Chris used to fear sitting with a piece of cake because she would be unable to stop. These days, she’s mindful of all she’s accomplished, and is tackling new goals.
From fast-food fan to triathlon training – this is Chris’ story!
“Success isn’t how far you got, but the distance you traveled from where you started.”
Weight Gain Background and Contributing Factors
Chris had a turbulent childhood, and shares how her weight gain began during the worst of these years.
“I think I ate to fill a void.”
How Being Overweight Impacted Chris’ Life
Chris describes being teased, and how it’s possible that her over-eating was related to a desire to be left alone. The combination of what was happening in Chris’ home life with the teasing she was getting elsewhere – made her life “ten times more difficult.”
While growing up, Chris tried many approaches to losing weight. She tried Atkins (high protein/fat, carb-restriction), starvation, and had considered gastric bypass when she was 90 pounds overweight. (41 kg)
Chris shares that none of her attempts were really for her – they were in response to what others told her.
“I don’t think I truly wanted to make the change. I don’t think I really wanted it. I think I wanted to do it because other people wanted it.”
The Turning Point
As an adult, Chris’ life was far more stable, and she had developed a very positive outlook. When her sister-in-law invited her to try a new weight-loss program, she says, “I felt ready. I must have been ready.”
When I asked Chris why it worked this time, and what was different about her at this point in life, she said:
“I was happy.”
Instead of trying to lose weight to “fix” something that was “wrong” with her, Chris approached her weight loss as self-improvement.
Starting The Weight Loss Journey
Chris started out by reducing her calorie intake to around 1200 calories and cutting out all fast food. The latter proved to be the biggest change from Chris’ former lifestyle.
“[Before,] I would eat fast food sometimes two times a day. I definitely loved my fast food.”
Chris also drafted her husband Mike to join and make changes alongside her. She dropped five pounds the first week, which proved to be an exciting sign that she was on the right track. It also provided the motivation to keep going.
“Those first few pounds told me, ‘I can totally do this.’ That was my motivation.”
Although the transition wasn’t easy, Chris says it wasn’t as difficult as she thought it would be.
“I’m not saying I didn’t crave a quarter-pounder. When they’re part of your life for so long, it’s hard not to crave that stuff. I kept my mind on the goal of, ‘I need to stick to this.’ “
Chris shares how her personal commitment, combined with her husband’s support and accountability, made it easier for her to stick to the new lifestyle habits. Her sister-in-law, Jody, was another helpful and encouraging resource.
Chris knew it would take consistency to continue seeing results, and it also helped to remind herself of how much she had already accomplished.
“It’s easy to forget where I was before. You get into life, you get busy. I always want to remember where I was, so I don’t go back to that.”
Chris continues to set new goals and stay open to exciting new opportunities. Her fifth marathon will be in Rome next year, and she is tackling a lifetime fear of swimming in a triathlon coming soon!
Challenges and Discoveries
One of the obstacles Chris encountered was social events. If there was a cake, she knew she’d want some, and that wasn’t the direction she wanted to go in.
“I was so afraid if I sat down with a piece of cake, I wouldn’t be able to stop. That’s been known to happen from time to time.”
She shares how she planned ahead for one birthday party when she was only two months into her weight loss:
“I actually cut up a bunch of fruit, put it in a bowl, and threw some yogurt on top. That’s what I ate when I was at the birthday party.”
After losing the first 30 pounds, Chris encountered her first plateau. Rather than dwell on the fact that the number on the scale was no longer changing, she focused on the fact that she was still seeing – and feeling – positive changes in her body. Clothing was fitting better, she had more energy, and her body was still changing.
Up to this point, the weight loss had been entirely from food-related lifestyle changes. Chris had not been exercising, so she decided this was the perfect time to start – despite her dislike of exercising. She began walking and joined a gym soon after.
At one point, Chris increased her calorie target to break a plateau and lost even more weight. She shares how it wasn’t an easy decision, and went contrary to what seemed like common sense, but it works.
“The whole, eat more to lose more… it goes against what you think you’re supposed to do.”
In addition to increasing her activity level and eating more, Chris continued enjoying food and discovered new, healthy ways to make her favorites.
“I’ve learned that I don’t have to cut all my favorite foods out of my diet. There are ways to make the foods you love and make them healthier & better for you.”
Chris shares a tip I’d personally never heard before, and can’t wait to try: apple sauce as a substitute for butter or oils.
Chris’ Advice For Your Journey
You can do it! You don’t have to be a statistic. Get off the couch, go out and enjoy life!
Go for a walk. Get active, even in little ways.
Start with small changes if necessary. For example, cut out fast food, or start eating brown rice instead of white rice.
Resources Discussed In This Podcast
My Fitness Pal – online calorie tracking and support community
On Chris’ Workout Playlist
Chris is training for an upcoming triathlon, and shares a few favorites that keep her energized during runs:
When Chris isn’t running, lifting weights, swimming, or otherwise training (phew!) she can be found on MyFitnessPal and on Facebook. Say hello!