'I Wanted to Live Life & Have Fun with My Family'*

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Name: Elizabeth Tiedemann (MOONBIRD)
Weight Lost:  153 pounds
Hometown: Chesterfield, VA
Occupation: Stay-at-home mom

What was life like before losing weight?
I started to gain weight in the first grade, and I continued to gain throughout most of my life. For me, I ate when I was sad, anxious, lonely, or any emotion in between.  Growing up in a family where almost everyone was overweight didn't give me much motivation to be different. It was who I was supposed to be.  But, deep down, I was not happy. I loved my family and had everything I wanted, except for control over my weight.  After the birth of my kids, I was exhausted and would sometimes go all day without eating.  By the end of the day, I was starving and would eat everything in sight.  I didn't believe in myself and didn’t take care of myself, which is why I allowed myself to gain so much weight.       

For so long I missed out on things I wanted to do.  I couldn't ride a lot of the rides at theme parks.  When we went out to eat, I could barely fit in most of the booths.  During the day, I started to have pain in my legs and feet when I'd stand a lot.  I went to bed worrying that every little ache or pain meant I could be dying.  I love bird watching, and I'd hear of bird walks at parks but not go because I knew it would exhaust me.  I'd sweat profusely and be out of breath.  It was awful.  I rarely felt comfortable in my own skin.

What was the main motivation behind your weight loss?
My biggest motivation was, and still is, my family.  I wanted to live life with them!  I wanted to ride bikes with my kids, play at the playground and fit on the rides at amusement parks.  My motivation has mostly been to feel good and be healthy, because when I was so much heavier I felt tired ALL the time and generally unwell. In April 2010, I decided that I’d had enough of being overweight and unhealthy.  I wanted to change my life!      

Tell us a bit about your weight-loss journey.

 I read The Spark, and that book really helped me.  I went on SparkPeople.com and read the pages of people who had lost a lot of weight or went on to run marathons. "If these people did it (and they are just regular people like me, not paid celebrities promoting some diet), maybe I can do this too," I thought.  When I first started out, I was scared, but I felt determined. 

By gradually changing how I ate, exercised, and thought about food, I have been able to lose weight and get healthy.  It hasn't been easy, but in less than three years I have lost 153 pounds.  I haven't been on a strict diet, taken diet pills, had surgery or done anything that involves gimmicks.  I realized I would have to be patient, and that this would not happen overnight, and that was OK!  At first, exercising was challenging.  I started out walking and just gradually increased the time and distance.  I remember when it was hard for me to walk a mile, and now I’ve run in 5Ks, a 10K and a half marathon!

What is your diet like now? What was it like before you started your journey? 

I eat a lot more whole foods than I did before, and my diet is more varied than it was.  One of my main breakfast foods is oatmeal, and I eat a lot of fruit at meals and snacks and have vegetables every day.  Before I lost weight, we ate out more, and I ate a lot more fast food.  Now, most of my meals are made at home.  My soda addiction was bad, but I drink soda very rarely now. I eat more complex carbs and have found healthier alternatives for a lot of things—like frozen yogurt instead of ice cream.  My diet isn’t perfect, and I don’t try to be, but overall it’s healthy. I still enjoy treats in moderation.

What is your typical exercise routine?
Over the last three years I’ve tried: Zumba, elliptical, bike, workout DVDs at home, yoga, and various strength training machines at the gym.  My routine now is mostly running, and I do strength training at the gym, or Jillian Michaels workouts that combine both.  Typically, I exercise five times per week for at least a half hour. 

What was your biggest obstacle while trying to lose weight, and how did you deal with it?

Binge eating.  This is something I still struggle with occasionally during times of stress, although I’m able to manage it better than I did before.  What has helped me is keeping trigger foods (sweets for me) out of the house.  When I feel the urge to binge, I try to find something to do to take my mind off of it.  I’ll go for a walk, exercise, or find some sort of project to work on.  I’ve also learned that just because I slip up, it doesn’t mean that I’ve failed.  I’ve only failed if I give up, and I refuse to do that.  So, I take it one day at a time and realize that one day isn’t going to make or break me, and I just keep going and doing what I know I need to do.

How has your life changed since losing weight and improving your health?
The main thing that has changed is that I believe in myself.  I used to be scared to do things or try something new, and now I feel like there are no limits to what I can do if I really want to!  I feel so good, physically and mentally.  Everyone comments on how much energy I have and how much I am able to get done.  Now I can ride bikes with my kids, fit on rides, run, jump, climb things, and just live life and have fun without worrying that I am too big.  It feels great to be in control of my health and life and feel more comfortable in my own skin.  I have learned so much, and for the first time in my whole life I know I will not gain this weight back.
Congratulations, Elizabeth!

*Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.

