100+ Pounds Lost - One Member's Weight Loss Success Story
Many of our members have managed to lose a lot of weight and significantly improve their health. Their stories are inspirational and show us that it's never too late to turn around your life and reclaim your old self-esteem, confidence, and happiness. One of those members is laurabow, who agreed to answer a few of our questions and share with us how she managed to lose over 100 pounds.
1. What made you decide to lose weight this time?
I have never been "small" before in my life, but over the years I was putting on a lot of weight and started yo-yo dieting. My health was beginning to suffer (I was diagnosed with PCOS, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure), and I felt I was wasting my early twenties. I had really low self-esteem and was becoming depressed. I switched jobs from working in a bar to an office job, and was shocked when I had to buy size 28 trousers! All these things made me lose weight.
2. What other diets have you tried in the past?
You name it, I've tried it! Weight Watchers (about 5 times!), Slimming World, Slim Fast, herbal diet pills, prescription diet pills, Cabbage Soup Diet, Watercress Soup Diet, Atkins Diet, Low GI Diet, "celebrity diets," diets in magazines, 1000-Calories-a-Day diet... the list is endless!
3. What changes did you make to your usual diet, activity, lifestyle and attitude?
While working in a bar I used to eat lots of junk food and late night take-aways like fried chicken and pizza. I also used to drink a lot of cider (sometimes 10+ pints in one sitting). Those were the first things I gave up. I then started eating regular meals throughout the day, rather than scoffing all my calories in 1 huge meal. I started drinking more water, ate lots of vegetables, lean meat and fish, and substituted brands and products for the lowest fat varieties. I cut down on starchy white carbs (bread, potatoes, rice and pasta) without giving them up. Once I'd lost about 30 pounds, I found it easier to exercise and started doing home workout DVDs, along with crunches and small weights. When I got down to around 245, I finally got the confidence to join the gym and go swimming.
4. How did Calorie Count help you lose weight?
I stumbled across CC while searching online for the calories in my meal. I joined and used it primarily to search and record the calories in my food. I then discovered the groups and forums, which are just amazing! You can meet so many like-minded people who share the same struggles. If it wasn't for the support, kindness and motivation from other people on CC, I'm not sure I could have come this far. There's nothing like having a good rant on your journal to get things off your chest!
5. What was most challenging about losing weight?
I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome which makes you gain weight due to the hormonal imbalances. It is so hard at times trying to lose weight when your body thinks it should be gaining! I have also had some long long plateaus (up to 3 months), where it seems absolutely impossible to shift any weight. Also, the more weight you lose the harder and slower the losses become - which can get very frustrating.
6. How Long did it take you to see results?
I was very annoyed when I first started losing, as although the scales and numbers were moving - I couldn't see any difference in the mirror. I started to notice after 24 pounds. I had gone down a dress size and cup size, and had lost a few inches. Very close friends and family noticed the early losses more, whereas people who I didn't see regularly, acquaintances and work colleagues didn't comment until I'd lost a significant amount (55+ pounds).
7. When did you realize that you were a success?
I realized that I was successful when I reached my 100 pound loss. That was a major goal which I was never confident I would reach. I feel successful every time I go into a regular (non plus size) shop and try on clothes that fit! Or beat my records in running/in the gym.
8. How do you prevent relapse?
The main way I prevent relapse is to allow myself "cheat days" and regular treats. Without these I would totally fall off the wagon and end up stuffing my face as I had done so many times in the past. I also keep pictures of myself at my largest, and an old size 28 pair of jeans to remind myself of how far I've come. I still get days when I am frustrated and it seems I have a long way to go but I put on the jeans (which can now fit two of me in) and it makes me feel better.
9. How has your life changed now that you've lost weight?
- I have more self confidence, I still have issues and it will take a long time to get out of the "bubbly fat friend" mentality but it is definitely a LOT more improved.
- I can sit on chairs without fear of breaking them!
- I can fit in aircraft seating!
- My fitness is so much improved I can walk miles without getting tired, run up and down stairs etc.
- I no longer have sore knees. I used to suffer terribly with osteoarthritis caused by being obese.
- I can wear nice clothes that I want to wear rather than buying clothes from plus size stores because that is all I can fit into.
- My thighs no longer chafe!
- I don't have to spend a fortune on larger bras.
- My health is generally all round much improved. I have a normal blood pressure, I do not have the risk of diabetes anymore, my joint pain is gone.
- I have a much higher chance of being able to conceive now I weigh less, should I wish to have children in the future.
10. What five tips do you have for other dieters?
- Use CC! Make use of the support around you available in the forums, groups and journals.
- Allow yourself treats and "cheat days." It sounds like a contradiction, but you need these to stay on track.
- Avoid buying ready made or processed foods, which contain lots of hidden nasties (sodium, sugar, fats, colorings, additives) - make your own sauces, dips, dressings, etc. from low fat ingredients in bulk. A lot of these will keep in jars or can be frozen.
- Pile your plate with vegetables and salads! Just because you are dieting doesn't mean you should be hungry. Fill up on plenty of low cal, low fat sides.
- Take supplements! I cannot stress this enough. Although you may think you are getting a balanced diet, prolonged dieting and weight loss can lead to deficiencies in important vitamins and minerals.
Have you achieved success with Calorie Count for weight loss and better health? Share your tips, challenges and inspiration.