A Birthday Surprise Motivated Rachel to Lose 70 Pounds*

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Rachel Murray (_RACHEL)
Weight Lost: 70 pounds
Hometown: Goldendale, WA
Occupation: Stay-at-home mom
What was life like before your weight loss?
I gained weight during each pregnancy and didn't take it off afterwards.  By the time I had my 4th child, I had gained 78 pounds.    I was an expert dieter and yo-yoed throughout my life between overeating and starving myself.  I needed to stop having a "diet" mentality. Even though I am an extrovert and love people, I hid myself at home.  I kept my social activities to the absolute minimum and relied heavily on my husband, to the point that he even did the grocery shopping.  I hated holidays and trying to find something suitable to wear. I was constantly in tears.  Even buying new clothes was painful.
What was your ‘light bulb moment’ that made you get serious about losing the weight?
The year I turned 50, my sisters schemed to drag me into our community's largest parade.  My husband knew there was no way I would attend because I hadn’t gone for years.  In fact, I avoided going anywhere because I was so heavy. My sister, whose son had just passed away, told me that her granddaughters were going to be in the parade and asked me to watch. How could I refuse her? Little did I know that this was only a ploy to get me there.

I was in turmoil, deeply embarrassed and hoping I wouldn't see anyone I knew.  As a spectator, watching the parade go by, my eyes became fixed on a large banner with my name on it announcing: "Welcome Our Newest Member, Rachel Murray- Happy 50th Birthday!”  There was a small sports car all decorated in the Red Hat Society colors waiting for me.  They drew me out of the crowd, placed a red hat on my head and had me get into the car.  As I rode like a politician seen by everyone at the parade, I literally was dying inside. My sisters did me the biggest favor.  That day was my motivator to get on track and try to lose the weight.
Tell us a bit about your weight loss journey:
I started on December 27, 2009. I joined a small SparkPeople group, the Wildflowerr Live~It's.  Our leader created monthly challenges.  I was an active participant and logged my food, water, and exercise daily.  The result was that I lost an average of one to two pounds per week. SparkPeople has taught me how to eat right.  I especially love the tool that shows my daily nutritional feedback. SparkPeople has played a tremendous role in my life.  I have made long-lasting friendships and had the privilege of flying across our nation to meet these wonderful ladies.  We have bonded even more and celebrated our successes.  These relationships still continue even after almost four years on the site.  I have been encouraged, inspired, and strengthened by reading other members’ blogs and achievements.

What is your current typical exercise routine like?
I do a strength and cardio routine five days a week.  Every spring and fall, when I am a trainer for our local gym, I add a "Couch to 5 K" program to my regular exercise routine.
How would you describe your typical diet now as compared to before your weight loss? 
Before my weight loss, my diet was the ‘anything goes’ diet.  I am now more of a healthy and conscientious eater.  This is largely due to my training for the Portland marathon.  As nutrition is critical for long distance running, I spent time reading labels to ensure my body received the proper balance of necessary ingredients.  This way of eating has not left me; I still follow it today.

What advice would you give to someone just beginning a weight loss program?
Be patient!  If you are exercising, counting your calories and drinking your water, it will come off.
Who is your biggest inspiration? 
My biggest inspirations are the SparkPeople community of members.  I love seeing pictures showing their transformations.

How has your life changed since losing weight and improving your health?
Because I am no longer hiding and afraid to be seen, I'm an active member in our community.  I am told constantly that I have inspired people around me to get healthy and lose weight. I am constantly sharing my story and what SparkPeople has done for me. My friend and I started a "Runners and Walkers" club.  We have about 50 members.  We are committed to bettering our community with a healthier lifestyle.  We provide an annual graduation race for my fall Couch to 5K class.  My weight loss has inspired people to participate and get moving.  I love to see others reach their goals!
Now that I am physically fit, I can share my husband's passion of hiking and we hike as a family.  And, my personal dream came true a few years ago when I ran the Portland Marathon!
Keep up the great work, Rachel!

*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

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints


JANET552 4/1/2018
Thank you for sharing your inspiring story!! Report
You look absolutely gorgeous! Congratulations on making so many healthy changes. So inspiring. Report
Thank you !! I too will be running a marathon in December...so this really inspired me to keep going Report
Thank you for sharing your story. I am sitting here today with a really painful back from over doing it the past few days and feeling sorry for myself. I read your story and felt truly inspired. Thank you! Report
Thank you....one more sparker motivated by your story. Report
You look stunning and your story is an inspiration to me to remain committed my lifestyle change! Report
I am so proud of you! Congrats on the weight loss! Report
Wonderful story.....you look great! Such motivation.... I'll be 47 on my December birthday this year and I want to drop at least 12lbs by then... that will get me 12lbs within my goal weight of 135... I really want to get down to 130lbs, but I'm going to see how 135 looks on me first ;-) Thanks for your inspiration! Report
Way to go! You are beautiful! Loved your story! Report
Good for you! You look absolutely fabulous! Such an inspiration... :) Report
Thank you. That is really an inspiring story. Lookin good. Report
Wow Rachel! What a great showing of your eventful life these past few years! In July I turned 40 and I talked of my great plan to lose weight. I do well at reading stuff and "digesting" what I need to do. I love coming to SP website and do all the things I'm supposed to do... well, everything other than tracking food and exercise. Anyway, 2 days ago, I saw myself in the mirror and decided it was time to actually try to lose this excess weight. I'm lucky to have family, like you did, that push me to try... and now that I'm on board w/what they know I can do, I will succeed! Thanks for your story and even though you know it, I'll tell you - you're inspirational. May your successes continue! Report
I laughed out loud when I read about your sister doing that! I could totally feel your pain because I am in that "avoiding public spectacle" phase myself right now, but your story reminds me that it won't always be this bad. Thank you. Report
Thank you so much for sharing your stories and pictures! It is so inspiring! Report
Thank you so much for being so transparent about your struggles in the beginning. I'm going to be 50 next year and want to give myself the present of being super healthy, slim and toned. I so resonated with your experience of dreading shopping for clothes. It find it so discouraging.

