Lisa Quit Dieting--and Lost 78 Pounds*

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Lisa Walton (LUCKEGIRL40)
Weight Lost: 78 pounds
Hometown: Papillion, NE
Occupation: Disaster Recovery Analyst
What was life like before your weight loss?
I have had a weight problem most of my life. I can still remember the first time my mom looked at me and told me I needed to lose weight. I was only about eight years old at the time, so I decided to put my leotard on and run around the house for a while. I took the scale to my mom and showed her that I had "lost" weight. She told me that that's not how it works. My mom was concerned about me and would continually try to get me to lose weight over the years. She tried everything, including bribes. I heard time after time that I wouldn't be able to get a good job or get a boyfriend if I continued to be heavy. I was very stubborn and tried to prove my mom wrong. I tried diet after diet and would experience temporary success only to jump back up to a higher weight again. I got married to my high-school sweetheart when I was 21 years old. Soon, he picked up where my mom left off with the lectures about my weight. I wanted to feel like my husband could accept me for who I was. After that, my weight skyrocketed. I got all the way up to 240 pounds when I was pregnant with my first child. At 5'3", I was pretty big. I lost some weight after giving birth, but began a cycle of yo-yo weight loss and weight gain for a few years.  At a doctor’s visit in July 2010, I felt crushed when I looked at the scale and it read 220 pounds again.  I was almost back at my pregnancy weight.

I felt awful. I couldn't stand looking in the mirror. I continued to feel my jeans getting tighter and tighter. I was grumpy with my kids and my husband. I constantly thought about how other people viewed me as a fat person. I felt self-conscious when I would sit in chairs and worried about whether I was crowding the people next to me or if the chair was going to hold my weight. I thought about my weight most of the day every day. It was miserable. I didn't feel like I was worth the time of day. One day, I sat on the floor during a very crowded meeting, and I had a hard time getting up off the floor. I realized that the problem was getting out of control.   
What was your ‘light bulb moment’ that made you get serious about losing the weight?
My grandmother was diagnosed with Type II diabetes when she was about 60 years old. She also had macular degeneration and high blood pressure. In May 2010, my grandmother was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer, and she passed away on June 1, 2010 at age 81. I was very close to her, and it hit me very hard when she died. I decided that I was going to use her death as the motivation I needed to start my weight-loss journey. I wanted something positive to come out of her death.  I take after her in a lot of ways, and I don't want to develop high blood pressure or diabetes.  I was also at my highest weight at the time of her death, and I couldn't stand myself anymore. I needed a change. I needed to be able to look myself in the mirror and be happy with what I saw. I needed to be able to not dread putting on my pants.
Tell us a bit about your weight-loss journey:
I asked my doctor to help me get started, so she set up an appointment with a nutritionist. I couldn't decide if I should go meet her or not. In the end, I decided to go because I told myself I needed to do this.  I told her that I needed to make a lifestyle change. I needed to learn to eat for the rest of my life and that I wasn't going on another diet but learning to change my eating habits. She signed me up for an account on As she described it to me, I sat there and thought about all the apps I had on my iPod that did the same thing and hadn't helped me. When I went home, I told myself I was going to give it a try. I logged in, and I was hooked! Something in my brain clicked. I used the resources to track my food and exercise.  With SparkPeople, I have found endless numbers of inspiring people. I am entirely motivated by the points and awards system. I love to try to get awards like: Perfect Attendance, 500 Monthly Spark Points and 1,000 Monthly Fitness Minutes. I love to see my progress over time. I track my weight and measurements and I can use the reports to see how I'm doing. I track my food almost every day with their amazing tool. It's so easy and I can see the nutritional breakdown of my caloric intake. I love to support people by reading and commenting on their blogs and I always appreciate the time people take to stop by and comment on my page and my blogs. I have found many wonderful recipes in the SparkPeople cookbook and on SparkRecipes. I have also made use of the recipe calculator on many occasions.

Learning to eat healthier, smarter portions isn’t just about reading it in an article or having someone tell you how to do it. It’s about something in your mind clicking into place. You finally realize how much extra food you eat day to day. A lot of these lessons are common sense. I had to take a look inside and view my eating habits realistically. Soon, I no longer walked into a grocery store and fell prey to the fried foods in the deli. I upped my exercise and the pounds started to come off.  By summer 2011, I had lost 50 pounds! I had to buy all new clothes and I no longer had to worry about pulling on my jeans. I don't feel like I'm on a diet that I'm going to finish with so I can go back to my old eating habits. I have truly learned to change my lifestyle.  I hit a plateau in the fall of 2011, but I didn't give up. In January 2012, I decided I needed to shake things up and I started working with a trainer. The pounds have started coming off again and I have no doubt that I will reach my goal. I feel that the longer it takes me to lose the weight, the better off I'll be. I'm doing this the healthy, lasting way. Doing the right thing takes time and I'm in for the long haul.
What is your typical exercise routine like?
I work out at least four times per week with a goal of five times per week. I do a mix of cardio and strength training. I can’t begin to tell you how important it is to add strength training to your workouts. I like a lot of variety so I don’t have a set routine. Sometimes I work out at home to videos or on my elliptical. I love to run outside! I run most Saturdays, and I really look forward to it. I participate in a lot of races, including obstacle races.

