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A couple years ago, at ~155.

From about 210 to about 145 - most of that in two years and most of it kept off for five years.


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I'm a workaholic middle school teacher, but when I find time for myself, I love playing softball, playing softball, playing softball, running, sewing, painting, playing piano and other musical instruments, spending time with my honey, of course, and playing softball.

I lost and kept off over 60 pounds and SparkPeople was a major factor in doing so. Now I'd like to complete my goal, becoming more fit, healthy, and sexy. I want to be fit because I LOVE doing physical stuff and I want my body to be my ally in this, not my nemesis. I want to be healthy to improve my asthma, and to prevent illness and health conditions. Exercise and healthy food are paramount to living a healthy life; fat around the middle is a precursor to many health conditions. Finally, I want to be sexy because, well, who doesn't? I'm going on 35 and I've still got it. I can be as fit and fine as anyone younger, it just takes more work.

LOSING 60 POUNDS: I try to remind myself how I lost so much the first time. Over the course of two and a half years, I went from over 210 pounds to under 150. I went from hiding behind humor and fake smiles, retreating to the privacy of my home to avoid being seen by others, and losing all the networking and reputation I had worked so hard to build to genuine smiles, feeling sexy, taking pride in my appearance, having fun, being active, and regaining the ability to make friends.

BLOWING UP: How did I get that big to begin with? Because of my severe asthma, I was unable to participate in any exercise when I was a kid. Couple that with a family that overate unhealthy food, and I was predictably chubby by the time I hit puberty. I had no models for how to be healthy. I discovered bulimia as one way to combat the calorie intake of my unhealthy eating style. I stopped eating breakfast and lunch, and began purging my dinners. This continued for ten years.

I eventually developed a serious addiction to a drug known to cause wasting. By the time I was twenty, I weighed only 110 pounds and my bones protruded. I fell in love with someone who gave me both the ultimatum and access to the comprehensive support structure I needed to kick both my addiction and bulimia. I did -- and gained 100 pounds in just over a year.

MAKING THE COMMITMENT: I think the biggest motivation was seeing my grandma suffer at the end of her life. I was in the anger stage of grief: angry at her for never getting the medical help she needed to quit smoking; angry at all the industries that brainwash us into being unhealthy for their own greedy, murderous profits; angry at myself for being just like her.

I, too, had a lifestyle vice that seriously effected my health, and, just like my grandma, I continuously made half-a**ed attempts at losing trace amounts of weight here and there. I was alternately fretful and self-loathing, defiant and defensive. What was so wrong about being a "big, beautiful woman"? Wasn't everyone's judgement of big people just due to advertising and social conditioning?

Reflecting on how I was like my grandma, and how this would one day catch up with me just like it had caught up with her, I returned from her funeral determined to get the help I needed to really kick this problem in the butt. I was going to shift my priorities from spending all my free time and money in the intellectual realm -- academia, debate, discourse, writing, reading, spending time on the internet -- to spending it on exercise, nutrition, and overall health.

SUPPORTS: I began working with a physical trainer two days a week and eventually began seeing a hypnotherapist, too. I promised myself that I would go to the doctor and get antibiotics every time I got a bad cold, instead of waiting for it to go into infection like it always did due to my severe asthma and sinitis. Eventually I began seeing an asthma and allergy specialist so I could prevent flare-ups to begin with. I began tracking my nutrition on SparkPeople and joined a terrific time- and weight-specific challenge team, "50 Pounds by Christmas."

EXERCISE: I told myself to always say yes to opportunities to be physically active, even if they were scary and out of my comfort zone, even if I had no skills and would struggle to keep up. I didn't always do all of these at the same time, but at all times I have committed myself to SIX DAYS OF PLAY A WEEK. Yes, I started to think of being active as playing, and tried to only do fun things that I loved and looked forward to.

I bought a treadmill with my tax return, and the book "The Beginning Runner's Handbook: The Proven 13-Week Run-Walk Handbook," which I still refer to; my partner and I went for a five mile trail hike, which eventually turned into a hike-run, every Sunday morning; I found a running buddy to run with twice a week, and eventually joined a running group; I joined a weekly pick-up softball game with friendly people who helped me learn the game and overlooked my awkwardness, and eventually started my own team which now plays twice a week; I joined a weekly group called "Recess," which played anything from kickball to capture the flag; I tried out spin classes; I joined the YMCA; I hired a trainer; I started rock climbing twice a week with a buddy. I always looked for opportunities to be active and have fun.

