Happy Wednesday! Like I mentioned a few weeks ago, I want to weigh in on Wednesdays (like Roni) and am down one pound from 2 weeks ago. Not too shab.
Today’s WLW is about long time reader Adrian, who contacted me to share her weight loss journey. She lost over 100 pounds and now is maintaining and running and blogging at Chase Fear. In addition to being an inspiration she’s super super cute!!!
- Name: Adrian C.
- Age: 24
- Location: Port Vue, PA
- Current weight: 120 pounds
- Starting weight: 230 pounds
- Weight lost: 110 pounds
- Occupation: Recent graduate of a medical assistant program; currently seeking job
How did you view food (as comfort, solution to boredom etc)?
For me, food wasn’t a means of survival. My life became evolved around food. When I think back to my relationship with food, it’s actually quite alarming how common it is amongst today’s population. It’s no surprise to me that I often ate because I had “nothing better to do,” but I believe the root of the issue was much deeper than keeping myself busy for several moments.
Recently, I came across a quote by Ann Wigmore; “The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.” I read this quote dozens of times because it’s as if Ann knew me herself. You often hear about individuals who are addicted to drugs, alcohol, etc., but you rarely hear about food addictions. Food is cheap, easily accessible, and will always be legal, no matter the age of a person. Why? Well, we need food to survive. What we don’t need is excess. Too much of a good thing can be bad. Unfortunately, these thoughts never crossed my mind every time another morsel of food made its way to my mouth. Food was my drug of choice, and it gave me intense feelings…almost like a high. It helped to fill a void. What I didn’t know is that I was slowly killing myself.
How did you start your weight loss journey? What sparked you to start?
Upon graduating high school in 2006, at 17 years old, I knew that something had to be done if I wanted to have a fulfilling life. I was fed up with living the way I was. I made the mistake of trying a quick fix diet. I won’t name the diet, but lo and behold, it wasn’t something that I could stick with for the rest of my life. I lost 40 lbs at that particular time, but I gained it back (plus some) shortly after I continued with my previous eating habits. Feeling defeated, I assumed that I’d never lose the weight and gave up until April of 2009, the year that I started my journey to find inner peace. “Enough is enough…” I had to stop feeling sorry for myself. I knew that I couldn’t live like this forever. It was no longer an option. Where did I regain the motivation? Ironically enough, it was while I was sitting in front of the TV. Watching The Biggest Loser became a ritual of mine for a while in the beginning of 2009. I was fascinated by these brave individuals conquering what I have been struggling with for nearly my entire life. I couldn’t even dare to do what I usually did while watching television, which was mindlessly eating a pile of junk food. When I think back and realize how much I was poisoning my body with unhealthy foods, it’s no surprise that I weighed 230 lbs. I don’t blame anybody but myself. Nobody shoved the food down my throat. It was me who made the wrong choices. My parents sometimes blame themselves, but I never did. So going back to watching The Biggest Loser…the more I watched that show, the more I said to myself, “if they can do it, I can too.” And, I did. I started my journey amidst season 7. Tara Costa, a contestant on the show, was my main source of inspiration. She had an “I can do this” attitude the entire time she was on the show and I admired her for that and still do. She lost over 100 lbs, just as I did, and she’s also ran marathons and other races since she’s lost the weight. I’m a firm believer in the “if you change your attitude, you can change your life” outlook. If you can’t even believe in yourself, how do you ever expect anyone else to?
What was a typical day of food before you started your journey?
Breakfast: I would eat between 2-3 large (unmeasured) bowls of cereal. Cereal choices included sugary varieties such as Lucky Charms, Fruit Loops, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, etc. My choice of beverage was always pop (soda), usually Mountain Dew. I hated juice, water, and anything close to being healthy.
Lunch: In high school, I ate a fried chicken patty sandwich with a side of French fries every single day. Sometimes, I’d also go into the snack line and purchase a large soft pretzel with a cup of cheese. Upon graduating high school, my choices were primarily of the high fat variety – chicken strips, French fries, and cheeseburgers.
Dinner: Fast food. McDonald’s was always my first choice when it came to fast food. Before they put a halt to the super-size option, my go-to meal was a two double-cheeseburger “super-sized” meal, which naturally included French fries and a large fountain drink.
Snacks: Snacking was my biggest downfall, especially in the evening. I’d lie in bed, watching television, and mindlessly eat for hours upon hours. I could finish nearly an entire family-sized bag of Doritos and think nothing of it. I could also make a huge dent into a pint-sized Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food ice cream carton. Sometimes, I’d also wake up in the middle of the night and rummage through the kitchen for snacks, which were always unhealthy choices (brownies, cookies, chips, pop, etc.).