I have begun to enjoy doing CrossFit. They are powerhouse workouts! I also love to rollerblade, ice skate or just about anything else that burns calories. My kids tease me because I have a habit of turning everything into some sort of workout. I love that my new house has a staircase. Every time I run up and down that staircase I think of the exercise I’m getting.
What advice would you give to someone just beginning a weight-loss program?
The decision to lose weight has to come from within you! You have to make the decision to do it on your own. Outside support is wonderful and I couldn’t succeed without it, but making the decision to make healthy lifestyle changes successfully could only come from within me. It never worked to have other people telling me I needed to lose weight. I just found myself feeling resentful or heartbroken and hurt by their words. I just wanted to know why they couldn’t just accept me for who I was. You have to know in your heart that you and only you have the ability to make it happen. My light-bulb moment came when I realized that I wanted to lose the weight for me! It was totally in my power to do these things. No one else could do them for me. I wasn’t waiting for someone to do something before I could start. I just had to start!
A weight-loss program is really a pathway to a healthy lifestyle. I believe that living a healthy lifestyle is the end goal. The weight loss program shouldn’t be something you view as a temporary change. It should be a tool that is used to help you learn healthier habits for the long run. Follow the 80/20 rule! As long as you eat well 80% of the time, it’s okay to enjoy yourself 20% of the time. There is no such thing as an off-limits food! If you enjoy cake, then eat cake (just one piece though)!
How has your life changed since losing weight and improving your health?
I feel terrific! I have so much more confidence in myself, at my job, and in everyday life now. I used to feel like people wouldn't take me seriously--how can I be trusted if I couldn't even control my weight? It is literally like a huge weight has been lifted from me.  I feel like people have a new respect for me now.
Plus, I have a lot more energy! I have completed two half-marathons and I’m entertaining the thought of a full marathon. I run races every chance I get because I enjoy them and feel good about myself. They give me something to train for which helps me focus and keep working out. I have found that I really enjoy obstacle races! They really give you something to work for in the strength and endurance departments. There are so many fun races out there right now. I’ve done them all this year and plan to keep on going.
I know that I am setting a healthier example for my family, too.  When my daughter was 7, she asked me when I was going to be done with my diet. I explained to her that I was on a healthy lifestyle change and I wasn't ever going to be done. Now when people ask about my diet, she chimes in and tells them that it's not a diet but a healthy lifestyle change!
Great work, Lisa!

*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 We'd love to share your story. Email us: sparkpeoplesuccess (at) gmail (dot) com

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Thank you for sharing your story and congratulations on a job well done! It really is a person's own decision and not always an easy one to make. So happy for you! Report
Wonderfully inspiring story Lisa. Congratulations on your continued success.
Great job. How inspirational you are. Love your ways of dealing with the weight loss challenge. You look awesome! :D

Congratulations on your success! :D Report
Congratulations Lisa!!! Report
Thanks for sharing your inspirational story. I've read it twice! Report
Such a wonderful, Inspiring story!!! Thank you for sharing your story with us :) Report
Reading your story was just the inspiration I needed. Thanks Report
Thank you for sharing your story with us. Your story is a real motivator and it's just what I needed to read today. You are an inspiration! Report
Thanks for sharing your story! Very inspiring! Report
I loved reading your story, it really helps! Report
This is wonderful! Thank you for sharing your inspiring story! Report
Thanks for sharing your story! I'm making small changes one by one and reading this was a really inspiring way to start my day! Congratulations! Report
Thank you for sharing. My husband, daughter and I are overweight. I tell them that we need to lose weight, and in all honesty, haven't done a whole bunch about this statement. You are absolutely right, it has to start with me! Thank you for the motivational story! Report
Thank you for sharing your story. It is a good reminder for me.
You are correct in saying that you need to make the decision yourself, and that this is a lifestyle change.
I have found the same for myself.
Congrats on your success! Report
Thank you for sharing! Your story is encouraging. I am hoping to follow in your footsteps! Report
It was a nice story, but this bit...

"When my daughter was 7, she asked me when I was going to be done with my diet. I explained to her that I was on a healthy lifestyle change and I wasn't ever going to be done."

