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Calorie Count Blog

The Light Bulb Moment

By Sheila on Jun 08, 2009 12:00 PM in Success Stories

This week's featured member is Terry2fish who came to the realization that she needed to lose weight and take control of her health problems.  She has been able to reduce her weight from 200lbs to an amazing 135lbs. 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 realized finally that the health problems I was having were only going to get worse if I didn't take control of my weight. I had allowed myself to believe that I was doing all I could and that my body was just not going to get thinner and that in fact "I didn't need to lose any weight". I saw a woman on The Biggest Loser who I related to and that was when it clicked that indeed I was FAT and only fooling myself. It was the kick in the pants that jarred me into reality.

2. What other "diets" (programs, products, plans, or services) had you tried in the past?

Since I was in my teens I have tried various diets including but not limited to Atkins, Weight Watchers (back 30 years ago), and any number of fad type lose weight fast diets.

3. What changes did you make to your usual diet, activity, lifestyle, and attitude?

I started by incorporating daily exercise. I added to that by cutting out soda and fast foods. Then when I had mastered those changes I cut out processed carbs. At this point I still was not losing weight but was feeling better. I had lost the cravings for sweets and white bread. That is when I realized that I would have to go the distance and actually count calories if I really wanted to regain my health and fitness. Counting calories for me was the last step and the one that I had dreaded most. I am an accountant so I made a spread sheet to track my daily food intake and my exercise. I joined Calorie Count and found ways to make my spreadsheets even better. I also found support and others who like me were on the road to fitness and enjoying it. I made a point to make my journey one that was uplifting to me and not drudgery. I learned to enjoy food more in small portions, savoring every bite and not just devouring mass quantities. The most important change was realizing that my bodies mechanism for feeling satisfied or full and feeling hungry was out of whack and that I needed to consciously monitor and control my intake. The rest of my family is not over-weight. They eat when they feel hungry and stop when they feel full. All my life I had believed that I should be able to do that also. That is how I got to be 200 lbs. I am like the alcoholic, I can't have just one drink like other people. Now that I know this I can work with my body and not against it.

4. How did Calorie Count help you to lose weight?

Calorie Count provided support with the forums and the calorie logs to help me with the hardest part of the process for me which was counting calories. It was hard because I didn't want to have to limit myself in that way. I wanted to believe that I could eat the right foods and exercise and my body would know when I had had enough and I would feel full and stop eating. Now I am used to counting calories and some days I don't have to actually mark it all down in my log. I don't however rely on my body to say when I have had enough.

5. What was most challenging about losing weight?

I think the real question is not "What WAS most challenging" but What IS most challenging. The challenge is to remember everyday that this is my NEW life as a healthy fit person and that I do not want to go back to being the over-weight lifeless blob that I had become. My life is in my control now and the challenge everyday is to remember that I must choose each day to take care of myself. The rewards are endless but the temptations to slide back to nothingness are still there. Some days the temptations are easy to ignore. Other days they test my medal. There are days when I fall and skin my knees and remember why I need to listen to the little voice that was telling me not to eat the second helping. But now I know that when I do fall and skin my knee, I can and will pick myself up, dust myself off, bandage the knee and move on, with out beating myself up or sitting there crying feeling helpless to go on anymore.

6. How long did it take you to see results?

Once I started counting calories I saw results the first week. My journey began a good two years before that though when I started exercising regularly. I began to see results within a month as I was able to walk farther than just around the block without being short of breathe. Then when I started cutting out soda and fast food it took a good year before I didn't crave them anymore. It is a wonderful thing to drive past a fast food place, I had to drive by my favorite fast food place everytime I went out, and not feel called to stop and get something.

