81: Heather Robertson of HalfSizeMe.com on How Habits & Mindset Changed Everything (F/38)

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Heather developed binge eating issues during a rough childhood, struggled with various weight loss programs, and eventually reached 313 pounds after her third child.

Hear how & why she recommitted to one program, and why it finally worked. This is Heather’s –170 pound success story.

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result.”

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

Weight Gain Background and Contributing Factors

Heather had a rough childhood and had actually been thin until an unexpected move turned her life upside down.

She started at a new school, lost old friends, became depressed, and “the weight started piling on.”

“I felt so good when I fed myself, because it was something I had control over.”

Heather developed binge eating issues at 8 years of age, weighed 160 pounds (72.7 kg) at age 12, and was 225 pounds (102.3 kg) her freshman year of high school.

At one point, she crash-dieted down to 140, but regained it all and more.

Heather shares how she tried many crash diets which were unhealthy and ultimately unsustainable.

The day of her wedding, Heather weighed almost 200 (91 kg), and went on to fluctuate between 250-290 pounds (113.6-131.8 kg) throughout her twenties.

A few weeks after the birth of her first child, she weighed in at 313 pounds (142.3 kg).

How Being Overweight Impacted Heather’s Life

Heather’s weight impacted all parts of her life.

“I found myself always wanting to sit at the back of the classroom, because I didn’t want to get up from the desk in front of people…”

Heather describes the insecurities, worries, and self-talk that she experience throughout her adolescence.

The Turning Point

Heather weighed 335 pounds when she had her first child at 30, and had the sobering realization that things had to change. Up to that point, she had never made a serious commitment to changing.

“When I had my son, I had a real wake up call, and I said, ‘I can’t be a hypocrite.’ You can’t tell a child something, do the opposite, and think that they’re going to believe you, respect you, or make good choices just because you tell them.”

Heather realized that to be the role model she wanted to be, she had to be willing to ‘walk the walk.’

Starting The Weight Loss Journey

Heather-quoteHeather realized that food was “still a comfort” for her, so she began her journey by focusing on exercise. She started walking and dropped about 30 pounds before discovering she was pregnant with her second child.

She worked to minimize weight gain throughout her second pregnancy, then resumed her walking habit (with both kids in tow) afterwards. She lost between 50-60 pounds (22-27 kg).

After the birth of her third child, she was down to about 250 (113.6 kg) and felt good about her progress down from 335 – until she saw a photo of herself.

“I knew that I needed some kind of accountability. I needed some kind of support.”

Heather returned to Weight Watchers, which she had tried before, but had a new fire in her this time.

“I had these babies to look at, to motivate me. I kept their picture right above my scale. I said, ‘This is bigger than you, Heather. It doesn’t just affect you. It affects so many other lives.’ “

This time, Heather was consistent with her meeting attendance and her weekly weigh-ins. She lost 108 pounds over the next 18 months.

She also shares that she made sure to enjoy her meals, to have desert, and to eat with the knowledge that she was not on another short-term diet, but was establishing habits for life.

“It’s about maintenance. It’s about establishing habits.”

Staying Motivated

Heather describes the “heart wrenching” experience that she calls “The Loudest Silence You Will Ever Hear.” This was what happened after successfully losing weight (earlier in life), but then regaining it all plus another 90 pounds.

“It is one of the loneliest places to be. You don’t feel like you fit in anymore. It’s kind of a weird place.”

Heather did have the support and encouragement of her husband, who reminded her to take care of herself.

“If you’re not in good shape, how are you delivering the best you to everybody else that you’re responsible for?”

Heather shares that, unfortunately, some toxic and negative relationships presented challenges. Ultimately, she did what was right for her health & well-being and severed those ties.

“I realized, there’s only so many years of my life that I’m willing to sacrifice for people that don’t make me feel good or don’t bring positivity to my life.”

What Heather Learned About Food, Exercise, and Herself

As Heather explored new foods over time, her palette changed and she discovered all new things that she enjoys now.

She shares that one of her early “trigger foods” was healthy snack bars. One snack bar would lead to another, and then eating the whole box – so she had to make them off limits for herself. She replaced them with whole-food snacks.

Heather planned her family’s meals ahead of time and focused on protein & vegetables in every meal.

Heather shares that she loved her son enough to start her journey, and then – in the process – began to love herself. She realized that she was a great person, even though she didn’t believe that in the beginning.

“What else have I been capable of all these years that I totally did not know?!”

Heather has also discovered an athleticism and love for weight lifting that she never knew was inside her.

Heather’s Advice For Your Journey

  • What you do daily supports your being your current weight. Find one small thing you can change that will make a difference. Next week, change something else.

Examples of small daily changes you can start with: reduce your soda intake by one can, pack your lunch, walk around the block.

  • Think long term. Instead of trying to change your weight over the next 90 days; focus on what kind of health you want to have at age 90.
  • Weight training
  • Enjoy the journey!

Resources Discussed In This Podcast

Exercise routines:

On weight lifting:

On Heather’s Workout Playlist

Contacting Heather

Heather blogs at HalfSizeMe.com and hosts a podcast of the same name. Stop by and say Hello!

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