...Made me cringe. She has taught her daughter the code. This is what we say when we don't want people to chide us for always being on a diet. "Healthy lifestyle change" is so much more positive sounding. Report
Great story and I can feel for you as my parents were always on me about my weight. Finally took control and like you view this as a permanent life style change. It works! Report
Very inspiring! Thank you! Report
Great job Lisa! Thank you so much for your story and it has really motivated me and shown me that I too can do it!! God bless! Report
Congratulations on your success! I was inspired by your story. I just joined SP
a couple of weeks ago and have a long way to go to reach my weight loss goal but I know I can do it. I read a weight loss success story daily for inspiration and motivation. Thanks for sharing your story : ) Report
Awesome job! Congratulations. Very inspirational. :) Report
Congrats Lisa Report
Congratulations. Wonderful to read of your inspiring story.
Great story. Thanks for sharing, congratulations on your success you deserve it. Report
Thanks for the inspiration!! I am starting over for hopefully the last time... need to be healthy the rest of my life journey... thanks for sharing the tips and helping me find my own path Report
Great story. I'm so happy for you. Stories like this can only help others get there as well. I agree with you on the points / awards.... at first I thought they were kind of silly and for the life of me couldn't figure out how the "silliness" would help me. Weellllll..... I've become addicted to them. It really helps keep me in line. Good work Lisa and thanks so much for sharing your experiences with us. Report
Wow! So inspirational! Can't wait to be where you're at, Lisa! Report
I love this story! It is so motivating! Congratulations on your success! You deserve it! Report
Lisa, I so relate to your story! Thanks for sharing. Report
What a great story. Thanks for sharing. I agree the decision has to come from the inside and it has to be a lifestyle. Report
Great story - thanks for sharing. I realized that this is indeed not a diet, but "eating for the rest of my life." I'ts an empowering feeling to be in control of one's eating and fitness. Success stories are my new addiction, instead of cookies :) Report
Thanks for your telling your story. I found it mirrors my mindset right now, and I'm starting to see results too. One thing I've noticed. It takes time to be mindful. I happen to have time right now but am worried about when I wont'. Report
I feel the same way about the hands dilemma! I'd lost weight before my wedding this summer and my hands were finally falling off. But since the weather turned cold is been less motivating to workout when it's dark when I need get home....but your story has made me realize that I have to put the time of year aside and do the work too succeed! This is the PERFECT time of year to stay on a workout plan....layered clothes now, reveal a new body in spring. That's what I keep telling myself, I just have to stick with it. Thanks for your inspiration Report
You are truly an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your story! Report
You really look great and look so happy. Thanks for the inspiration!!!!!
Yes, yes, YES. It was just 2 days ago that I saw a picture of myself at a friend's wedding and thought, "oh, boy, I'm the chubby friend." And for the first time, after a lifetime of wanting to lose weight and doing it, wanting to lose weight and not doing it, not wanting to lose weight (or not caring) and losing, or not wanting to lose weight and gaining weight, I have FINALLY come to terms with the fact that I simply put too many calories in my body.

The part I find most interesting, though, is that you found the nagging of your family/ loved ones to be ineffective. I often think that if somebody could have just sat me down in high school and said, "sweetie, the scale shows that you're a little overweight. I'd love to help you make healthier choices," then the whole lifetime struggle thing would have been nipped in the bud. Then again, the 'what if' game is a dangerous one. Thanks for sharing and reminding me that no matter what our previous obstacles have been, we are ALL capable of moving forward. Report
What an inspiration! Thank you for sharing your story. You sound like a great role model for your daughter, too. Keep up the great work! Report
Thank you for sharing. Its harder when it feels like everyone is against you. Great job! Report
I'm just starting...almost a month in to it and already I feel so much better. I can see some changes like my face is brighter. Who would have thought my face would be brighter? I can stretch more and I don't feel bogged down with water weight. I can't tell you how many nights I'd sit watching tv and notice my feet and legs feeling tight and bigger than normal. The excess sodium in the foods I was eating was way over the bodies daily limit. I even feel happier. Your journey was encouraging to me because I do believe in order to lose weight and become a better person, it has to come from within. Thank you for sharing your story. :) Report
You look so amazing. Keep the good work up. Report
I love your story, and your pictures say as much as your words. Congratulations on your incredible achievement!!! Report
Sounds like the 80/20 concept could be very freeing. Think I'll try it. Report
Congrats from a "neighbor" in northwest Iowa! Report
WOW! You look totally amazing; like a completely different person. Your daughter has a great coach! Report
Great Story Lisa! You've done a great job! Report
I really enjoyed reading your story. Thank you for sharing. Report
Great job & u look FAB! Report
Great job, both of losing the weight and sharing your tips with us! I'm also doing an 80/20 healthy lifestyle change! Report
Amazing that yours is the first success story I have read on here. It just happens to speak to the decision i have made for myself. Thank you for sharing your incredible story...i am inspired;-) Report
Amazing! Way to go! Your story is so real and so inspiring! Thank you! Report
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