7. When did you realize that you were a success?

There have been little successes all along the way. Being able to walk five miles, going three months without soda, being able to step up into the raised garden bed without a step stool and the support of the fence, to fit in a size 4 dress for my son's wedding, and most recently to run a mile without stopping, have all been major milestones for me. I look in the mirror and I still have body image issues though I am working on those. I knew I was where I wanted to be when I was able to take care of my 9 month old grandson for three days. There is a reason that we have children when we are young. They are a lot of work. Three years ago I was younger but not as fit as I am today. I couldn't have taken care of a baby for three days without major strain. Now I was able to push him in his stroller while holding the dog on a leash for my morning walk. I did all the things that my daughter does with him during the day and then some special grandma things and still had energy leftover at the end of the day. That was truly when I knew I was a success!

8. How do you prevent relapse?

I prevent relapse like recovered alcoholic do. I take each day as it comes living in the present moment. I remember each morning who I am and who I want to be. I remember that I have limitations in this physical body that I must deal with in order to remain comfortably functioning in this body. My relationship with food is an area of weakness that I must monitor each day and remain conscious of.

9. How has your life changed now that you've lost weight?

I feel alive and in control of my life. I have energy to do the things I love as well as the things I must. I enjoy everyday and feel good when I wake up each morning. I get up each morning looking forward to the day.

10. What five tips do you have for other dieters?

  • Be honest with yourself about who you are and who you want to be.
  • Consider your relationship with food and exercise and what
    benefits you get from those relationships.
  • Find someone who has the level of fitness and health that you
    desire and explore their relationship to food and exercise to help you
    be more honest about yourself.
  • Remind yourself each morning of the new person you are. The one
    that is fit and healthy that has the relationship with food and
    exercise that is right for you.
  • Believe in yourself because you are all you have!


If you would like us to feature your success story, you can submit it here. The most insightful stories will be featured on this blog and in the weekly "Success Stories" newsletter.


Thanks for sharing your Light Bulb Moment Terry, I have just had mine, I too weighed 200, and am working hard to get down to 135 like you. I realise that it can be done however long it takes and hope like you I will make my goal weight one day.

Thank you for sharing, very inspiring!

beautifully written, sheila. i remember when you joined! congratulations, and kudos for all your support for the rest of us.

i am still maintaining, as well, and since reaching my goal in august '06 have made it my goal to be at that weight each year on my birthday.  this august, if i get down a couple more pounds, i'll make it again, at age 63.  and so, i'm back to logging again for a while. . .

it IS wonderful to have energy and feel good.

thanks again for all you have done!

Comment Removed

Thank you for your story.  I, too, weighed 200 pounds three years ago.  I have managed to lose 35 pounds, but the last 20 I am having a mell of hess loosing!  I am at the point when I need to exercise every day, not just three days a week and I am having a time making that commitment. I have managed to keep my calorie count down (with a few slips!) but for the life of me, I cannot get below 163.  I know what to do; I will think of your effort and get it in gear.  Thanks again.


I had my "light bulb" moment about a month or so ago during my last doctor's visit: during the obligatory weigh-in I was shocked to see that I had hit 245!  I had a long, frank conversation with my physician about what health problems were looming on the horizon (based on blood tests as well).

I decided right in that office that I was never going to eat the same way again.  Since that time I have dropped almost 25 lbs and am loving it (yes, I'm a male).

I agree with many of Terry's responses - and for me, losing weight is more of a lifestyle change than anything else.  It involves a lot of psychological changes, discipline, exercise, etc.  I had never before supposed that I would make such changes, and I believe that most people who need to lose weight won't do so unless they have their own "lightbulb moment". 

It will be a while before I'm at the weight range I want.  Like Terry, I have my "off" meals or days.  Like she said, I've benefitted greatly from simply "dusting myself off" and getting back to work. 

Thanks again for sharing...

I can relate to your story and I feel inspired to renew my dedication to losing weight.  Thank you!

From reading Terry's account it feels that the weight loss is secondary to the development of her strength of character and belief in herself.  She has done a brilliant job getting her life back on track and is an inspiration to others, me included!

