By Randi Reed, PJCC Assistant Camp Director
Everyone asks me what happened. How did I do it?
As a teenager at age 16 I weighed 350 lbs. If that sounds like it would be hard to overcome, it was.
I had PCOS (Polycystic ovary syndrome) and I knew if I kept going and growing the way I was, I would have died. With help from my doctor to get the PCOS and hormones under control I worked on my diet! I drastically reduced my CALORIE intake and started moving my body. In 9 months I dropped 90 lbs! From there I continued watching what I ate and my portions and kept exercising. I hit plateaus and still had some bad eating habits but I remained dedicated and continued to lose.
FLASH FORWARD 6 years! Down to 215 lbs! I lived in NYC, I was active and healthy, yet still a big girl! I decided it was time to get my PCOS checked again. Low and behold I no longer had signs of this disease! Could the weight loss have something to do with it! YES! Weight loss can help reverse and eliminate PCOS. But I was still obese. Staying motivated with so much to lose is hard. I finally joined Weight Watchers in September 2010 for the additional support and motivation!
FLASH FORWARD to today! I’m at 165 lbs. and STAYING THERE!
I am a healthy weight. My heart, lungs, joints and brain are all a lot happier, healthier, and free from the stress of the extra weight. By drastically reducing my calorie intake, controlling my portions and paying attention to how much I consume, paired with lots of interval training–free weights, walking, jogging, yoga, anything to get me to move, and move more–I did it! This is not something that was a fad diet. It was a full-on lifestyle change!
This, in a nutshell, is what I did to get where I am today and stay this way. I didn’t yo-yo diet. I slowly lost and gained at times over a 10 year time span, but I changed my habits. I now can control this food addiction and obesity! This is a disease you give yourself and you can change it! You can do it too but you have to want it. You have to know that your beautiful heart should keep pumping and bringing the world that beautiful you! Don’t make it work so hard pumping extra hard for your fat! Love your heart, love your body, love yourself and change for the healthier! I did.
Q & A
What are the key components to losing weight?
- Specific – Target a specific area for improvement. If you want to lose weight HOW MUCH? if you want to wear new pants WHAT SIZE? Don’t just pick a random number or random goal, BE SPECIFIC, give it value and it will be easier to remember and work for. VALUE IS KEY.
- Measurable – Quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress. I will lose two pounds a week. I will go on a walk 4 times a week. My pants are currently this size. I currently weigh this much. Measure these things and set those goals. And see how they change. Weight is one measurement, but clothing size, underwear size, and cardiovascular capacity (I can walk for this long till I have to stop and rest) are all good to use too.
- Achievable – Specify goals that are reachable. Trying to lose 30 pounds in month is not possible. You need to understand what is possible and work for that. Setting yourself up to lose 10lbs in a week will ultimately make you frustrated if you fail. 1-2 lbs. a week is a good and safe rule of thumb for weight loss that is sustainable achievable.
- Realistic – State what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources. Can you really workout for 3 hours a day? Or would working out for an hour be possible with a long walk later? If you are realistic you will be better able to keep up.
- Time-related – Specify when the result(s) can be achieved. If you give yourself a timeline, then you have goals you can reach. Big goals and small milestones. Take things week by week but have an overall goal.
What got you back on track when you cheated a bit?
I don’t like the word cheating, it’s not a test! We are all grownups and we make choices. If I choose to have a cupcake then I am going to eat all of the cupcake? What am I going to eat the rest of the day? Will I make a healthier choice later today? How will this affect me? Will I be ok if I eat this? Will I be ok if I don’t eat this? What I can have instead of this?
You are not a bad person if you happen to not make a healthier choice; you are not a bad person if you eat some pizza, or cheese, or a cupcake, or lots and lots of gummier bears at the movies. Just be AWARE of what you are eating and HOW MUCH. Don’t play the game of “well I ruined my diet today oh well” and then go on and eat anything and everything you can get your hands on. If you never allow yourself a treat or something you enjoy and deprive yourself then you will go overboard and overeat. I like to have a little, be satiated and WALK AWAY! And as my brother in-law always says “you can’t out run your mouth”, so be aware of what you are eating! For example if I am going out for dinner I make sure everything I am eating during are healthy choices, veggies, fruits, lean meats and drinking lots of water. That way when I get to dinner that evening I will choose something sensible on the menu and enjoy that and maybe a glass of wine with dinner! Losing weight is not easy and it takes work. But it can be done you just can’t sabotage yourself.
It took a long time to reach your goal. How did you stay motivated for the long term?
Every time I run a mile, or bike up a big hill or complete a race of some kind I think back to where I was. I could not do those things even though I wanted to. My motivation is my health. Each and every day I make the choice to treat my body well. And my body gives me so much. I can help it and keep it moving like a well-oiled machine. I make the choice every day to doing something good for my body. This can be done, no one is perfect and it takes time, patience, and determination.
Visit Randi’s blog to read more about her journey.
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