New Year 2009: 56 kg!
This skirt used to fit perfectly about a year ago!!! (did I mention I have nothing to wear??)
12 kg GONE!
Shared Fitness Tracker
Hi, my name is Lisa and I have been overweight for as long as I can remember. Longer, even, according to the pictures of me as a baby and toddler. Not that it mattered to me back then. But it started to matter soon enough, at around the age of 5, when I started getting teased by my playground mates. I learned to fight better than most boys my age (considering I used some very unmanly tactics, like pulling hair), in order to shut them up. It worked as a temporary solution, though the overheard comments still hurt. But as I grew up it only got worse... I am sure know what it's like to be an overweight teenager -- the biggest one in the class; hearing rude remarks behind your back and imagining even worse; being ignored at all the school dances and finding out your best friend went out with a boy you liked..
My mom has always been very supportive. Unfortunately, my mom is also -- how shall I put this mildly? -- completely nuts. Don't get me wrong, I love her nonetheless, but, well, she really is. I don't know which of us brought up the issue of my weight first, but what I remember most from my teenage years is being on a constant rollercoaster of fad diets and exercise plans she had heard/read about. Any fad program to lose weight you can think of -- not eating anything but one certain food for at least a week in a row, the vibrating belt thing, eating only at certain hours, the "slimming" foil wrap, running in the heat-retaining gear, the various diet pills, a few of those combined -- I've done it all. Most of the time, it worked well enough to make me drop a few kilos. Of course it always came back with a vengeance as soon as I went back to my "normal" lifestyle -- normal in this case meaning mostly sedentary, since I was even exempt from PE (again, I blame that on my mom who totally went along with my just-can't-do-sports claim).
When I was 15, I left on a foreign exchange student program to Holland (I'm originally from Russia). For me, that was the start of more or less independent life. I went on to the US on the same program, spent some time in Europe in-between, applied and got accepted to a university in Southern California, and the rest is history. I kinda learned to live with being overweight. Kinda -- because, as a faithful student of my mom's philosophy on weightloss, I still tended to jump on the latest fad, lose a little weight, be happy with it, pay no more attention to my lifestyle, and gain it all back. And some more. Rinse and repeat.
In the meantime, I met an Italian boy on vacation, who fell in love with me regardless of a a few extra pounds. He moved with me to the US and, after a few years, I fell into that comfortable, can't-be-bothered lifestyle (which, incidentally, included quite a few sausage McMuffins, hash browns and curly fries as my staple foods). Needless to say, this eventually resulted in an all-time high in my weight: 85 kg, or 187 pounds. (Usually, I'd be losing and gaining in the range of 70-75 kg, or 154-165 pounds)
Something else happened around that time. I lost my job (the agency I worked at closed due to losing a major client), and was unable to find another one that would sponsor me for a work visa. And so, we decided to move back to my then-boyfriend's homeland: Italy.
After we did, quite a bit of my extra weight came off almost without effort. Lots of opportunities for walking, fresher foods, the very few drive-through's and fast food in general.. I was back at 70 kg in just a few months and ecstatic to be there. I realized that losing weight wasn't necessarily a drastic measure. But I still didn't realize the right way to do it, since those kgs came off pretty effortlessly.
That was a few years ago. I managed to stay in the range of 67-74 kg for most of that time (as you can see, some yo-yo dieting was still going on). About a year and a half ago, a couple of coworkers were doing one of those drastic fad things that my mom would totally jump on: substituting lunch with an injection of vitamins minerals and whatever... Seriously, while the rest of us would go downstairs to a cafe for lunch, they'd go to this nutritionist's office who hooked them up to an IV.
I guess I'm afraid of needles, but that just wasn't something I'd even consider doing. But of course I wanted to lose some weight too, so I said, you know what, you guys go ahead, and I'll sign up for the gym, we'll see who loses more. And I did. So now, at lunch time, I was off to the gym, a full hour of cardio (step/gag) which I wasn't used to and which left me sweating, drained, and with no appetite at all. So I skipped lunch, in addition to skipping breakfast (I never ate breakfast to begin with), limiting myself to an apple or a few crackers after the gym. Still not exactly the healthiest way, but I didn't know any better.
