We’ve all been there, those days when losing those extra pounds and getting healthy just seems like a uphill battle. It could be because you’ve overweight so long, it’s hard to imagine a slimmer you. Perhaps you’ve been through life has put you through the mill a bit and weight loss has taken a back seat. Whatever the reason, we all need to know someone has been where we are, and has come through it not just well, but winning!
We at Healthy Fit Tips had the pleasure of interviewing Julie who has kindly shared her weight loss triumph. By her own admission, it wasn’t always easy, but here she tells what it took to help turn her weight and health around for good.
Were you always overweight?
I have been fat all of my life. Well, maybe not at birth, but soon after. My whole family was thin, so you can imagine how that went over time….My mother was obsessed about my weight. I was put on a diet around age 5, and wasn’t allowed to have seconds or desserts. Subsequently, my mother would ﬁnd me in the closet (literally, no joke) gobbling up any hostess cakes that were in the house. These were actually reserved for my siblings lunches—not my lunch, because I always got 1/2 of a sandwich and something green and inedible to eat. Worst thing was, I couldn’t even trade out my lunches – no one would touch them.
Reason I gained weight?
I was freaking hungry all the time, like from birth. As I got older I ate my feelings of inadequacy and embarrassment—it was enjoyable and made me feel good. I binged in bad times. I binged in good times.
What was my starting weight?
I was a fat pre-teen, a fat teen and an even bigger fatter adult. Between 39 and 40 I had ballooned to approximately 300 pounds (give or take—I always went on a diet before I went to the doctors so that I would be a slim 297….).
Eventually I decided to make some changes and get a gastric bypass. My doctor was on board, and away I went to the classes, where I learnt how to eat, what to do, yada yada yada. I went to the classes. I got blood work. And at the pre-pre op I spoke again to my general practice doctor who was so excited about me having the gastric bypass, he even gave his stamp of approval to have it done.
However, I was so NOT excited about it! Don’t eat sugar. Eat super small portions. You may be super nauseated at times. Your hair will fall out. You will have vitamin deficiencies most likely. Wow, what great selling points….NOT!
I came home from that visit despondent and knew that I couldn’t live without cake for the rest of my life. So I called it oﬀ and never went back to the doctor for my referral. I accepted my fatness and ﬁgured I would be debilitated, by 50 and I’d need a walker, cane, oxygen, and any other medical equipment my insurance company doles out, and can I get a side of diabetes with that too?
How did take your mind off your disappointment?
I went on this girls cruise (probably my last, I thought, since I could barely hike up a set of stairs) with a group of hot girls. Like, “I wear a bikini, look at me” kind of hot girls. I was relegated to just being the fat friend who cock blocked for my friends. It’s a sucky job – trust me.
After that trip and after I had decided, was I going to be fat for the rest of my life? I went back to work. That very day that I came back to work, I see a co-worker collecting 100$ from different people in the hospital. I asked why, and she said that one of the physicians we worked with was getting together a biggest loser contest. As she was telling me this, a girl that probably weighed a buck ﬁfty runs up excitedly to put her 100$ in. That’s when I knew. I KNEW I could win this contest. So, I gave her 100$, and promptly called around to ﬁnd out where there was a weight watchers in my town and started with a walking group.
Did you feel the competition was the main motivation?
YES. I cared about nothing except the money for the duration of the contest. I knew that I could not diet well—my appetite is hugely voracious. So, I devised the 49/51% rule. if I could do well 51% of the time (eat, exercise etc) then I was a winner and would win the contest. I know myself, and also knew that I wouldn’t set foot in a gym, either. So, I started a walking group which was horrific at first.
Side note- when I started, a 70 ish lady was so excited to have me, she was gushing, “oh my gosh, we are only going 5 miles today!” And I almost died inside.
I called my husband (who was so not on board at this point) and said, “Oh my god, what do I do? They are walking 5 MILES!!! In one day!!! Who does that??!!” and he promptly said “Honey, your fat, come home. You don’t need to do this.” I hung up on his ass, walked the 5 miles (which took from 0730 in the morning to about 11 am) and actually thought I was going to die along the route with that 70 year old lady standing over me in her little running suit…But I didn’t die.
Where did you get my weight loss advice from?