But your story is so inspirational! I'm looking forward to making the same commitment to feel and look great at 50. Thanks for sharing your story! Report
I hope you feel as good as you look!! Great job!! Happy late birthday! lol :D Report
Thanks for the inspiration! I am 54 and go nowhere I don't absolutely have to go because I am ashamed to go out. I needed to hear from someone like me and you have inspired me greatly! Report
Wow great job and quite an inspiration. I can relate as I too try to avoid human interaction as much as possible other than work. I stared in the summer with Spark people and strayed away and am back again. Iam 51 and about 50lbs overweight. I have never enjoyed long distance running and have not done it since late teens. Do you have any tips for starting to run. Thanks. Report
Awesome! Report
Hey there friend, Love and miss all my wildflowerr sisters. Have always loved the story of your healthy journey to a new you. You are truly an inspiration to so many. God bless you....... Jackie Report
Great blog Rachel !!!! love you!!! Report
You look great! Loved your blog!
Congratulations on the life change!!1 You are indeed an inspiration to me... Report
You look terrific!!! Thanks for sharing that healthy life choices can start at any time. You are an inspiration. Report
Congratulations Rachel!
I love to hear stories like yours. It means so much more when I hear of someone from our neck of the woods who has succeeded in their goals.
Thanks for sharing your story! Report
Thanks for sharing. Report
Fabulous!!!!! Thank you!!!! Report
Thank you, great blog! Report
Thank you ever so much for sharing your way to success with all of us. You are just the inspiration I needed! Report
Amazing! Thank you for sharing. Report
You've done a great job and are to be congratulated. Your sisters took a real chance.
But had it been me that was dragged out like that, I would have dead sisters because all it would have made me do was to run home and hide. Report
What a difference in your facial expression in the two red hat photos! You look radiant in the 2nd photo! Congratulations - you are an inspiration to us all. Report
Congratulations on your tremendous accomplishment! You look wonderful.
Amazing journey! Report
Wonderful journey. And you're giving back so much to your community. You are truly an inspiration! Report
Way to go, Rachel. You are an inspiration. Report
You look fantastic and I can see you feel that way too! Hottie Ms Hot! Report
You're 50? Holy crap! I hope I look half as gorgeous as you do when I hit 50. Congrats on being absolutely awesome. Report
Congratulations on your success--you look amazing :)
You are amazing! Report
You are beautiful! Now that i'm in my mid thirties, I constantly fear that I will just keep getting uglier and uglier as I age.. we can't remain 20 forever lol, but seeing you gives me hope! :) Plus, I am just starting this program, have 70 pounds myself to lose, 5 kids later, and it is so discouraging that the weight isn't just dropping off, I think I'll manage to make my 1-2 pound goal this week.. and I'm diligently doing this diet! Thank you for your advice to be patient, and sharing your testimony! Great job! Report
Way to go Rachel! You look great at 50+. Report
Iím concerned this story conveys the message that you have to be thin to feel worthy. Did all the crippling emotional insecurities just vanish with each pound? Hum. Come on SparkPeople. Refusing to leave the house goes beyond weight. How did you address the emotional issues? Report
You are such an inspiration. You look great! Report
Boy I understand the wanting to hide.... Report
This is awesome! My birthday too, inspired me. What a gift to give to yourself! Report
So wonderful to hear a success story from someone over 50. Sometimes I get so discouraged. Thank you so much for sharing! Report
Very inspiring. I like your advice to count your calories, exercise and drink your water. I try to do this everyday and I find that it isn't that hard to accomplish. You look fantastic. Thanks for sharing. Report
You are such an inspiring and beautiful person. Thanks for encouraging others. Report
Great job, awesome story, amazing results! Keep spreading your sunshine onto others, way to go!!! Report
Close email sign up
Our best articles, delivered Join the millions of people already subscribed Get a weekly summary of our diet and fitness advice We will never sell, rent or redistribute your email address.

Magic Link Sent!

A magic link was sent to Click on that link to login. The link is only good for 24 hours.