NUTRITION: I COMPLETELY changed my lifestyle, not just with exercise, but with eating, too. I replaced my plates and bowls with much smaller dishes from the thrift store; I began putting the food away after serving myself instead of leaving it to sit for seconds; I began looking at my meals as pies, and changed which food groups I assigned to the largest pie slices; I started thinking of carbs like pasta as a side dish to my main meal of veggies and legumes, instead of the other way around; I packed my lunch and made dinner instead of going out, and committed to going out to eat only once per week; I let myself have one "naughty" night per week, where I could eat anything I wanted; I prepared small containers of apple slices, almonds, oranges, celery and peanut butter, or other light options to snack on for my mid-morning and mid-afternoon cravings; dinner became my smallest meal, instead of my largest; I never ate after 6:00pm; I tried several types of water bottles until I found the perfect one for me, filled them the night before, and packed two to take to work with me; I converted from drinking coffee to drinking green tea, and committed to drinking nothing else but water (don't drink your calories!); I bought measuring cups and spoons and kept them in or next to the foods I needed to measure; I bought a food scale and tracked my portions on SparkPeople; I bought food storage containers with the measurements marked on the side; I ate protein with every meal; I offered to do the cooking when visiting my very Italian mother, and introduced my parents to healthier options; I told people at work that I was trying to lose weight and not to offer me treats; I brought grapes to staff meetings so I wouldn't have the urge to munch on the unhealthy snacks; If I had to eat out, I brought a container with me and put half my meal in it before beginning to eat; I asked my partner to put a lock on one of the cupboards so I could keep my binge-tempting items out of sight and out of reach; I didn't go shopping hungry, and had the mantra"If I buy it, I'll eat it"; I didn't keep bad food in the house.

KEEPING IT OFF: Some of these changes were needed to kick-start my weight loss, to help me change the way I do things. For example, I don't have to measure everything anymore, only some things, since I've learned to eyeball it. However, the vast majority of these changes were permanent lifestyle changes. I changed the whole structure of my life: where my time, money, energy, and priorities lie. I changed my habits, my way of life.

AFFORDING IT: I used to say to myself that I didn't have the time or money to do all this. I wonder if my grandma ever told herself the same thing. I redirected money to my health, from spending money on academic classes (which I used to tell myself were much more valuable than trivial things like playing team sports), books, too much food, and things I bought to fill a void instead of a need. I allowed myself to spend money on things that made me feel good about myself, such as the occasional pedicure or slenderizing outfit, but this had a positive effect on my income, because I found that by taking care of myself I was able to secure better employment, which brought in more money.

Research has shown that thinner women make more money. Some might say that this is unfair, but I don't entirely disagree with the idea that an overweight person is someone with too much baggage, too little self control, and an addiction that takes time that could otherwise be spent working. Sure, some say that overweight people are picked on because their vice is visible, but I think that other lack-of-control problems like smoking, drinking, or doing drugs, also reveal themselves with time. They certainly affect quality of life.

Someone with a healthy weight and lifestyle will likely have a better self-esteem, better mood and overall health (what we eat DOES effect our chemistry, another word for emotions). He or she likely takes more pride in appearance, so the overall "package" may come across as more appealing. Healthier people may feel more confident, making friends which lead to networking opportunities and making better impressions during interviews. They are more in control and focused, so they do better at their jobs and are offered advancements.

When I was overweight, I was largely unable to find employment. Since returning from my grandma's funeral six years ago, I have continued to have consistent and better employment opportunities. I'm still on a modest teaching salary, but far less modest than it was at the start, and certainly better than no salary at all.

IN CONCLUSION: This was long-winded, but I figured that nobody is forced to read it, so those who got this far wanted more information about how I got here. I gathered these tricks along the way and wanted to share them with anyone else looking to be happier, healthier, and sexier. I also wanted to remind myself how I got this far, what I need to do to continue toward my goal. Good luck to the both of us!

Member Since: 7/19/2011

Fitness Minutes: 3,080

My Goals:
*I will have less than 34" in diameter around my belly by August, 2014.

*I will attend three group classes per week by June 20, 2014.

*I will be able to run a 10-minute mile for three miles straight by August, 2014.

*GOAL MET! I will maintain involvement with a social physical activity at least 4 out of 7 days each week.

My Program:
*Work with my physical trainer four times per week.

*Play softball three times per week.

*Group Exercise Classes: Weight Loss on Tuesdays and Thursdays, plus one other of choice.

*Track my steps with Fitbit Zip.

*Eat a small dinner, no later than 6:00 p.m.

*Prepare all of my week's meals on Sunday.

*Only eat additional sugar on Fridays.

Personal Information:
I grew up in a big family, on a small farm in rural Ohio. I lived in San Francisco for ten years and Tucson for seven.

I've just gotten out of an eleven-year relationship and am learning to do things on my own again.

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 current weight: 158.2 
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    Thanks for connecting with me on SparkPeople. I hope the others on Facebook Hopefuls/UAE connect with us here. Take care.
    864 days ago
  • v MINNIE
    wow, you summed up most diet books
    1027 days ago
    I wish you the best on your journey toward health and recovery! emoticon
    1455 days ago
  • v PATTIE441
    Thank you for your awesome support on my blog. I really appreciate it and I really appreciate you! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1491 days ago
    Hi, I saw your comment on the spark coach team introduction. You are more than just your body, and although loosing the weight will help it's not going to fix everything - referring to your body being a wall preventing you from accessing the paradise of a happy fun life. It looks like spark coach will be addressing that - especially with todays' message and the blog from Dean Anderson. I can relate to what you said, you have to work on your own self acceptance - beyond weight - and believe it or not that is almost harder than loosing the weight. I'm still working on that, and I lost most of mine a couple of years ago. Still trying to loose the last 20. But even more so, trying to learn to like myself. Good Luck and Best wishes.
    1538 days ago
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