Renee Took Control of Her Life--and Lost 100 Pounds*

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Renee Hernandez (MIAMI_LILLY)
Weight Lost: 100 pounds
Hometown: Miami, FL
Occupation: Homemaker
What was life like before your weight loss?
I was an overweight child. Although I was always active, I loved junk food and sweets and had a grandmother that always overfed me. As I got older and had four children, I gained weight from each pregnancy. I was so busy taking care of my family, I didn't have time to take care of myself. I was extremely depressed. I had no energy, and would sit on the couch feeling sorry for myself. One time, I remember our vehicle breaking down, and I had to walk to the supermarket. My hips and ankles hurt so badly on the walk home, I could almost cry.
What was your ‘light bulb moment’ that made you get serious about losing the weight?
My biggest motivation was being healthy for my family, and for myself. I already had high blood pressure, and my triglycerides were higher than normal. I was on a very dangerous road. It was my birthday, and my size 24 jeans were so tight, they were uncomfortable to wear. I had to make a choice, either spend my birthday money on bigger jeans or finally take control of my life. I decided to give myself the best present...a healthier body.
Tell us a bit about your weight loss journey: 
SparkPeople was essential to my weight loss. The thought of possibly having to give up my favorite foods was difficult.  So in the beginning, I really didn't give up anything, I just ate smaller portions. As the weight came off, I would try healthier recipes and added new fruits and vegetables to my diet. I used to drink a lot of sweet tea and diet soda. I began drinking four glasses of water before I would let myself have a diet cola, and would increase the glasses before I rewarded myself. I ended up not drinking the sweet tea at all anymore; I just didn’t have the desire for it.  It was important for me to learn that there were no "bad" foods, and that mentality made it so much easier. I ate whatever I wanted, but watched my portions and tracked the calories. It's also so important to receive encouragement when you're feeling down. Everyone gets to a point where they think they can't do it, and there was always a cheerleader on SparkPeople when I needed one.
At the start, I had severe pain in my hips and ankles when I exercised, so I began with the no-impact elliptical trainer. I started by committing myself to 20 minutes a day, five days a week. When I lost about 30 pounds, I moved on to using the treadmill.

It took me one year to lose 70 pounds and then I lost 30 more pounds the following year. I've been doing well maintaining the loss, but eventually I would love to lose another 10 pounds.
What obstacles did you encounter during your weight loss journey and how did you deal with them?
My biggest obstacle was my family. After all, the kids didn't have a weight problem, so why should they change the way they eat? I wasn't going to cook separate meals for myself, so the entire family got a diet makeover whether they wanted it or not. In the end, they are healthier children, so I did them a favor.
What is your current typical exercise routine like? 
I joined a social running club where we run 3.5 miles every Wednesday evening. I also run four miles on Saturday mornings on my own. Three days a week, I exercise using cardio machines, like the stationary bike and elliptical trainer, along with some strength training.
How would you describe your typical diet now as compared to before your weight loss? 
I used to eat whatever I wanted without any thought to the consequences it had on my body. Now I try to choose wholesome foods that feed my body and soul, not just my taste buds. Eliminating all of those simple carbohydrates, watching my portion sizes, eating every few hours to keep my metabolism up and drinking plenty of water is my ‘new’ normal.  When you put good foods in your body, you just feel better!
What advice would you give to someone just beginning a weight loss program?
My biggest advice would be to not do too much at once. Some unhealthy habits we have are years, maybe decades, in the making; so don't try to overhaul them overnight. You will feel overwhelmed and frustrated. Also, know that everyone has bad days and plateaus. Stick through them, be patient, and you will reap the rewards in the end.
How has your life changed since losing weight and improving your health?
The journey has been long, but so rewarding! I'm not the same person anymore. I know that anything is possible if you work hard for it. There were times I was frustrated because the scale wouldn't budge, or I just wanted to sit down in front of the TV and binge eat, but I also knew how good I felt compared to where I was. I never gave up. I'm now 42, and healthier than when I was 24. I'm confident and outgoing, and I love it when people don't recognize me due to my weight loss. I'm like a fine wine; I just keep getting better!
Congratulations, Renee!

