Meet Maria, the latest Run, Eat, Repeat reader to share her Weight Loss Victory story…
Pounds lost: I lost 80lbs
How long did it take: It took me roughly 2 years
Location: I was born in St Louis, Missouri, moved around the
country and (sadly) ended up back in St Louis!!
Occupation: MOMMY FIRST, but I am currently holding MANY positions:
Child Care Center Nutrition Program Assistant, Healthy Living Blogger and
What was the motivating factor that got you started on your weight loss
journey? Was it one thing or a series of events?
I had "planned" on losing weight for a long time. I was never truly obese,
but always carried more weight than my 5 foot 4 inch frame should have. On
February 7, 2001 everything changed because I gave birth to my first
daughter. I knew the minute she was born that I had to make a total life
change because I didn’t want her to go through the same struggles
throughout her life as I had in mine.
What do you think was the one most important change you made? How did it
help? Can you keep this up for life?
I made two very important life changes. First I became a vegetarian. I
noticed a change in how I felt almost immediately. I felt more awake, more
energetic, not so sleepy and not so sluggish. I began to slowly notice a
change in my body over time too because as a vegetarian your choices are
more healthy to begin with (vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, etc)
Obviously you can still find indulgent and unhealthy vegetarian options,
but your main staples consist of healthier options. I stopped eating at
fast food places because there wasn’t anything I could eat as a vegetarian.
I began to notice that even restaurant salads came with meat on them. My
overall perception of food changed when I made the switch. I liked how it
made me feel.
Then I began to exercise by walking at first then slowly moving into
running and lifting weights and I knew my life was changed for the better!!
The weight began to fall off and over the course of the two years I
continued to make one healthy choice after another and pretty soon I didn’t
have to think about them anymore. The healthy choices were all I even
I know that I can keep this up for the rest of my life because I have to.
I am the female role model my (now 2) daughters look at and I want to be a
healthy role model. I don’t want to seem obsessed so I walk a fine line,
but they know that healthy choices are important and why. They know it’s
not about vanity for me that it is all about being healthy and the best
"me" I can be.
How did you change your eating habits?
Becoming a vegetarian is the biggest change I made, but I am from a very
southern family and EVERYTHING (even the vegetables) are fried or covered
in gravy or cooked in butter. I began making smaller changes in that area
as well. I would bring my own food to family functions or offer to bring a
large vegetarian option as a side dish for everyone that would count as a
meal for me. Slowly my family and my husband’s family realized that this
wasn’t a phase or some crazy diet and they got on board. I still bring my
own food to functions, but there is always something there for me to eat
that someone else has made and I feel good knowing that I’ve rubbed off
(even if just a little) on my family in a healthy way.
How did you change your exercise habits?
I was a couch potato!! I started out slow, walking the block or the high
school track and then I would walk further distances. Eventually I started
jogging to the stop sign and then I would jog around the corner and so on.
I ended up getting a job at a local health club working the spa desk and a
free gym membership came as a perk. I would go into work early so that I
could work out and then shower before clocking in. It was a great perk even
if the pay was terrible!!
How do you plan to maintain these healthy habits?
I sign up for races here and there with my husband. My daughter (9 years
old) are running our first 10k in April to raise money for the ASPCA and
I’m currently training to run my first half marathon. I no longer work at
the health club so exercising in the winter becomes more challenging, but I
have great work out DVD’s like 30 Day Shred, Crunch Pilates and Yoga that I
can do early in the morning in my pajama’s before my family even wakes up.
I will be glad when the cold is gone and the sun is shinning again because
I do miss running outside with my ipod and my thoughts!
Do you have any tips for RER readers who want to lose weight?
Take it slow. Crash diets and pills and all these crazy things I see
advertised aren’t going to help you in the long run. Make an appointment
with yourself to do at least 30 minutes of some form of exercise 5 days a
week. If I write it down in my planner then I’ve got that appointment
scheduled and I cannot cancel on myself!! If I don’t value my time and my
health then why should anyone else. As far as diet goes agree to make one
healthy choice everyday for 6 days and reward yourself with one treat at
the end of the week. Then the next week agree to make two healthy choices
and so on. Eventually you won’t have to even think about making the healthy
choice. You will want to make the healthy choice so as not to interfere
with all your hard work!
Congratulations Maria and thanks for sharing your story with us!
You can find Maria online at Real Fit Mama.
If you have a weight loss success story you’d like to share please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.