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

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This article is 5 years old, it would be nice to have an update Report
Wonderful balanced approach. Report
Congrats! Report
You look amazing, and your attitude is wonderful and inspiring. What a great story. Thank you for sharing. Report
Very inspiring weight loss. What are you studying in college? Report
I loved your story and as I read the numbers they sounded like my numbers. 206 was my heaviest and since I've started SP I've lost 9.6 pounds and already feel good. I would be happy with 20 lb weight loss but happier with 30 and estactic with 50 lb weight loss. Your story is pleasant and inspirational and I'm so happy for you and for all of us - we can do this. You did! I will look for your blogs. Report
I love when you said, "I know I can count on myself". Very helpful. :) Report
Hearing your longterm commitment and slow but steady progress is very helpful. I too am 43 and a mom of 2, and I sometimes get off track with eating and exercise when my job or the kids demand most of my time. But knowing that other people are able to stick with it helps me get back on track. I really like your title, which was what drew me to read your post--I'm a historian. Good luck in college! I have taught evening classes for working adults, and they're by far my favorite, most motivated students! Report
hi yes my name is aleisa and im trying ti figure out my weight goal is and how to take control of my portions control because I don't now anything with my family with diabeatees also anything else so am kind of like confused right at the moment and am looking and watching these people on how they did it and kept it off . is like what I want to know. I also have joined tops in hawely chuch. Report
Your story out of all is the best. I love your attitude from start to finish. You loved yourself before and it just grew with effort. Thank you for sharing your story. Congrats! Report
Thank you for sharing your journey!! Look at all the wonderful things you're able to share with your family & friends. Good Luck in college & any thing else you tackle. Report
Thanks for sharing your journey! Reading your story keeps me motivated and I needed a little push today! Report
Congrats! thank you for sharing, I love reading success stories, very motivating! You will love college at 43! I got my associates in 2010 and I have been working on my bachelors for 2 years. I have one and a half left yrs and I LOVE it!! Plug away. Report
Congrats on your success! Slow and steady - huh - whouda thunk? :) Report
Fantastic story, and all best with the back to school (from another gal who did the same at about the same age!!) Report
Way to go, Tricia! You look fit and fabulous! Report
Wow--your story is so inspirational! Congratulations!! Report
Thanks everyone for the comments and well wishes! I marked 9 months maintenance this past week and have seen the 60 pounds off mark on the scale. My mom was so thrilled to see this! Report
Great Job! Report
WTG!!! Report
Awesome Report
Tricia's a great lady, an inspiring friend, and regular blogger. Check out her blogs if you haven't already! Report
Great job. Looking good. Keep it up. Report
Way to go, Tricia! Report
43 looks good on you. Congratulations and good luck with your new adventure Report
You look absolutely gorgeous! You are an inspiration to the rest of us. I CAN BE DONE!

Thank you for sharing. Loved your story-- AND the before /after photos. Report
Congratulations! And thank you for sharing your story! Report
Congratulations; thank you for sharing with us; your story is an affirmation that we CAN do this! Good luck with all that you choose to do. Report
Amazing! Totally inspirational. Report
Congratulations on all your accomplishments!!! Report
So inspiring to hear how you did it slowly and recognized your relationship with sweet foods wasn't good! Congrats to you and best wishes to you on your new endeavor with college! Report
I love sucess stories! Makes me see that whatever your age, circumstances, difficulties, etc, it is possible to reach and maintain a healthy weight.
By the way, I too went back to college later in life. It was easier, and much more enjoyable. Learning is a wonderful experience Report
Congrats to you! Report
wonderful! Report
Congrats! Love your before and after photos! Becca Report
Thank you for sharing and inspiring! Congrats on this great achievement of better health! You look wonderful! Report
Congratulations and good Luck in College!! Thank you for sharing your Story. Report
Congratulations Tricia! It is good to hear about maintenance tips too. We all hope to make it there some day. Good luck in college. With so many life experiences you should actually be better equipped to learn than the younger students. Good luck. Report
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