WASHINGTON, DC -
I avoided looking at myself on TV. I knew I'd gained a lot of weight, but I couldn't face it. I look back at pictures of myself and think "Oh my God, did I really let myself get that big?"
The fact is I did. I ate when I was stressed and would have a glass of wine or two with dinner. My weight crept up until last October when I stepped on the scale and saw how much I weighed. I would go up and down the stairs at work, huffing and puffing by the time I got to the top. My back ached when I woke up in the mornings. I didn't feel healthy. I knew the older I got the harder it would be to lose. I wanted to be around for my children and to be able to play with my grandchildren. So I decided to make a change and commit to losing weight.
I went back to the gym. I'd had a membership for the last few years and used it sporadically. I don't think I'd been in a few months. I also learned to prioritize myself. Between work, family and children I realized I wasn't taking care of myself. My goal was to work out or exercise five days a week. I rode a stationary bike or used an elliptical stair climber for 30-45 minutes five days a week and added two days of strength training for 30 minutes. Some days I would do an hour long exercise class or skip the gym to do a long walk with a friend instead. Slowly my weight began to drop, but there were times it didn't happen quickly enough. It was frustrating. At times I'd gain a few pounds or wouldn't lose anything for a few weeks or even a month. I stuck with it and eventually I started losing weight again.
One of the keys was planning. I tried to get everything ready the night before so I could go straight to the gym. That meant packing my gym bag, getting clothes together for work and making sure my work bag was ready to go. When I got to the gym, I made the most of my time. I multi-tasked: checking my phone for messages and e-mails, watching the morning or evening news, and reading the newspaper on my iPad.
Eating was another matter. I began to log everything I ate on the LiveStrong.com app MyPlate on my iPad. It helped me to see what foods made up the bulk of my calories and cut back. I had always eaten a pretty balanced diet, but I realized my portion sizes were out of control. I began to weigh and measure my foods, four ounces of meat, a cup of pasta or a half cup of rice. I also made sure I had protein at all my meals and snacks in between. I try to take time to plan meals, pull something out of the freezer before going to work. I'm fortunate my husband cooks most of our dinners, but I try to do a few meals each week.
I start my day usually with a fruit smoothie. I blend a mix of oranges, strawberries and banana or other fruits. Sometimes I add protein powder or eat a hardboiled egg that I prepare ahead of time and keep in the refrigerator at work. I drink my smoothie and eat after I work out.
My one indulgence is the half and half I use in my coffee. At the beginning of the week I try to bring a few frozen meals to work and keep them in the freezer for lunch. If I'm out shooting a story, I know where I can stop. If fast food is the only option, I also know I can eat a small cheeseburger and small french fries and it's still within my calorie limit. I just don't order a double cheeseburger and large fries anymore. I made a food shelf at work, where I kept healthy soups, almonds, microwave popcorn, snack bars with nuts and other things. It helps to have healthy choices on hand to grab otherwise I find myself at the vending machine eating something I really shouldn't.
It took a long time but around August, people really started to notice. I ditched the size 18 pants I had bought when I was my heaviest. I was starting to fit into things I hadn't worn in years and comfortably. It helped that I had a lot of encouragement to keep me motivated. When I worked out, I would post it on Facebook and Twitter. It was my way of holding myself accountable. People began to message me back, that I had inspired them too. I thrived on that feedback. I also learned to forgive myself. At Halloween, I ate candy from my kid's trick or treating. Who doesn't? I just didn't eat the entire bag. A few pieces wouldn't kill me and I made sure not to overindulge. We all slip sometimes. I just had to make sure I was eating healthy otherwise. I don't beat myself up over a missed workout or if I do less exercise because I don't have much time. If I go four days instead of five or do 30 minutes instead of 45, it's better than nothing.
It's hard to admit that at my heaviest I weighed 237 pounds. After one year, I've lost more than 50 pounds and dropped four clothing sizes, from a size 18 to a size 10. I still have another 20 or 25 pounds I'd like to lose but I already feel much healthier. I don't run out of breath going up the stairs anymore. I've pushed up the level of my workouts and can now get through an entire spin class. It's nice to get compliments now. Someone the other day tweeted me saying I didn't recognize the "thin you". I laughed when someone else wrote into a local news blog saying they didn't recognize me, that either I'd lost a lot of weight or had some work done to my face. It was all weight loss, no plastic surgery, I promise. My challenge now is getting those last stubborn pounds off and keeping them off. I'll keep you updated and thanks to everyone who followed me and encouraged me along this journey.
We've started a Facebook page and encourage you to share with us. I know I'm not the only one fighting the Weighting Game. So we've got the FOX5 DC Weighting Game page. I'll be posting tips, sharing recipes and keeping you updated. We'd love for you to share too and maybe we'll share the stories of other weight loss winners on FOX5!