I had gone to visit my doctor for some random reason, I either had a sinus infection or my asthma was acting up, and before I had a chance to speak with my MD, the nurse weighed me and told me I weight 267 lbs. I had quit buying clothes at regular stores because I would get so depressed in the dressing rooms, I had to shop at what I call "the fat girl store(s)," places where there was no size 18, 20, or 22, just 2XL, 3XL & 4XL. Yes, that was me, the fat girl shopping at the fat girl store. I remember the last number size I purchased was a size 20, I was always kind of thick, but I was usually stuck somewhere between a size 11 and 14. You can only imagine my horror each time I went up another size. I was living with my boyfriend at the time and things were going down hill, it just seemed like a dead-end relationship after five, very long, years. I guess you could say I got WAY too comfortable and in the process, I doubled my weight.
I started working for a company that paid for my gym membership, so I started going to the gym, but then when I got home I'd eat pizza, ice cream, and a lot of junk food. I could wolf down a lot of food in one sitting as though I was in an eating competition. It's safe to say that I LOVE FOOD! Before I even realized it, when I looked in the mirror I couldn't recognize the girl looking back at me. As I went to the gym, I started losing a little bit of weight here and there, nothing to shout about on the rooftops. I remember getting excited about fitting into my size 18 pants again. Size 18, can you believe it? I carried my weight well so no one could tell how fat I really was, but I knew. It was during the week of Thanksgiving and my boss had given me some extra time-off to enjoy the holiday. My boyfriend and I got in this HUGE fight and I packed up all my things and left him, everything was out by Saturday. He didn't even fight for me to stay like he normally would, not only did he just let me go, he helped me load up my things so I could leave. My heart was broken and I was devastated. I knew he wouldn't have a hard time meeting people because he was very handsome, he worked out 3-4 times a week, had an amazing body, and he was a fun guy, he just wouldn't get serious about the relationship. I would often get looks from other people like, "Damn, what's he doing with her?" But in my head, I was perfect because what I lacked in my body and looks, I made up for with my nurturing ways and sexual appetite.
A couple of days later I went back to him and begged him to take me back and he told me NO. After five years of love, sweat. and tears, he let me go... just like that. Later he said he wanted to make me weight to teach me a "lesson." A week later one of my clients from work introduced me to her brother, a personal trainer and body building competitor. Now, I know what you are thinking, how the heck did a fatty like me hook up with a hottie like that? Well, all I can say is that I have a great personality and I'm pretty damn charming. We had met up for a Christmas party and I accidentally got wasted! I felt terrible, he had to take me home at 11pm because I was so out of it. I felt humiliated and extremely stupid. I called him the next day and apologized, I explained that I had just broken up with my boyfriend and that I really hoped that he could understand that what he saw was a girl with a broken heart that was really lost, trying to pick up the pieces. He was so sweet, he totally understood and invited me to dinner, without drinks. At dinner, we had a good long talk and got to know each other. I told him that I know I am the before picture, but I would really love to be an after.
Now, not everyone can start out dating a personal trainer to lose weight, but what I learned form him was what really counts. We met in December and it all died out around Valentine's Day. It was funny, he ended up being the very needy, clingy type and I had to trick him into dumping me. Anyway, here is a mix of what he taught me and what I learned on my own...
1. Exercise is more Emotional then Physical. I noticed that I could get depressed, avoid the gym and he a pint of Ben & Jerry's Ice cream OR I could go to the gym, do some cardio and drink lots of water. Every time I went to the gym I added an extra ten minutes to my workout until I was doing an hour of cardio three times a week, in the beginning. Then I started working out with weights, as the sexy man instructed me. Three sets of twelve slow reps with a minute to relax in between reps. Once I noticed I could add more weight while working my arms and legs, I realized that it was more difficult for me to GO to the gym then it was for me to actually do the workout. I changed my diet drastically, but I will get into that in a bit, but my the time the after Christmas sales were going, I was in a tight, size 14 again. I felt like a loser when I started crying in the dressing room, but that was a beautiful thing. The best thing about shopping for new clothes is that it keeps you motivated to keep at it.