Needless to say, I lost weight in record time. Got down to 67 kgs. I felt great about myself and kinda let myself go, especially after changing jobs and no longer being close to that gym, a stressful period at the new job, the winter, finally having a car, you name it...
Why am I telling you all this? I don't really know, except that I thought that my story -- especially the million failures -- can be useful or inspiring to someone. Because this is where the success part comes in: in the beginning of May 2008, I realized that I was back at 74 kg. And I realized that if I wanted to lose weight I had to find a better way. So I did what I do best: I googled.
And, after a few test-drives of different sites, I found Sparkpeople. I liked the flexibility of it, and figured I'd give it a go. The first couple of weeks were hard, not so much for staying in calorie range (I'm used to much more drastic diets and I am very stubborn), but for actually figuring out how much of what I ate. I got sucked into it more and more. I'd research foods that weren't in the database and religiously measure everything I put in my mouth, everything I used in a recipe, doing my best to guess when I ate out... My custom and favorite foods database by now is almost as extensive as sparks' own.
It worked -- I was 3 kgs down at the end of May and, encouraged, I added exercise into the mix. It has been easy ever since. My calorie range went up quite a bit as I got used to working out and burning 3500 + calories/week. I love the gym, I love my step instructor, I got rather good at it, and I added various other classes/exercises to my routine. I also keep trying new sports I never played before (like tennis), and having fun even if I am bad at it. I never realized sport could give me such a natural high. I never feel hungry. I still religiously track everything. Even on the days I was on vacation, I did my best to keep a food journal -- which went into my nutrition tracker as soon as I got back.
My initial goal was 65 kg (143 pounds) -- the lowest weight I could remember from back when I was a teenager after one of the fad diets and I felt pretty good about myself back then. I reached it sometime in August and figured I could do more, since it was coming off easily still.
I am now at 59 kg (130 pounds) and I'm happy -- no, psyched! -- to be here! I don't think I need to lose more, but I'd be happy to get some parts of me more defined, so I will be sticking to my program -- and doing my best to actually reach my maintenance calorie range, something that is not so easy to do since I feel stuffed with 1600 calories.
So yes, for me this was a lifestyle change. I never will -- never could! -- forget everything I learned here about nutrition and exercise. It's so simple and so complex at the same time.. there is so much to learn and so many temptations, but it really, truly, gets easier every day, and, armed with your new knowledge gained from the nutrition tracker, articles, and any additional research, you truly can make healthier choices every day for the rest of your life. Another plus from all of this is that I learned to cook even better, after testing, combining, substituting and modifying various recipes. And nobody ever notices my versions are healthier since they're still so good!
I guess my point is that if I, after my numerous disastrous dieting attempts, can pull it off, then anyone -- and I mean ANYONE, including you -- can do it. Just don't give up. And if I can help with something, give me a shout.
I never planned on making a big deal out of my spark page, but.. looking at my own before and after pictures (I started taking the pictures to keep track when I was at 71 kg) I realized that maybe I could help inspire someone to stay on track, and that is the best way to give something back to the Spark community, isn't it?
Spread the spark!
Get a better muscle definition on my arms and core.
Maintain my weight in the range of 57-59 kg.
Remember to treat myself every now and then.
Keep using nutrition and fitness tracker.
Keep going to the gym at least 3x a week.
Keep buying those fruit and veggies and inventing new ways to prepare them to tempt everyone!
My name is Lisa, I'm 31 years old, originally from Russia but currently in Italy having lived in many other places along the way. But that's a loooong story. Some of it is in my introduction.
I'm a typical Taurus -- very very stubborn, loyal and honest, yet shy and not very outgoing. The stubbornness/determination has definitely helped me along, as well as honesty -- I track everything, even if I am tempted when I shouldn't be. Most of the time, the damage isn't as much as I thought it was.
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Secrets of Success
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