Monday, August 19, 2013

Before & After 112 Pound Weight Loss....and Counting!!!

BEFORE: 247 pounds (size 24)

AFTER: 135 pounds (size 2)

FINALLY!!! I have reached a lifetime goal of mine, which was to finally be classified in the "normal" weight zone for my height. I have lost 112 pounds (almost HALF of my original body weight). I was always the "fat kid" in school and was bullied relentlessly. My theory is that you can either walk away from experiences such as those as bitter, or you can come out with confidence and a new, healthier self. I chose the latter. I went to college and received a Bachelor's Degree in Culinary Nutrition and I didn't do it for anyone but MYSELF. I wanted (FOR ME), the knowledge and the ability to run in the yard with my kids. I WANTED to play. I WANTED to get up and move. For the FIRST time in my life, I have finally been able to get up and run with my dog and two kids just because it was FUN and I WANTED TO! :) That feeling alone was the most incredibly liberating feeling I have EVER had in my life. I had the ability to run without getting winded, to run without stopping 10 seconds later, and to run without my thighs starting a mini fire from rubbing together...I COULD MOVE!!!

It was an absolutely incredibly amazing journey. It took a little over two full years to lose all of this weight, BUT it was done by diet modification only. I did not spend countless hours at the gym, believe it or not. I have two small children at home and would much rather spend the time with them at the current moment in time (what little time I have left with them after work). There will come a day when I can work out at the gym again, but for now, I will not feel guilty for spending more time with my kids. Yes, I may have a little extra excess sagging skin because I couldn't tone as much as I wanted to, but I will get there....some day :)

The journey had its major ups and downs. The plateaus, the struggles, the cravings, the "I JUST WANT A SANDWICH" moments. In the end, I discovered a lot not only about my personal self (my thoughts and feelings), but my physical self as well. I not only found out that I had the inner strength and dedication to stick with this, but I also found that my body doesn't process certain foods very well. I would have never known this had I not tried.

Although I have lost about 110 pounds before, I used a different approach this time. When I was pregnant with my second child, I thought it would be healthier to consume wheat and dairy again (I cut those out for my first round of weight loss), but boy was I wrong. I gained all of my weight back from the first round.  THIS TIME, I was bound and determined to really figure out what my personal body needed to survive and maintain a healthy weight. I tried something called a metabolic detox for this second round of weight loss and it worked!

What is a metabolic detox? It is a dietary program that is followed that eliminates foods that trigger sensitivities in people, then slowly introduces them back in to the diet one at a time. It is actually not meant specifically for weight loss, but rather to cleanse your body of toxins and the junk from all the processed foods we eat.

How did I do it? Simply by following a few rounds of 30-day "metabolic detox." I specifically followed the Metagenics program (, but have heard there are many programs available. (I have NOT been in contact with the Metagenics company and this was NOT a sponsored or paid event. All weight loss was done on my own time and accord.) I have learned that by eliminating specific "trigger" foods, I have not only lost an incredible amount of weight, but I have decreased the amount of pain I have with my diagnosis of Fibromyalgia. I loved the feeling I had from eliminating the trigger foods, so much so, that I often extended the days in the program or would just follow the fruit and vegetable recommendation without the protein shake. I really tried to vary it to see what worked and what didn't. I also paired this with calorie counting and monitoring calorie density. My Fitness Pal, a free online site and app, helped me to stay on track. (Again, I have not been in contact with My Fitness Pal either - they are just a tool that I have used - although there are other similar programs available as well).

Will this work for everyone? I am not sure. I wish we all had the miracle answer for weight loss. I am pretty sure the main reason it worked for me is that I was held accountable using My Fitness Pal and I really had a REASON behind my goal (pain reduction and increased mobility). I kept track of every food and liquid that entered my body. Not only did I monitor how much, but I specifically kept track of the TYPE of foods I was putting in my body. Green smoothies packed with spinach and chia seeds - yum! Yes, they have a lot of calories, but they have the type of calories your body needs to survive. I had a set amount of calories per day and did not veer more than once per week. QUANTITY and QUALITY are the keys to success! They BOTH must be monitored together in order to achieve weight loss. The shakes that Metagenics used was just to help reset your body. Once you have reset, you can go back to eating a normal healthy variety of foods, so if you cannot afford a program like Metagenics, just follow their guidelines without the shakes (just try to keep your lean protein levels up).

To lose weight, the calories you consume MUST be less than those you burn. The more you exercise, the more you can eat :) BUT make sure you absolutely consider WHAT you are eating. For me, WHAT I was eating was the determining factor. When I eliminated foods that triggered a sensitivity, the weight just melted off. I followed the calorie recommendations but changed my whole lifestyle and way of eating. Coming from a "meat and potatoes" background, it wasn't easy, but it was and IS possible. This is my life now. I love my fruits and veggies and feel so much better for changing over.

One little trick that helped me keep going: Allow yourself to go on and off with CERTAIN foods. For me, I allowed myself to have rice and feta cheese for a few weeks. It curbed the cravings for me personally. Once sugar was out of the picture (which it took a couple of weeks for my body to stop craving it), I actually craved fruits and vegetables. I ate (and still do eat) a lot of them and would prepare foods in large batches just to keep up.

I hope to share a lot of little tricks and tips that I have discovered along my journey. If I can help even just ONE person take a step toward a healthier lifestyle and feel what I feel, then I have succeeded. I hope to continue to pay this forward and help others who are struggling. I struggled for my entire life and don't ever wish that misery upon anyone, ever. There is hope. It is possible. It can be done. If you have the right people in your life and a great support network, you CAN and you WILL!

Best of luck to all of you out there if you are in a similar situation. I sincerely thank all of my supporters (most of all my husband for not thinking I was some kind of crazy smoothie making looney - lol!). Without my supporters, I wouldn't have said, "Ok, today is the day I am going to change the rest of my life." To all of you, I am forever grateful and love you all so much.