While at the gym a few weeks back, I couldn’t help to notice this one particular member. He wasn’t the typical gym type: he was older, probably in his 60’s, and severely overweight. Chances of him having diabetes or some kind of heart problem seemed very likely. However, he was the hardest working person there. I stepped on to the stair stepping machine next to him and in my head I was praising him, being his own cheering crowd. I was so proud of him! He was sweating, huffing and puffing, but he was not giving up. He was my inspiration for that evening, and will continue to be my inspiration. I would have loved to get to know him, to hear how he had gotten to that low point in his health and to learn about his turn around experience. I hope I continue to see him at the gym. Maybe one of these times I will approach him and to learn about what inspires him to keep moving.
Because of this I wanted to showcase ALL of the hardworking individuals who have reached their lowest point and decided to turn a negative into a positive by eating cleaner and started living a healthier life. These hard working individuals need their own spot light. Their own recognition. The chance to share their accomplishments.
I am starting a blog series called “I’VE LOST IT!”. I am planning to feature individuals who have lost weight, established healthy habits and want to inspire others. Losing weight is one of the most difficult, challenging and emotional rollercoaster’s an individual can face. I know because I’ve been there. It is important that we must not give up on ourselves and to know that no one is ever alone. I hope these stories help motivate you to keep working at your own personal goals or to help you start. You have the power!
Don’t be shy: I would love to feature you! If you or someone you know lost weight and is now living a healthy lifestyle please email me: thecleaneatingmama @ gmail.com
Please meet Stephanie: she has lost an incredible amount of weight and started developing healthy habits for life! She is such an inspiration – thank you so much for sharing your story!
How or when did you start to notice your weight and unhealthy lifestyle?
I actually gained the bulk of my excess weight pregnant with my second child. It totaled 87 pounds. That seems astounding but my 6’ frame carried it pretty well.
The big problem came when I kept eating the same way after he was born. I’ve always been a stress eater too. He was born with a cleft palate which meant that the normal things that are done with a baby could not be done quite as successfully with him. Breast feeding was not an option, special bottles had to be bought, he could barely drink or eat anything without it coming out of his nose. Also, at 9 months old he had to go in for surgery to repair the cleft. That was stressful. I put on an extra 25 pounds on my own in the 4 years following. I found there were only 2 stores in my city where I could clothes shop and I was still wearing my maternity clothes and they were snug.
What was your turning point to change your life?
I had been out applying for jobs, getting interviews and never hearing anything back. There is only so many times that can happen before you start asking yourself what you are doing wrong. After doing some fake interviews with some people I know and them telling me I did great, I went to my mom for some advice. I know it was hard for her to say but she simply stated “I don’t want to upset you, but do you maybe think its because they may assume that you are pregnant?”
That did me in. I sobbed. I got off the phone and looked in the mirror, like really looked. I realized that I was doing a dis-service to myself, to my kids and to my husband. Not 6 years before he had met a confident, attractive, active woman who had tuned into a lazy, un-kept, fat person. I had enough
Give a sample of the foods you consume:
On an average day this is what I eat (keeping in mind that it does change):
2 eggs, 1 slice of diet bread, water, fruit
fruit smoothie made with protein shot instead of yogurt
Generally a salad of some sort. I prefer something other than regular lettuce. Spinach salad with mushrooms, peppers, dried cranberries and a grilled chicken breast is my favourite.
Dinner: This one changes often as I have 3 other mouths to feed
A protein of some kind. Could be chicken, steak, pork
Veggies: whatever is in my fridge (its always stocked). My most common is a grilled veggie medley. Chop it all up, throw it in a Pyrex backing dish with a little EVOO and spices and bake.
Often a starch of some sort is added such as wild rice, whole wheat pasta, baked potatoes.
I eat a lot of fruit throughout the day as well. Anytime I am feeling hungry, that’s when I eat fruit.
The biggest tip I can give anyone trying to lose weight is to drink water. We are fortunate to have some of the best water in the world where I am from, so drinking it unfiltered from the tap is no problem for me. But, if you don’t, get a filter. Caffeine free tea’s are also a great thing. Make a whole jug or a fruit tea and throw it in the fridge for a hot day. Make popsicles out of it, drink it hot. It’s a tummy way to get that water into your system.
Weight loss is difficult. What has been your greatest tool to help you achieve your goals?
My greatest motivation has been success. I lost 10 and couldn’t wait for the next 10, then the next 20. Hitting that 50 pound mark was astounding! Having to buy 4 new wardrobes in 1 year was amazing… expensive, but amazing. I also loved the reactions that people were giving me. Some people would freak out if they hadn’t seen me in 3 months. In the first 3 months I started, I lost 45 pounds. That made a pretty big difference.
I think the biggest thing that people should know is that they need to do it cause they want to, not because they want to conform to how “society” thinks they should look. I didn’t feel good. I felt older than my years, sluggish and not only like I was just observing others living life, but that I was taking life away from my kids.
I remember one night in particular. I had lost about 50 pounds by this point. My husband walked into the kitchen where I was cleaning up after dinner, gave me a big hug and looked me in the eye and said “I hope you are not doing this for me cause you know I love you for you and don’t care what you look like right?” I was amazed but responded with “nope, no worries, I am being totally selfish on this one.” He just laughed and said “good”.
I have heard people say so many times, you cannot make someone else happy if you are not happy, you cannot love someone else if you don’t love yourself. I now know that is true. As a result, my kids aren’t eating crappy pre-packaged convenience food anymore, we are eating more organic or locally grown produce and less of the chemical filled, color enhanced, hormone induced foods that I think were causing them to be lethargic and moody. All 4 of us seem to have benefited from this change I decided to make.