When You Feel Beautiful, You Are Beautiful!
After a number of unsuccessful weight loss strategies, Crazypotatoe98 took matters into her own hands and finally achieved the results she wanted. She learned that a quick fix isn't always the best way, and that losing weight involves much more than just shedding excess pounds. In her story she shares with us some words of wisdom which have helped her lose 30lbs.
She contacted us through our Share Your Story feature, and provided the following answers to our questionnaire.
1. What made you decide to lose weight this time?
I gained a great deal of weight when I was unable to see my husband for six months due to immigration problems. During that time, our whole life fell apart and I was left alone to pick up the pieces. I gained at least twenty pounds during those six months, in addition to the ten pounds I had put on during our engagement and right after we were married. I had always been a "stress/emotional eater."
When we were finally reunited, I was thirty pounds overweight. For at least the first six months back together, I was frustrated by the fact that almost none of my old clothes fit and I had to wear the same pants and shirts over and over again for my new job. When I saw pictures of myself, I was horrified by how I looked -- two chins and years older than I really was. People kept asking me if I was pregnant.
Finally, I went back "home" for a visit to my old friends and parents, and since I was ashamed for them to see me so much heavier than they remembered, I decided that as soon as I got back to my new home in Mexico, it was time to start taking care of my health.
2. What other "diets" (programs, products, plans, or services) had you tried in the past?
I lost and re-gained the same ten pounds during the first three years of our marriage. I tried Slim-Fast, but the lactose intolerance made it impossible for me to digest the shakes. I also tried diet pills which didn't seem to help at all because the problem was emotional eating and the pills didn't help my emotions. I even became a member of Calorie Count in 2007, but I didn't log anything and ended up not really using the site at that time.
3. What changes did you make to your usual diet, activity, lifestyle, and attitude?
The most important change of all was to log back onto the CC site and start using the tools that were provided. I began journaling my food and feelings every day and eventually transitioned to using the food log and writing up my feelings or experiences. For lunch at work, I began bringing a salad and adding chicken and salad shaker, slivered almonds and dried cranberries to it (only 250 cals and very filling), and snacking on healthy foods that I enjoyed like grapes and low fat yogurt or carrot sticks with french onion dip. I also started faithfully exercising at home six days per week for 30 minutes with different DVDs, of which I had acquired plenty over time.
4. How did Calorie Count help you to lose weight?
It was definitely the accountability factor; knowing that people all over the world could read what I was eating and drinking, and occasionally someone would post a comment on my journal like "Too much Coke!" Also reading the forums was a tremendous help seeing that I was not alone and that success was within my grasp. If people could lose fifty, a hundred, two hundred pounds, surely I could lose thirty!
5. What was most challenging about losing weight?
I would say for starters the TIME it took. Here we are, exactly one year from where I started, and I'm still hovering around two pounds above my goal weight. In a society where instant gratification is the norm, it's hard to bide your time and be patient, although losing weight the healthy way should be a 'slow and steady wins the race' kind of attitude. Also very important: not falling into food ruts, trying to keep coming up with creative things to eat that were healthy, and avoiding the continual flow of junk food at work, which is STILL a challenge.
6. How long did it take you to see results?
When I lost two pounds my first week, I was wild with excitement because I knew that this was actually going to work. After I lost the first ten pounds, people started commenting on how much smaller I looked, and I noticed that my clothes were getting looser.
7. When did you realize that you were a success?
My goal from the start was to fit into the same skirt I was wearing the day my husband and I met, July 25, 2004. When I was able to put on that skirt on July 25, 2009, I knew that I had really made it even though I wasn't finished losing pounds quite yet.
8. How do you prevent relapse?
Creativity and variety. I'm getting tired of my old workout DVD's and have started ordering new ones, like a Bollywood workout that I just tried last week. And I did eventually get tired of a salad every day for lunch and started trying other things like soup with mixed in spinach. Also buying new clothes helps, because you don't want to sabotage yourself into not being able to wear them... you want to feel great because you know you look great! My goal now that I'm not losing pounds is to get into the best physical shape that I possibly can without joining a gym (can't join a gym for safety reasons... I live in a dangerous area and stick out like a sore thumb because I look like an American tourist) which is a great challenge. This isn't over yet!
9. How has your life changed now that you've lost weight?
I know that many people on this site have lost much more weight than me, so I can't say that my life has radically altered like theirs. But what has changed is my own self-esteem; when I started losing the weight, I started wearing clothes that I felt really flattered me, and putting on pretty shoes at work, and letting my hair grow long. Someone once said that when you FEEL beautiful, you ARE beautiful. I'm no supermodel or anything even remotely approaching it, but I know that I look the best that I can, and it's a feeling that stays with me all day and makes me happy. My husband was always attracted to me, but now he is proud and constantly tells me how beautiful I look. And most of all, I feel healthy and fit. Endorphins are wonderful things!
10. What five tips do you have for other dieters?
- I think I should say that you don't need a lot of money to lose weight and get in shape. When I started my new lifestyle, we were financially strapped, but I didn't let that get in my way. I bought heads of lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers at the grocery store, and bought cans of chicken and salad shakers to top my salads with, total cost about $1.30 per day for lunch.
- When I had to go to Food Bank and couldn't even buy the lettuce for my salad, I ate peanut butter on whole-wheat bread for lunch and snacked on apples and oranges, which are cheaper than grapes.
- I never joined a gym but instead worked out at home using workout DVD's that I bought on Ebay, and I also bought cheap hand weights at Wal-Mart.
- An exercise step cost me $20 on Ebay.
- If you're really determined enough, you won't let anything get between you and your healthier, more fabulous you!
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