Thanks Terry2fish for you honesty. I too am 201 lbs and am upset for letting myself go. I have health problems and need to loose weight. Your story is an inspiration to me. I need to excersize more. I started (like you) with the food cut backs in drive throughs, but need to get more control over my intake of food (even thought I am now eating the right things). Do you have a sample of the chart you used for your food? I am glad you put your story on. It's given me the push I need.


What a great success story!  I love that line where you say


I take each day as it comes living in the present moment. I remember each morning who I am and who I want to be.


This, I think is key to so many areas of life - just great! 


I too would be interested to see your food spreadsheet idea...sounds interesting.

Hi Everyone I am a 61 year old male, on my last visit to the hospital that was on the 28th of May they weighed me and I was 231lbs= 16 stone 7lbs.  I must admit that was quiet a shock to me, it was my light bulb moment, so as it happens there was a programme on the BBC 10 things you need to do to lose weight and the number one was to keep a check on you calories. I have an Iphone and there is an app for doing just that, its called Tap and Track so using that I find it so easy to log my calorie intake after putting all my data into it, and so far its being successful today the 8th of June my weight is 219 lbs= 15 stone 9 lbs so that's a 12 lb loss so far I am delighted to say. Also I no longer eat after 6pm, and that again has been I believe helpful, my target weight is 13 stone so here's hoping.   

thank you for the post.  i too am like a recovering alcoholic.  my favorite saying is, "Every day I wake up and I am war with food.  Some days I am on the front line with a bag of carrots, and some days I am in a foxhole with a bag of brownies."  I have to remember that each day is new beginning to with that day's battle.  A book you may enjoy reading about dealing with the compulsion to overeat is The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite by David Kessler.  VERY insightful book.  Again, thank you for your insight.  I especially appreciate your honesty about not depending on your body to tell you when you have had enough but rather the calorie count.  You wrote: 

"The rest of my family is not over-weight. They eat when they feel hungry and stop when they feel full. All my life I had believed that I should be able to do that also. That is how I got to be 200 lbs. I am like the alcoholic, I can't have just one drink like other people. Now that I know this I can work with my body and not against it."

You have said it so well.  I still have a hard accepting the reality that I will always have to deal with the compulsion to overeat.  Some days I am tired of dealing with it, so I appreciate knowing I am not alone. 

Sheila, you look fabulous and it sounds like you feel wonderful, too.  I really enjoyed the part of your story about your being able to care for your grandchild for three days and also taking your grandson on a walk in a stroller with the dog.  That is a big accomplishment! Thanks for sharing your story.  It is helpful to hear about another person who feels that food is like an addiction.  I feel the same way.  I have such a hard time saying no and I also find that I don't feel full until I have eaten too much.  One way I have been successful is just to eat small meals or snacks throughout the day and just eliminate processed carbs from my regular meals in lieu of vegetables.  It's tough, but it seems to be working. I also exercise every day.  I am 11 lbs from my goal of 135 having gone up and down again over the past year.  This is a life-long struggle for me. 

Best of luck and keep up the good work!

Original Post by: despinamb

Sheila, you look fabulous and it sounds like you feel wonderful, too.  I really enjoyed the part of your story about your being able to care for your grandchild for three days and also taking your grandson on a walk in a stroller with the dog.  That is a big accomplishment! Thanks for sharing your story.  It is helpful to hear about another person who feels that food is like an addiction.  I feel the same way.  I have such a hard time saying no and I also find that I don't feel full until I have eaten too much.  One way I have been successful is just to eat small meals or snacks throughout the day and just eliminate processed carbs from my regular meals in lieu of vegetables.  It's tough, but it seems to be working. I also exercise every day.  I am 11 lbs from my goal of 135 having gone up and down again over the past year.  This is a life-long struggle for me. 

Best of luck and keep up the good work!

Just to clarify, Terry2fish is who has lost the weight and is this week's featured member.

