also included teaching the children about healthy foods, something I had never done before.
Whereas I had previously used the fact I had children as an excuse not to exercise, this last time I took them with me when I needed to. My oldest, who was 6 at the time, learned to ride her bike 3 miles with me. The two little ones, who were 3 and almost 1, rode in a stroller. I used the time with them producitively, pointing out things in nature that we saw along our walks. My oldest learned how to ride her bike safely on the road!
After I lost 150 pounds, I did have the four other children. They were born in 2000, 2002, 2005, and 2007. Each time, I went back to my plan and lost the baby weight!
4). What kept you going? Were there times where you wanted to give up?
The first day I started I wanted to give up. Seriously. It was so hard to go from grazing on peanut M&M’s all day long to eating the proper amounts of healthy foods. In some ways it was scary to me, because I wasn’t stuffing my emotions with food. But each day that went by, instead of getting frustrated and depressed, I got more and more determined. I still can remember feeling stronger, both physically and mentally.
Not to say that I didn’t mess up – because that was definitely part of the journey. There were many, many times where I made the wrong choices with regards to food. But I just kept pushing forward, telling myself that one mistake didn’t have to mean failure.
5). How has maintenance been, is maintaining harder than losing weight?
This may be surprising to some people, but for me, maintenance is the fun part. Sure it’s still takes an effort to eat the right kinds of foods, but even people who don’t struggle with their weight to the extent I did still have to make good choices for themselves!
Maintenance the first year wasn’t hard, but it did require some analysis. I had to learn how much more food I could eat without gaining weight. I was surprised to find out that it didn’t take much more food than I had been eating at the end of my journey. I’m not a calorie counter, but it was probably only a couple hundred calories more. So a couple pieces of bread and an apple were it. That surprises a lot of people.
Maintenance is fun because you are where you have worked so hard to be! That’s the reward for all the effort, struggles, and challenges you have overcome on your journey. And it doesn’t matter whether you have lost 20 pounds or 200 pounds – the reward is just as sweet!
6). Did you exercise while losing weight, if so, what do you like to do for exercise.
I did, and that is one thing I did differently than any of the other times I had tried losing weight before. In previous diet attempts, I didn’t exercise, so this time I decided I would commit to moving my body every day.
When I first started, I could hardly walk to my own mailbox without getting winded. So I started exercising by slowly walking for 10 minutes away from my house, and 10 minutes back. I literally had to stop and catch my breath a couple of times during that excruiatingly slow walk. But the amazing thing was, that after just a couple of weeks, I could walk (albeit slowly) for 30 minutes at a time. I was amazed.
I continued walking, always increasing my speed and intensity, but not really increasing the time I walked. I didn’t have hours to exercise – I only had 30 minutes, so that’s what I did. Once I got under 200 pounds, I tried jogging. Although in my heart I’d love to be a runner, in reality, I’m a speed walker!
7). What are some tips that helped you a long the way?
If I had to break it down into my “Top 5” tips for losing weight they would be this:
– Take time to realistically assess where you are right now, and lay out some concrete goals for yourself. Write those goals down.
– Be gentle with yourself. As you make changes in your life, you will make mistakes. Instead of beating yourself up, use those mistakes as learning experiences.
– Work hard on the emotional side. This trips to many people up, because obesity isn’t just about food, but there is often an emotional component as well.
– Pick a diet plan that is life sustainable. By that, I mean a plan you can continue for the rest of your life. If you pick something that is too hard to continue long-term, you will fail.
– Look at exercise as your new best friend. You don’t have to kill yourself in the gym, but you do need to commit to exercising for the long-term.
8). Did you have people in your life that weren’t positive towards the changes you were making?
My husband and children were totally supportive. In fact, I remember one day coming out of the bedroom dressed for church. I had lost about 100 pounds, so weighed right around 200 pounds. My little daughter, who was 7 by then said, “Mommy, you’ve never looked so beautiful.” I’ll hold that memory in my heart forever.
My husband told me after I lost the weight that he thought my obesity was temporary. I told him, “Ten years is a lot of temporary!”
You asked about non-supportive people. Unfortunately, my best friend in the whole world didn’t like the changes I was making, and she and I ended up not remaining friends. She was the only person in my life who didn’t say, “Good job.” That was really hard, and even twelve years later, is still hurtful.
I’d just like to add that although it’s never an easy process to lose weight, the rewards at the end are always worth the effort!
And here are a few pictures of her success!!
A few before pictures:
AND AFTER!!!! A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!!
Thank you again Diane for being so gracious!!!