2. Just say NO! I was on a very intense diet and I don't think every one can do it because we all have different bodies and health restrictions so ALWAYS talk to your doctor before starting ANY type of diet. Here are the easy things to avoid: fried foods, sweets, and fast food. Here's the hard stuff: No dairy, No carbs, red meat once a month, No coffee, and NO cheating, with one exception, which I will tell you later. He put me on a No carb, No Dairy and No fat diet. I really had to read the labels on food now! What I ate: a lot of salads, fish, turkey and chicken, fruits: apples, berries and melons. My supplements: a multi-vitamin for women, Vitamin C, Calcium and 2-3 WHEY protein shakes a day. I learned how to portion my food; nothing more then 3-4 servings a day with 3 portions per meal no larger then my hand (chicken breasts, veggies, and fruit). The only thing I drank was water, water and more water. I stayed away from ALL sodas, All juices, and ALL alcoholic beverages. Soda was the hardest thing for me to give up because I would drink a 2 Liter of Pepsi in a day sometimes.
3. You don't know how much time you really have. I used to say that I don't have time to exercise, that was bull-caca! I found that I had more time on my hands then I knew I had. I managed to work my full time job, baby sit my sister's (4) kids a couple times a week, work out and eat right. Every morning that I had to go to work, I would wake up early and ride my stationary bike for 30-40 minutes then shower, do my hair and make-up and make it to work on time. Three times a week I worked out for 2 hours: one hour on the stair stepper or elliptical machine then worked with weights for the remaining 45 minutes, showered and went home. I baby sat three days out of the week in the evenings after work or during the weekend on occasion. I took little baggies of my measured whey protein, a couple bottled waters, my mixing cup and would drink up as fast as I could. Keeping myself busy helped me cope with my break-up as well, I was too occupied on trying to lose weight to cry about my ex. I always kept my exercise bag ready to go, and honestly, I always had a full eight hours of sleep... the good sleep, no more tossing and turning for me! The night time was the hardest to deal with after the break-up because that was when we would cuddle and give each other our run down of the day. I felt so lonely in the beginning, but after awhile, I was just to darn tired to cry for him and I would fall fast asleep.
4. Weights and Measures. I started measuring my food by serving size so I could have a better idea of how many calories I was taking in. I know it sounds pretty anal, but the results are amazing! Since I was living on my own, I was able to save money on groceries because they were lasting me a lot longer. One thing "ol' Boy" taught me was that I could put as much seasoning on my poultry as I needed, he would say: "Don't skimp out on flavor because then you won't want to eat it ever again!" I packed my own food most of the time but when I went to visit my friends and family, I would always have just a small portion of whatever they served for dinner, unless of course, it was my cheat day.
5. It's OK to CHEAT! Allow yourself one free day to eat whatever you want until you've had enough. One time, Mr. Man took me to the mall and he bought me Mrs Field's chocolate chip cookies, but the bite size ones, and I ate them until I felt sick! By the time I was done, the craving was completely out of my system and I didn't need chocolate chip cookies for a long, long time. This is your one day to enjoy anything you want, so be creative.
6. The PLATEAU. Before I knew it, in less then two months I was at a size 9/10. I felt great and it was the thinnest I had ever been since... well, ever! Some 9's were too tight, but for the most part, I fit in 10's perfectly, sometimes they were a lil baggy but it looked fine. My body changed everywhere, things were tighter, firmer, and frankly, I was smiling a lot more! I got a lot of attention from men and before you knew it, I was enjoying being single. When my ex wanted to get back together, I told him I wasn't ready! It felt great! There I was, with this new body, it wasn't perfect, but it was just enough to keep my date nights BOOKED! Unfortunately, I was stuck no matter how much I worked out, my body wasn't slimming down anymore. I stayed at a size 9/10 for a LONG time. The trick here is to change up your exercise routine. It seemed like as soon as I got the hang of things, I had to start all over again! I began using free weights with a yoga ball and went walking/jogging at a nearby lake. Sometimes, I would go to a little golf course that was 3.3 miles all the way around; I couldn't quite run a full lap, but I TRIED! All of a sudden, I found myself at a size 5/6... until I met my husband!