Best of luck and keep up the good work

Best of luck and keep up the good work

Terry2fish - Thank you for your story.  I too am on a similar journey and have lost 4 lbs, exercising and watching closely what I eat.  I had pizza yesterday and it was not even that good to me anymore!  I feel that I am coming along and will, one day reach my goal.  Thanks again for being an inspiration so I know, I too can be where you are someday!

You look wonderful! Like you've always been tall and svelt your whole life! What a transformation you created! Good job and thanks for sharing your inspiring story, your words of encouragement and your example.

Thank you soooo much.  I have also tried countless diets and have lost the weight with some, but to gain it back again.  Then last year I encountered several medical problems that distracted me from a 30 lbs losing streak.  I regained that weight plus 10 more.  It was heart wrenching.  Since then I have logged my food intake on Calorie counter and exercise daily.  I have already lost 17 lbs.  Yet after reading your story, I am really encouraged to go the distance.  I also will tweak my life habits also.  I eat whole grains, but I must limit my intake of sweets, although I have changed from mile chocolate to dark.  Every now and then I crave M & M's.   Once again, thank you and congratulations. 

Thank you for your story.  It is truly inspiring and gives me hope to keep losing weight.  Using calorie count has helped me realize what I have been doing wrong.  I have lost 20 pounds and on my way to losing 20 more.

I so appreciate your sharing your success with us...each story is so inspiring!I have always had a pretty easy time balancing my weight, but after my last child (9th pregnancy) was born 7 years ago, and I lost the pregnancy weight, I did a rebound and gained a lot. I was going through a very hard emotional time, and am still in a great deal of transition. I tend to overeat when I am feeling overwhelmed (my way of keeping grounded), so with so much to do, and so many people to care for, I do tend to feel overwhelmed a lot.

I have what I think was my aha! moment a few weeks ago, when I read CC's article on our relationship to our mothers and their food issues. My mother is quite overweight and has always fought  and struggled with emotional eating. It scared  me to think that I am handing these issues to my kids now. Also, I recently moved overseas and realized that 99% of the clothes that I packed fit me 40-45 lbs. ago! that's denial!!! I refuse to believe that they won't fit me again, and live in the same 5-6 outfits now that I am overweight. The last part of that aha! trilogy came when my sister in  law said "of course you'll lose the weight, you always do". It's true- I always do (30-60 lbs each pregnancy), why haven't I this time?

I don't eat fast food, I don't drink soda, I am addicted to sweets, and try not to buy them except for weekend treats. I have excercised 4-6 times a week for 17 years. I go through periods of eating everything in sight, but then I go through other times when I eat 3 moderate meals a day, and stop by 7 p.m. At those times I am very in tune with my hunger signals.

I have seen that diets don't work well, as I rebel against them within a few days. I have tried calorie counting, but rebel within a week at the longest. I believe that I am tuned to my hunger signals- I just override them a lot, and I think that there must be a way to build that . Has anyone ever had success with mindful eating? I am VERY free flow, and not at all into numbers, and graphs, and data, etc. I think that that is why counting calories is so hard for me.

"I do believe, I do , I do" (as the cowardly lion said in the Wizard of Oz). I believe that what we are looking for is inside of us. We just have to realize it, and find our own yellow brick road...

I absolutely enjoyed this light bulb moment.  Congradulations on your success.  Exactly what I needed to finish the day!

Wow! What an inspirational share. I'm in tears reading it because it so wonderfully captures what your challenges and successes were and are and because I identify so closely with what you wrote.

I've just printed it and have posted it on my bulletin board so that it's there for me all the time. 

