Starting weight: 235
Current weight: 155
Total time it took to lose the weight: 11 months
My weight-loss wakeup call: I was waking up in the morning feeling like I hadn’t slept at all. When I talked to my husband about it, he told me I had been snoring more than usual. My doctor ordered a sleep study, and I found out that I had developed obstructive sleep apnea. Around the same time I was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome. Left unmanaged, both OSA and PCOS can increase your risk of heart disease and diabetes. My weight gain was no longer just a vanity issue. I had to do something.
How I did it: Perry O’Hearn of Philly Phitness offered to train me three times a week for six months. We did a lot of weight training, but he also taught me how to use my body for resistance. On my own, I worked on my cardiovascular health using MapMyRun to track my progress as I took on a running program.
My favorite app was MyFitnessPal for food tracking. Once I had all the nutrition goals tweaked to my needs and a bank of the regular foods I ate, I was able to speed through my entries. I think what blew my mind the most was how much salt and sugar I had been eating. Hitting my goals and staying on target became a game. I remember saying, “I won MyFitnessPal today!” and high-fiving my husband at the end of the day.
The moment I realized I was succeeding: My sweet-hearted brother-in-law had bought me a Flyers t-shirt in a size small. I was at least a XXL at the time. I never got around to exchanging it, and it sat in my drawer untouched for two years. I was looking for something else when I stumbled upon it and thought, “Why not? Let’s give it a try.” The shirt fit perfectly. That was a really big moment for me.
The biggest obstacles I had to overcome: I was a recreational and convenience eater: fast food, takeout, delivery. There isn’t anything wrong with grabbing a bite out here and there, but that can’t be your only source of nutrition. I had to take control of what I was putting into my body and that meant preparing more of my own meals. This was tricky because I didn’t have a dishwasher at the time and after a hard workout the last thing I wanted to do was dishes! I was able to find a way around that obstacle by becoming good at one-pot meals. Just like MyFitnessPal, preparing one pot meals became a game. You have to make it fun.
My three best tips for anyone trying to lose weight:
1. Proper footwear is always important, but it is especially important if you are carrying extra weight. Have a pair of sneakers for aerobics and a pair for strength-training. I treated myself to new shoes as a reward halfway through my weight loss, and I could not believe what I had been missing.
2. If you really cannot give up your meals out, aim for places with online nutrition calculators and plan your meals before you go. Empower yourself and make informed choices.
3. Many people will say there is no secret except to eat right and exercise. That camp is undoubtedly correct — however, there’s more to the story. Consistency, consistency, consistency. I cannot say it enough. Even if the weight isn’t falling off as fast as it is for Linda in accounting, keep at it. Don’t quit.
The one thing I would say to my old self: You are stronger and more capable than you think you are.