When you're overweight and battling depression, it's sometimes difficult to tell what came first. Do you eat because you're depressed, leading to weight gain? Or are you depressed because you're overweight? In many cases, it's a vicious cycle that can seem impossible to break without a strong support system.
Lynn (MIZ_FENTON), a buyer for a hat company and mother of three in Stockton, California, has struggled with depression and weight gain for most of her life. It was during her thirties when her weight really began spiraling out of control.
"I had some dark days—many dark days," she says. "I never thought I would lose weight or be happy again."
Lynn's "A-Ha" Moment
She remembers it like it was yesterday: The moment when she knew that change was no longer just an option, but a life-saving necessity.
It was February of 2016, and Lynn was at her highest weight of 241 pounds.
"Everything I did was uncomfortable," she says. "My body was always tired. I sweat so much. I ached everywhere. The act of bending over to tie my shoes made me cry. When I couldn't do something as simple as that, I knew it was time to change my life."
At her lowest point, Lynn drew inspiration from the advice her grandfather gave her just before he passed away: "It's never too late to start over."
"Just when we feel at our worst, that is when we have a chance to make a new start—to turn it around, to make our lives different," she says. "I was hopeless, depressed and in a very bad place. It took breaking out of my shell and focusing on me that [finally] turned things around."
How She Did It
Recognizing that there was no shortcut to success, Lynn pursued her weight-loss goal the "old-fashioned" way—through a healthy diet and exercise plan.
Her first order of business was giving up soda, chocolate, most carbs and about 80 percent of added sugars.
On a typical day, Lynn eats eggs and whole wheat toast for breakfast. Lunch might be ground chicken with a vegetable (ground chicken is one of her staples, appearing in her rotation at least four days a week). For dinner, she usually has a main dish of chicken or lean beef with a side of vegetables or vegan pasta. Her go-to snacks include protein shakes (Isopure is her favorite), fruit, Lenny & Larry's vegan cookies, snap pea crisps or cottage cheese.
In addition to boosting her activity throughout the day by moving and walking more, Lynn also joined a gym. Her routine included walking an hour on the treadmill, along with 45 minutes of strength training every other day. She also mixed in other activities throughout the week, such as swimming and walking more outdoors, to burn more calories and keep her muscles guessing.
Just last week, after 20 months of hard work and diligence, Lynn's total weight loss reached 101.6 pounds—an average of five pounds lost per month, which is a very safe and sustainable pace.
Support: The Ultimate Weight Loss Tool
While Lynn said she could never have made it through her darkest days without the love and support of her husband and mother, she also credits SparkPeople as a continual source of comfort and support.
"When you're heavy, people look down on you. You get the worst looks and people judge you without even knowing you," Lynn says. "SparkPeople made me feel like I wasn't alone, that I belonged somewhere. The people I have met, who I talk to daily, the friendships—they mean everything to me. They give me strength, and a reason to never give up. My life has been forever changed. SparkPeople has been my savior."
Keeping the Weight Off
As many of our members know all too well, the only thing tougher than losing weight is keeping it off. Lynn offers her tips for preventing the dreaded regain:
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