|before losing 60 pounds|
|after losing 60 pounds|
How being a loser made me a winner
by Teresa Profiri
At the time that I lost 60 pounds, I was a 37 year-old woman and I had accomplished most of that weight loss in a 6 month timeframe. It was one of the most difficult, and one of the most satisfying things that I have ever done.
My weight loss story began when my workplace sponsored a “Biggest Loser” style contest for weight loss. With a $20 buy-in per person at the initial weigh in coinciding with New Year’s resolutions and an ending weigh in scheduled for June, enough people had participated that the first place prize would be $750! That was a big motivator, but the task of losing the highest percentage of weight was daunting. My starting weight was 255 and I was 5’ 6,” grossly obese according to BMI charts.
One of my good friends and coworkers was tall, beautiful and a lean 20-something compared to me. She wanted to participate too, and we decided to compete with and support each other in our efforts to lose weight for the contest. When she weighed in she was over 200 pounds and I hate to say it, but that number was just so satisfying for me to see. She looked healthy to me and had a figure that I wished for. Her “number” seemed attainable to me and so now I had a goal to shoot for. I know that this is not necessarily rational, but this mental shift was key for me.
Although several factors helped me to lose the weight, the main one that helped me was a shift in my thinking about food and exercise. I knew that I would have to reduce calories, learn to be okay with my stomach rumbling, educate myself about nutrition and add daily workouts. The achievement of this goal would require me to change many areas of my life.
Knowing what would work for me was important. The exercise had to be something that I wouldn’t dislike and could do without feeling self-conscious in workout clothes at the gym. I was almost 40 years old and felt like a whale in Spandex. I started using the recumbent exercise bike that had become a clothing rack in my bedroom. I moved it into the living room where I could sit and watch TV. The best part of this was being able to wear comfortable clothing (even going braless!) and not having to worry about going to a gym and feel like I was being judged by others.
Making exercise a rewarding experience would be a challenge because I had been inactive for a long time. I began by listing ways I could improve the experience and make it more pleasurable. Music was something that gave me great joy so I listened to Christina Aguilera. Being alone at home was private and convenient for me so I had fewer excuses not to workout, plus I was already sitting and watching TV. I focused on doing activity that didn’t involve a lot of sweating or pounding of my joints so I avoided pain and discomfort. Variety in my workouts kept me engaged and sticking to 30 minute durations kept me from getting tired and giving up. Activities like crunches felt good because I could feel and see the results of the workout.
Adjusting my diet was more difficult since food is by nature a reward for me. A technique that I used was to give in to my cravings, just a little. I love bread. If I had to follow a diet that said I could never have bread, I would be bound to fail. I know that I’ll crave it and binge on Olive Garden breadsticks one day and hate myself the next. But if I told myself that I could have 2 breadsticks as long as I stick to one bowl of soup and salad after a workout that day, then I could feel satisfied by having eaten what I crave and not having overdone it. Making these kinds of “bargains” with myself with “if, then” rules was very helpful. For example, “If I finish this 45 minute workout, I can have 2 Dove dark chocolate squares.”
My weight loss started slowly but had built to about 10 pounds lost by the second month. This was when I ramped things up with my workouts to compete with my coworker who was trying the diet shake and starvation method of weight loss. By the end of the 6 month contest, I had lost almost 60 pounds and although I didn’t win the contest, I came in second place and won $500! My friend came in third place and was as thrilled for me as I was for her. But even more rewarding than the prize money, I was ecstatic with my new leaner, more healthy body and I was inspired to share my success with others by starting Her Weight Loss Blog.