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

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Well Done!!! You are an inspiration!!! Congratulations!!! Report
What an amazing story! You look fantastic and you are a great inspiration :) Thank you so much for sharing your story! Report
Awesome, you look fantastic! Thanks for sharing your story. Loved reading it. Report
Hello Rachel! Great Job sister! You have a very inspirational story! I'm so glad I am part of the Live~It's and have been blessed by YOU and all the others. You are an inspiration to so many more! Keep smiling and shining and smiling for the Lord for we can do ALL things through Christ Who gives us the strength! You ARE so BEAUTIFUL! God Bless You! :))))) Report
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