7. Get SUPPORT! I am a pretty thrifty person, but when I needed good running shoes and insoles, I didn't skimp out there either. I also used a waist band to make me sweat more in that area, as well as the black rubbery sweat shorts that I would wear under my work out clothes, (be sure to wear underwear underneath and don't wear them for a long time to avoid discomfort). I invested in several good sports bras, socks, t-shirts, shorts, and sweatpants so that I wouldn't have to wash my gym clothes all the time. The trick here, is to wear them a couple times, let them air dry after each use then switch.
8. The truth about the WORKOUT Buddy. Some people encourage you to find a work out buddy, and it can be nice, or maybe... not so much. If the person is an experienced health nut, you may not be able to keep up and might get discouraged. On the other hand, they can teach you new techniques and force you to push yourself harder to keep up. If you end u up with someone who isn't that motivated, perhaps your friend is a little negative about their wight loss goals, I suggest trying to offer them some support, or you can go walking with them while wearing ankle weights instead of jogging. If they ditch you too many times then maybe you should just let them be, you don't want anyone to hold you back from your fitness goals.
9. Before and After. The best thing I ever did was take before and after pictures every 6 months. It was nice to compare myself to myself. I was able to see where i needed improvement, and where I was already improving. This was the time I would evaluate my work outs to see if it was time to change it up. The Plateau kind of forces you to do so! Take your before and after pictures in a bikini or in a bra and pantie set. The poses: Left and Right profile picture (do NOT suck in your tummy but keep your back straight), front and back. Also, make sure you can see your entire body in the picture "fr
10. The SCALE. You know, the scale was never my best friend, we have a love-hate relationship. I love it when I lose weight, but I hate it the rest of the time! The best advice I can give you is: DO NOT WEIGH YOURSELF EVERYDAY! Weigh yourself in the mornings, on an empty stomach, every two weeks instead. You have to give your body a chance to study and do the homework before you give it a test.
11. Changing your diet...AGAIN. Once you have gotten halfway to your goal weight, instead of being on a fat free diet, switch it to low-fat and start adding small portions of carbs and dairy to your diet. Bananas are great in potassium, but high in sugar, so whenever I felt light headed or if I started getting cramps in my leggs or feet I started adding them into my diet. You can add a little here and there, but never over due it. When I want to live on the edge, I add a little sugar free water flavorings like Ice Tea, Lemonade, and Cran-Apple, but only to one of my drinks, usually lunch. When I eat salads, I started off with fat-free, but now I stick to light or low-fat. When I started adding bread to my diet, I stuck to light or breads that had extra FIBER. As for Mayo, I hate dry sandwiches so I always stick to lite Mayo.
12. Get regular. One of the biggest changes I noticed was in my bowel movements. When I was fat, I would only poop once a day, NOT GOOD. When I started working out, eating right and drinking a lot of water, I was pooping 3-5 times a day. Now that's what I call REGULAR! Don't take laxatives to get rid of your waste, your body can get dependant on them and it could slowyou down.
13. Be a little SELFISH. If you have a certain disease or illness that restricts you from doing a lot of exercise or eating this type of diet, do your research and talk to your doctor. For example, if you're diabetic, talk to your doctor, ask him/her about a special work out you can do and what kind of diet you need to be on? What kind of supplements can you take? Is whey protein ok? Consider investing in a Diabetic cookbook for your meals. If you're asthmatic, do your research, ask a personal trainer at the gym what kind of exercises would be safe. No matter what you have, keep taking your medication, and keep your emergency meds on stand by and easily accessible when your working out. If it is something serious, keep a cell phone handy so you can call for help.
I began my lifestyle change in December 2003 weighing about 260 lbs (or so) and by December 2005. I was 140 lbs. There is nothing more thrilling then the feeling of accomplishment after a lot of hard work. Don't beat yourself up if you're not losing all the weight right away because it takes time and commitment, just like any other relationship, except this one is ALL about YOU! Good luck!