Weightwatchers, youtube, every bad diet I ever did. And I did many many many bad diets. Subsequently, I lost the weight counting calories and running. At one point, I was running 40 miles a week and eating 1300-1350 cals a day. What a dumbass!
MANY! My hubby, God love him still would love for me to be fat. Once people saw I was sticking to it, many of my friends felt I was “going too far with this diet thing” and wanted me to stop. By that time, I was able to tie my shoes and cross my legs, and basically ﬂipped them the bird, so I lost friends.
Family members would also make things I didn’t choose to eat anymore and try to make me feel guilty for not eating it. I almost divorced over losing weight. I lost friends. I gained friends. I had a lot of pain physically when I initially started, which took about a year to resolve somewhat. I am not sure now if it’s just being old or if it was all the weight on the joints.
So the big question is, after all that, did you win the competition?
Lol-yes, I won-but truth be told it was because I was the only old lady in the group!!
Biggest things I have noticed:
I was no longer invisible. Which actually peed me off! People were nicer to me. Which also peed me off. I was mad because it was like they were nice because I was a size that was somehow “acceptable” now. After I got over my anger about this (there was a lot of anger!) I had a bump in my self esteem—but that took YEARS. Like, a really long time.
I still get mad when I remember people saying and doing things when I was fat that they NEVER would do or say to me now. It’s funny, but I got this a lot—“you know you are…ahem….obese…” REALLY? That’s like going up to some random person and pointing out their blaring ﬂaw while also pointing out they must be super stupid since they obviously don’t know they have said ﬂaw….
What did I change about my eating habits?
Lower calorie (obvious one), drank more water, but I also gave myself a pass 3 out of the 7 days, at least at ﬁrst. Once I started seeing results, that’s when I started to up the cardio and really restrict. And binge. and then restrict again.
Now—I intermittently fast—it works for me. I eat enough to sustain what I do. I eat whatever I want, as long as it is within my macros. I binge less because I can eat bigger meals while intermittent fasting.
Secret for maintaining:
There is no secret. I track my food, have for 7 years. I am consistent. I work my ass off and when I don’t feel like it, I still do it. I fail, and eat too much, and then get back on the wagon. The trick for me is consistency. Also, another component is mental. So, for me, I have to channel some of my inner asshole into something, otherwise it makes me bitter. So for me, having a lofty goal is super super important.
My goal after losing the weight?
It was to do stuﬀ that scared the hell out of me. I jumped out of an airplane, I’d go diving even though I’m terrified of water, I ran 1/2 marathon every month for a year, I did a 1/2 century bike ride, I did 2 body building contests and 2 powerlifting contests, and am prepping for my 3rd body building contest.
I started my own company and am a mobile ﬁtness trainer. I left a nursing job making great money to do that, which was a total leap of faith and a whole lot of “pee your pants” scary. Next year I want to bike across Spain, run with the bulls and zip line in CostaRica. How I am going to do these things, I don’t know, but I am pretty determined and know that it will happen at some point.
3 things to tell someone.
1.Know your why. don’t do it for anything else but YOUR why. If you want to do it for money, go for it. If its to be in a slutty dress or make your boyfriend jealous, do it. What ever YOUR why is, not what reason you SHOULD lose weight.
2.Be methodical. I am type A about a lot of stuﬀ, and this was one I had to be super type A about. Most people will tell you not to track, and the new buzz word now is “intuitive eating.” Well, I “intuitively” ate myself to the size of a small elephant. I know I have food issues. I go with that. I have been through therapy and shrinks galore. But at the end of the day, none of those shrinks lost 155#. They don’t know HOW to keep it oﬀ. So, I become the expert. I know once I am oﬀ track a little, I am oﬀ track alot. So track your food, be committed, stop making excuses and lay it all out on the line—the good bad and ugly and DEAL.
3.Dont let others derail you. My husband is an obese diabetic that is unable to do much, and would love me back there with him. I love him. I will be with him always, but I will not do something that is not in my goal. I will not gain back weight to make him feel more comfortable. Others will TRY to derail you, and at your weakest points, too. Don’t let it happen, and if you see that pattern, get back on track. Nothing is set in stone—everything can be changed, so change it!
4.Decide what you want and write out a plan, including dates, times etc. It sounds lame, but I still do this daily in my work life, my home life and my physical ﬁtness life.