Tricia Made Healthier Choices and Lost Over 50 Pounds!*

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Tricia Voss (VTRICIA)
Weight Lost: 57 pounds
Hometown:  Salt Lake City, UT
Occupation: Mother and Student
What was life like before your weight loss?
I thought of myself as pretty healthy even though I have been overweight most of my life and crossed the line into obese now and then.  I figured I was just big-boned or had heavy genes.  I wore baggy clothes and people said my pregnancies didn’t show for seven or eight months.  I thought eating right meant adding protein to whatever I felt like eating and maybe some vegetables at dinner.  I didn’t do very much in the way of fitness, even though I have a ton of exercise equipment around the house.  As I approached 40, it felt like it was all downhill, especially after I had a few injuries and became less mobile during my recovery.
What was the main motivation behind your weight loss?
I hadn’t weighed myself in a couple years, but one day I was helping my sister weigh her baby and was shocked at what I saw.  I was 212 pounds, 22 pounds over my “fat but fit” ideal of 190 pounds.  I started using SparkPeople and lost 6 pounds, but then I got pregnant.  After the pregnancy, I had blood work done for life insurance and was confronted with elevated LDL cholesterol levels, higher than usual blood pressure numbers and other risk factors that prevented me from getting the best rate. 
About this time, I also had an "a-ha" moment about my relationship with sweets. One day I was going along eating one of my personal favorites out of the bag, and I thought: "I just love these things! I don't know how I would ever get along without them."  And I realized that if one of the best things in life was some candy, I had a serious problem.  That was the beginning of my willingness to put boundaries on my eating.
On New Year’s Day 2012, I decided to resume my activity on SparkPeople and started with tracking my food.
Tell us a bit about your weight loss journey: 
At first, I just wanted to get back to 190 pounds (I was at 206 pounds at the time).  I made good progress as I tracked my food.  I started seeing nutrition as a series of choices.  For 100 calories, did I want a piece of whole wheat bread, a slice of cheese, or a dollop of mayonnaise?  I was amazed at how applying a little knowledge to my food was bringing my weight down.  I soon learned which foods were worthwhile nutritionally and which ones weren’t. 

I was a nursing mom, and planned to be for another year, so my lifestyle change had to be something I could keep up long term.  I lost about 4 pounds per month, which is slower than most people, but my healthy habits became cemented in consistency.  I made changes gradually as outlined in Chris Downie’s book, The Spark.  For several months, I worked very hard at improving my nutrition.  Then I went on a vacation where I gained a few pounds, but I was also more active and I wanted to continue that trend.  When I came back, SparkCoach had launched and the timing was perfect for me to commit to a consistent fitness habit. At first it was a challenge to do 10 minutes every day, but I have done it at least six days a week ever since, and I eventually moved on to 20 minutes.  I am a big believer in strength training and know a lot about it, but I hadn't really understood cardio before SparkCoach pointed me in the right direction.  This program was very instrumental in incorporating fitness into my program.  Once I got my Fitbit, I was really motivated to do 30 minutes a day or more.  Using this tracking tool has really helped now that I’ve moved on to the maintenance side of my weight loss journey.
I am very grateful for the tools and support SparkPeople provided and continues to provide for my weight management program.  By associating with other people who had achieved success, my belief in what was possible began to change.  Maybe a normal BMI wasn’t a myth.  I met SparkFriends who were maintaining and that really inspired me. On December 12, 2012, I weighed in at my goal of 165 pounds! Since that time, I've dropped an additional 10 pounds and now weigh 155 pounds--- 57 pounds gone!
What is your typical exercise routine like? 
I alternate cardio and strength training days. I actually broke my toe a couple months after I reached my goal and adapted my routine by biking instead of walking.  I often watch TV or read while I do cardio and that has helped me increase fitness time.  In weight maintenance, I’ve learned fitness is so important to preserving lean mass as we age, especially strength training.  Just this month I heard a tip that is allowing me to try running without hurting my knee, so you never know what you will learn!
In what ways have your eating habits changed?
I already believed in eating fresh, whole foods and did a lot of my own cooking, but I had no concept of portion control.  When I was working, I used to pick up fast food often.  I am a big advocate of tracking food, even 8 months into maintenance.  I started out tracking to make sure I was getting adequate protein and fat when I was nursing, and I see it as being about information rather than control.  It doesn’t take me that long, and because I know my most common foods really well, I’m able to eat fairly consistent meals that are easily recalled in one or two tracking sessions a day.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out or hitting a rough patch? 
There are several different ways to do things so keep trying and learning until you find what works for you.  Some people respond to a challenge by doubling down, but I think slow and steady wins the race.  Tracking and incremental exercise were what worked for me.  I keep motivated by believing that my lifestyle is improving my health and by associating with other folks with healthy goals, especially on SparkTeams.   I thought I was born to be fat, but I’m rewriting that part of my history. 

How has your life changed since losing weight and improving your health?
I’ve always been very accepting of myself, so I can’t say losing weight has made me a lot happier with my body.  I do enjoy having more strength and endurance.  What has been huge for me is the confidence that comes from working hard and reaching my goals.  It’s about more than just liking myself; I know I can count on myself.  Remember that life insurance exam? Well, my resting heart rate dropped 20 beats per minute, and I was able to get my life insurance rate reduced to the best rate.  Not only that, but my energy and stamina have improved considerably.  I am totally excited to be going back to college at the age of 43.  It’s a new adventure!
Congratulations, Tricia!

*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