Have you lost weight and kept it off using SparkPeople.com? We'd love to share your story. Email us: sparkpeoplesuccess (at) gmail (dot) com

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LEANJEAN6 4/7/2018
I love articles like this! Elizabeth--Yu look beautiful! Report
What a inspiration! That's for sharing your journey. Report
You did Great!! You motivate me to continue on my journey. Report
WOW!!!! Congratulations Elizabeth. I have currently lost 117lbs and have a lot of loose skin hanging around. What did you do about skin. Your skin looks so beautiful and firm. Report
Crazy question, Elizabeth...did you used to post over at iVillage? I think I "know" you! Great job on your weight loss!! You look fantastic! Report
Thank you for being so inspirational. Report
Absolutely wonderful! You are truly an inspiration to me. Congratulations Elizabeth! You look great! Report
Way to go Elizabeth! That's awesome!
Thank you so much for sharing your story! You have inspired so many people! Report
I certainly hope you keep the weight off, since 95% of people regain within five years. Don't go back to eating sugar/starches as they spite Insulin and cause cravings. I've learned so much from Richard Bernstein M.D. who wrote "The Diabetes Solution." Report
Wow. what a journey! Thanks for sharing. Report
Good for you! Congratulations!!! Report
Your past sounds so much like mine that it gives me hope that I can also improve myself. 2013 was my year to quit smoking (which I did), I have a year to meet my goal of being a fitter, healthier non-smoker when I turn 50 (Nov 2014). Report
well done you are so determined and have come so far, Congratulations Report
You are amazing! Thank you for sharing your journey .... you have given me inspiration and hope. Congratulations! Report
Thank you, for sharing your story, especially about the amusement park rides. My goal by our summer trip it to be small enough to go on the rides I want to go on. Report
You are an inspiration!!! Congratulations on all your accomplishments!! Report
Great story - so happy for you! Report
Such an inspiring story! Thanks for sharing!! :o) Report
Congratulations!!! Report
Absolutely inspiring and just what I needed to read. Congratulations! Report
Inspiring! Well done and congrats! Report
wow what an inspiring story. It is just what I needed to read to get me motivated this morning. Report
Great story!! I'm a stay at home mom too and I've made getting healthy my new full-time job! That includes being a better stay at home mom!! Incorporating what my daily chores are as another form of exercise is my big goal now along with hitting the gym every day (I have to in order to stay motivated) and I'm lucky enough to have access to a gym that offers child care on the days my son isn't in preschool. It's kind of like the perfect storm and I'm jumping in!! Thanks for giving others hope and inspiration!! Report
Elizabeth, I have a similiar amount of weight to lose and your story is very inspiring to me. It can be a daunting task but if I stick with it I know I can get there too! There will be lots of mini-victories to celebrate along the way too! Report
Well done Elizabeth! Report
Great job! I am so impressed, I also feel I have my life under control, except my weight! I'm 48 and have been overweight now since the birth of my first child, 26 years ago....slowly I've been going up, and up......I've tried all the weight loss programs and diets, still can't get a grip. Your story is extremely motivational. I will not give up. Thank you for your story, you look wonderful, and so happy! Report
Way to go! It shows that hard work and time... does pay off ;) Report
Thanks Elizabeth, I needed this motivation. I love your reflection on not letting one day break you/ or even make you, but working toward being in control of your health. Congratulations on your SUCCESS!!!!!!! Thanks for sharing. Report
You look wonderful,,,Congratulations! Report
Wonderful. I bet you had a lot of non scale benchmarks along the way. Well done. Report
Bravo. Thank you for dealing with binge eating. You look great and healthy.
Love your story, very common sense and seems sustainable. My biggest problem is thinking I need to get this weight off fast and I love that you did it slowly and steadily. Thanks for sharing your story!
Thank you for sharing your story. It has truly inspired me. :) Report
You are amazing! Reading your story has helped me so much. Thank you! Report
Awesome inspiration to know that it can be done. Report
I am trying to lose weight for the same reasons that you did. I really want to fit on the rides with my kids at Six Flags! I struggle with many of the same issues. If you can do it so can I! Thank you for sharing your story! Report
Im here because your story inspired me not to give up. Thank you Report
Your story is inspiring me to eat well right now.
Thank you and much success. Report
Super. What an amazing job you did. I am very proud. Keep the good work up. Loving the new you. Report
What an amazing accomplishment! So impressed with your hard work and perseverance! Report
I appreciate your honesty and are inspired by your success. God Bless! Report
All my life I have felt like such a failure when it comes to my battle with weight. Just one statement from you above has made me see why I'm a failure....No more!!!, I won't give up ever again!!! you have made me see the failure is in giving up and being defeated by my slipping. A slip from now on will be a stepping stone on the road to success.... Thank you for sharing your story....God bless! Report
You helped me to realize that I can cut the soda out of my diet, which so often finds a way to wriggle it's way back in there. Thanks! Report
What an amazing inspiration you are Elizabeth! Thank you for sharing your story. Report
I know exactly how you feel. I just wish I hadn't 'lost' all those years being selfishly disabled while negatively influencing my children to overeat and make poor food choices. I felt like I had let my family down and not just myself.

I know I can't do over the lost fat years, but I decided to make one last effort to be an example for my family -- even if only to show them that their destiny (to be or not to be --fat) is what they make it. Not to mention being able to live a few more 'quality' years at a normal weight . It is never to late to do the right thing. (I am 56 and have also lost 150-153 --depending on the current flux of the day).

Congratulations on your decision and your committment. You did well!! Report
WOW ! What a transformation ! Good for you, Elizabeth.

Thank you for sharing your story with us. I am a binge eater, too. This IS my nemesis , so it's encouraging to hear this is what you struggled with & overcame more than not now.

I hope you enjoy the birds now.
Congratulations! That is a wonderful success story! Report
Congratulations on your success. You are an inspiration. Report
Great job and blog! Report
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