Thank you, thank you. It helps this day be better. 


wow thats is just amazing

can you please help me aswell please

to lose weight

i am soo worried about my seld

i think you are the only one who can help me

Baby steps will get the job done too! I did this without going to the gym or having a trainer. I just walked my dog daily increasing the time and distance I walked as it was comfortable. The hardest part for me was to make the commitment to actually do it! Even my commitment came in baby steps, first I committed to walking everyday, then to walking 30 minutes each day, then to 45 etc. Later I committed to giving up sodas. Each step was one I knew I could do with only minor discomfort.

Make your journey fun for you! Don't bite off more than you can chew today. That way you will not set yourself up for failure. Be kind to yourself and forgiving. We all fall down and skin our knees, but to reach our goals we must get up and go again as if the falling was just part of the game! This is not a short term quick fix weight loss you are looking for, it is a life change that will result in a fit and healthy body and lifestyle!

My name is Terry...Sheila is the lady that puts these blogs together. You can read my journal to hear more about my journey.

Thank you so much for your inspiring story.  I love how you frame your relationship with food like an addiction which must be monitored.  Also, the powerful morning meditation of choosing the way you want to treat your self and your body each day.  Thank you, and congratulations.

Congrats to you. It's really a major success. And thanks for your tips -- some really sage insights. 

Enjoyed Terry2fish success story.  Before I could finish reading it I email my daughter a copy to read.  Thanks for sharing.  I decided to take control of my weight problem on 5/18/09.  Since 4/1/09, I have lost 12 pounds, which is only a beginning.

I now allow myself 1500 calories a day and as much water as I can drink.  Counting calories and watching portion sizes has help so much.  I went out and purchase scales and a measuring cup because I did not feel comfortable using the eyeball method.  It is essential to measure and weight your food.

Staying busy has helped me to reframe from snacking.  Therefore, in the afternoon when I feel the urge to snack, I put my tennis shoes on and head for the garage (that's where I keep my threadmill) or take a 45 minutes walk throughout the neighborhood.  When I finish all I want to do is gulp down as much water as I can and the hunger is a thing of the past.

12 pounds is only my beginning, I can't wait until I check my weight on next Monday (the only day I allow myself to get on the scales) to see what I have done through counting calories.

can you please tell me exactly what to eat everyday Undecided

and i am 13 and my weight is 60 Frown

and i am so worried about my future life Cry

thank you sooooooooo much Cool

Wow.  Thanks for sharing your story!   Very inspirational and quite motivating. 

Beautiful and inspiring story--you shared feelings that many of us have about our bodies and our relationship to food...your tips and suggestions are motivation to continue this journey!

You really hit home for me when you said that the quality of your health dramatically improved and that you are able to enjoy so many more things...all of the things that are so precious in our later lives...

Thanks for sharing and keep up the good work--you look great!

Thanks for sharing, your story is an inspiration.  I have struggled with my weight since I was a teenager and with kids, husband, full time job, and loads, loads of life stress my weight struggle became a dragging defeat. I had my wake up call about a month ago while at a company party and i realized just how much I had eaten. I hated myself for that becuase i knew I didn't need it and really didn't want it, but i too have that problem where I do not feel full, i just go till i can no longer take another bite.  I adapted the one day at a time motto, just as any member in NA or AA, and still will have inner turmoils where i want to partake in eating the food, but will not allow myself.  I have one very vivid memory of making myself cry for wanting to eat a package of cookies, that will haunt me forever(I did not eat the cookies though).  I have started a food log and counting calories and am happy to say that I have lost about 14lbs. Thank you for sharing your story, it gives me hope that I too can have a bright outcome to my daily struggles.

Nice piece, very motivating and very refreshing.



your story is so inspiring - thank you for taking the time to share it with us. I plan on having the same success you have fought to acheive. I'm starting my journey today at 225 lbs because of a lot of pain both physical and mental. My back aches, I have foot problems and now I can't sleep for more that about 6 hours because it makes my ribs hurt! I've felt lost for so long and I'm miserable because I  can't stop eating. However, today I'm making the choice to improve my life and be here for my little boy. Keep up the good work!