How’d you lose it? Did you follow a specific plan? Try a few? What worked for you?
“This is it; I’m starting tomorrow…no ifs, ands, or buts about it!” I dove into my journey headfirst with no goal, plan, and so forth. The only person that knew I was trying to lose weight at the time was my mom. I was afraid of hurting my pride if I would’ve failed after telling people about my goal. I didn’t have too much knowledge, resources or people to reach out to if I needed help along the way. It was basically me, myself, and I. It was, after all, my life that I was aiming to create.
I threw the word “diet” out of my vocabulary and focused on changing my lifestyle. That was the only way I was going to sustain permanent results. I had to make changes that I knew I could stick with for the rest of my life, most of which I learned through watching The Biggest Loser or through my own research online. I started with small, gradual adjustments to avoid becoming overwhelmed with the feeling of deprivation. The biggest surprise to me came when I discovered true portion sizes. In restaurants especially, we are often served meals on family-sized dinner plates, causing portion sizes to become distorted. First things first, I purchased measuring cups/spoons, and then I began changing my eating habits…swapping products made with white flour for the whole grain variety, drinking skim milk, eating lean cuts of meat, and including a lot more fruits and veggies with my meals. I ate three square meals per day along with a snack in between each meal. I also utilized the “out of sight, out of mind” notion in that I kept all junk food out of reach.
When I first started my journey, I didn’t exercise at all. Why? My job had a lot to do with it. I had a physically demanding job as a summer intern at Bombardier Transportation, so I didn’t really need to overwhelm my larger figure with more exertion. The weight still came off, only proving my point. Once the internship was over, I began walking with my best friend and playing Wii: Just Dance as my means of exercise. I did that until I made the decision to join Planet Fitness, a local gym. It’s basically where the 2nd leg of my journey began, which you will soon read about.
What is a typical day now that you’re maintaining?
Breakfast: 1 – 2 cups of coffee with Splenda, 1 whole grain English muffin, 1 Laughing Cow cheese wedge, 1 egg with ½ cup egg whites, and 1 medium apple
Lunch: 2 slices whole grain bread, 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter, 1 tablespoon sugar-free grape jelly, 1 cup frozen grapes, and 3 cups garden salad with 2 tablespoons light raspberry vinaigrette
Dinner: 4 oz grilled chicken breast, 1 cup brown rice or whole grain pasta, 1 cup steamed broccoli or another veggie of my choosing (Instead of pasta, I’ll also sometimes choose a medium – large baked sweet potato.)
Snacks: snack options include: 1 cup Greek Yogurt with a small banana, 1 Luna Bar, 1 cup veggies with 2 tablespoons hummus, or 1 cup whole grain cereal with 1 cup light vanilla soy milk
**My caloric intake varies throughout marathon training. For instance, 3 days prior to a scheduled long run (13+ miles), I’ll increase my carbohydrate consumption.
What’s your biggest piece of advice for someone struggling with their weight?
Get your mind ready for the battle. Your greatest opponent is yourself. When your mind tells you that losing weight is “impossible,” use that as a dare. Dare yourself to become a better you. Say to yourself, “I’m not going to disappoint anyone except for that little voice inside of my head telling me I can’t.” Next, slow and steady wins the race. Just like a marathon and racing in general, it’s important not to start out too fast because it will lead to burn out early in the race.
Also, weight loss involves behavior modification. Poor habits didn’t develop overnight, so in contrast, they won’t disappear overnight. Trust me when I say this: changing lifestyle habits isn’t easy, but I can guarantee the worth. With a triple D effort, dedication, discipline, and determination, you’ll soon find yourself heading in the right direction. The key to permanent success (keeping the weight off FOREVER) is finding the best way for you to stay on the path. Key word: YOU. What works for someone else may not work for you, vise versa. Sure, there will be wrong turns, dead ends, and unknown territories, but as long as you’re willing to find your way back, you’ll keep traveling along the road of success.
If you’d like to know more or follow my current journey, please visit www.chasefear.com!
(I have never deleted a mean comment directed toward me, but I want to encourage readers to share their stories and not be subjected to hurtful comments. So, my new policy is if you say something mean about someone else I will have to moderate. Please try to read and comment as if you are talking to a person, not a website. Thank you for understanding.)
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