*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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Wow! What an inspiration! Great job! :D Report
Definitely an inspiration! You are dead on. I have about 30 more to go. Report
Congratulations! You look great and what a wonderful role model for your children :-) Report
Awesome!! I am just beginning my journey to a better me and your story was my inspiration for the day. Thanks for sharing! Report
Congratulations it is so great to hear of others success, I have also lost more than 100 and like you have made changes that have become the new normal to keep it off. Report
Congratulations Renée. I am inspired by your success; thank you for sharing your story. I have 90 pounds to lose, and I am going to be fifty next year. Reading about your ability to make such positive life changes makes it easier to believe that I can do this, too. Report
Thanks for the tips! I have just started on my journey of weight loss need to loose a lot of weight, and in the past 12 years my eating habits are bad. So I appreciated not to have to make too many changes at first. Report
Your testimony has given me such inspiration, thank you!!! Congrats on your success. Report
Thank you for sharing. You have done a fantastic job Report
Very inspiring story thanks for sharing! Report
Awesome! Thanks for sharing your inspiring story. Report
Wow your inspiring ! 100 lbs that's so awesome!! good for you
Im back on here trying to lose again Report
Congrats on your loss and thank you for sharing. Some days I don't feel like I'm making any improvements but then I remember that it took a while to gain this weight and it will take a while to lose it. Report
Your story was so inspirational to me so thanks for taking the time to share it. I just came back to SP after three years away, and I am returning 20 lbs heavier than when I first started way back then. I am so frustrated right now, but stories like yours are so important to so many here. Report
my name's Renee too!! :)
I really love the idea of not giving up your favorite foods at first and just watching portion sizes. I love reading success stories that make weight loss seem enjoyable and most importantly doable!
Keep up the great work Renee :D Report
What an accomplishment. I'm from Miami, fl. Would like to join your social running club when I am more ready.
Sandra Report
Thank you so much for sharing your encouraging experirnce. It is so meaningful to feel hopeful. Thanks! Report
You look amazing. Report
Wow! In only 2 years! Congrats! Your determination inspires me. Report
Congratulations on your success. Thank you for sharing your inspiring! Report
Yeah!! High 5's, tons of hugs!! Great job. Thank you for sharing your story. Report
Thank you for sharing your story. Stories like this from "regular" people keep me motivated. Report
Congratulations! Very inspiring! I'm just getting underway and have lost 20lbs. I have about 90 to go. Stories like yours will keep me motivated and engaged. Thanks for sharing your story. Report
You are an inspiration. I would like to have you on my side to cheer me on.

Linda Report
Thank you for the motivation and tips for losing slowly! You are awesome! Report
Wow! This is encouraging. And you did a wonderful job and you look great!
I am very happy for you. Report
Congratulations, Renee! I've loved following your progress the last couple of years. Keep up that Spark! Report
Great job. Report
Thank you for the inspiration! Report
This could be my story. I also have 4 small children, ages 2 to 6 1/2, and I struggle so hard to take care of myself! I especially struggle with making wise food choices. Thanks for the encouragement! Report
Congratulations on your dedication and hard work - and the amazing results of your endeavor! Thank you for the tip about earning the diet soda by drinking water first! As someone who is addicted to Diet Coke, I am going to begin doing that immediately! :) Report
Congratulations! Just what I needed to read today ! Report
Congratulations, young lady! I Like to think the same about age and fine wine... Report
Thanks for being an inspiration for those of us who need to lose at least 100 pounds or more. Your story is what I needed today as I head out to the park and try to get more steps in.
Susan Report
Congratulations on your new lifestyle, you look fabulous! Report
Congratulations on all your accomplishments!!! You are an inspiration!!! Report
Great job! You are such an inspiration to me. Report
You have worked hard, and it shows! CONGRATS on making your goals reality. Report
Congratulations! That is inspiring and I am glad to hear you took it slow. Keep up the good work. Your kids will thank you for it someday. Give yourself a hug and a pat on the back from me.
Lee Report
Way to go !You are awesome. Report
You look amazing lady! And you are such an inspiration to many of us! Thank you for your insights and all of your very personal stories to help us ALL see that we battle some of the same things! ;) You are truly a blessing to all! :) Report
Renee, you're truly an inspiration. Love that you found your own path, and did it the way it felt right for you. Congratulations on keeping it off as well, and creating healthier kids along the way. You may have instilled good eating habits that will last them a lifetime. Yay Renee! Report
Awesome story. Report
Great job, Renee. I especially love the quote about eating to fuel your body and soul, not just your taste buds. That is one I will have to remember. Report
Good for you, girl! All the way! Report
Good job! Thanks for sharing your story—you are an inspiration! Report
Thanks for your story! Report
Thank you for posting, it is inspiring. Report
What an accomplishment 100 pounds down. You look awesome. Keep it up! Report