Thanks for sharing. I just started calorie count about 5 weeks ago. Since then I have lost 8 pounds!!! I am so thrilled about it. You're right...changing your eating habits and staying in touch with cravings is key.

Terry, you look wonderful. Well done. I am totally inspired by you. I have just joined and feel very excited. I particularly liked your attitude about the journey of weight loss being exciting rather than a drudge - that appeals to me big time.



Karen from Dublin, Ireland

Thanks for sharing.  


I was 190, and I need to go to 140.  You have a very similar weight problem.  

I am just beginning, I am 184, and I am finally losing!

I say to you, stay on some sort of maintenance program, whether it be here, or another site, and don't let your weight slip back!




Be honest with yourself about who you are and who you want to be.

That is what I say to myself every morning! I have been pregnant 3 times since 2006 and before that i had just lost 40lbs. I had one miscarriage, and two beautiful children.

But I was so overweight. I just started using Calorie Count June 1st. Like you I had cut out Soda, Fast food. My start weight was 220lbs and today I am 211lbs. I feel great already. I have 51 lbs to go!


Thanks for Sharing your story

Thank you for the positive input. It helps so much to read success stories. You are an inspiration. Thanks.

TO CARLEY COPPER>>>>I have commented positively on Terry's outstanding success before and find her example so so impressive and motivating. This latest comment from CARLEYCOPPER is making me smile because I am happy to read of her success too. I know a young woman who gave birth 4 months ago and have been so amazed to see her success in her goals. She is to date a remarkable 75 whole pounds lighter than delivery day, but she doesn't like to count the approximate 20-25 lbs of what she calls birth weight, but still amazing huh? 50ish pounds in under 4.5 months with a newborn! are doing it too and I just think any of you new Moms out there are so impressive in what you are doing. I remember after my third child & him being 6 months old standing in front of the mirror and crying on the phone to my Mom asking "it isn't just going to melt off ? I laugh at that now, but at the time they sure were real This was 25 yrs ago and I knew NOTHING about weight loss at that time, but I learned and I lost all that weight once I started and did it between Jan-Sept. Took me 9 months to do it which is much slower than what I see others doing it, but with todays on line information and sites like this we can all learn so so much. The point of my comment is to praise CarleyCopper share other "new Mom stories" to keep let her know of other success stories and encourage her to follow in the footeps of people like Terry who is indeed such an incredible example. It can be done and you are doing it CarleyCopper and you are well on your way to your goal and joining the ranks of people like Terry here!!! Way to go to all you new Mom's out there!!!! All of us Grandma types are smiling and nodding our heads being proud of you! :)

Way to go, girl! It sounds as if you not only have your body in order but also your mind! Keep on agoin!

Wonderful! I enjoyed your post, as well as others. I am so happy that I found this site. I have just started, this is my third day and I find that everything I need to be successful is here, all in one spot. I have the same temptations with fast food and soda. It is good to know I am not alone. I plan to make a "no fast food" sign to hang in my car, should I me tempted. I also like the spreadsheet option to speed posting.  What a blessing to have such a support group at my fingertips.

Reading these archives this AM - thank you..I really needed your story today. Someone I know passed away on Friday and I ate all weekend. Ready to start anew this Monday morning.

What a wonderful story. I just joined today and I am very excited about my new journey. I am working reeeaaalllly hard to stop smoking. I know that I keep on this path, the cigs will be a thing of the past.


Thank you so much for sharing your truth!

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This is such a great success story and I can really relate!

I've lost 22 lbs. with 20 more to go.  I've also given up sodas, fast food & most processed food.  I drink lots of water and exercise for an hour 6 days a week.  But I'm terrible at counting calories.  I'll start off the day so motivated and when the evening rolls around I don't want to tally another number & feel like tossing the whole journal. 

Does anybody have suggestions on how to keep counting calories at night when you're hungry and tired and don't care anymore?

thanks, elaine


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