This is the 8th installment of my Real Life Biggest Loser series and some themes are really emerging. The strategies used by these people who have lost from 50-200 pounds are quite basic: lots of exercise and a healthy diet. Not a fad diet, a healthy diet. Whether the Weight Watcher point system or a mobile phone calorie tracking application, these Biggest Losers use traditional strategies for controlling their intake and constructing a healthy balanced diet. In terms of exercise, most turned to running, likely because it is one of the most efficient ways to burn calories. Colleen is no exception. She converted a 280 pound body into 155 pounds by eating healthy and running her butt off. Was it easy? Nope. As she stated it best, it’s a daily dog fight. But guess who’s winning?
Occupation: Retail Drug Store Manager
All time high weight: 280 pounds
Current weight: 155 pounds
Total weight loss: 120 pounds
Were you overweight from childhood or did you gain weight over time? I was at a healthy weight until I entered high school. Then I began putting on weight gradually every year.
When did you begin your weight loss journey? I began in February of 2010 when I joined Weight Watchers. After I had my daughter in August 2009 I realized that it was time to make some changes. I wanted to get healthy because I realized there was someone who needed me to be around!
How long have you kept it off? I have been maintaining for 5 months.
How did you lose the weight? Tell us about your current diet and exercise regimen. I lost the weight the old fashioned way, cutting down on calories and exercising. I learned a lot about portion control, food value, and how my body works. I also learned that exercise is not something that is a chore, it can be fun and rewarding. I am still following the Weight Watchers plan, the points system to me is the best. I track every single day, I have found writing down what I eat and balancing it just keeps me grounded. I have also found a love for running. Pretty crazy coming from the girl who hated running and in high school would fake being sick on gym class day when we had to do the dreaded 1 mile PT test 😉
How was it that you decided to lose the weight? Was there a defining moment, a turning point, an A-HA moment? When I was filling pill box one day, I realized wow I am 26 years old and taking 7 different medications every single day. I feel miserable inside and out, there has to be another way, a better way to live. What 26 year old takes 7 medications every day? A very unhealthy one!
Who was the most influential person to you during the process of losing weight? The person who affected, motivated, inspired, and supported you the most? So many people have inspired me along my journey. In the beginning there was not one person I was ashamed of my obesity so I did not tell many I was trying to get into shape. It was hard. My daughter was the one person I wanted to live for so I kept thinking about her every time I thought I would give up.
In your past, had you ever lost weight and then gained it back? If so, how was this time different? Yes. I had tried everything in my early 20s to try and lose weight. I would join a gym, go for a few months, lose 20-30 pounds, feel great and then I would get derailed by one thing or another and give up again. I tried Slim Fast, Atkins, you name it, yes I tried it. When you are morbidly obese you have a desperation to just be thin, you do not realize that being thin does not come easy or bring happiness, you must realize that being healthy is the main goal.
It’s easy to let your diet drift or slowly stop exercising. What do you find to be the key to STICKING TO IT? For me it is simple. Sign up for races! When I have an event to train for it keeps me motivated and moving in the right direction. I have to train if I want to perform well. If I want to perform well I need to stay in shape. Races are the best long term maintenance plan for me.
Just starting off, losing weight is hard. Tell us, did it get easier or harder for you over time? Nothing is easy about weight loss. It is a daily dog fight and you have to stay determined. But it does get easier as time progresses. Every time you instill one healthy new habit into your routine its easier and you can move on to the next one. Making small changes over time leads to the big healthy living change and long term success.
What is the hardest part for you now? For me it is getting up early and going out to train early in the morning. It is hard some days I have to force myself to get up. It is hard having a toddler and balancing training, working full time, and taking care of the family.Sometimes it is hard justifying a long run and taking time away from the family but learning to put yourself first sometimes is part of healthy living.
What has been the most effective strategy you’ve used to help you lose weight? Tracking my food and paying attention to my portion control. It is all about moderation when staying on track for me. And exercise. I make sure I exercise 5 to 6 days a week it keeps me happy.
If you could tell your former self anything, knowing what you know now, what would you say? I would have done it years ago. Heck I wish I was active in high school and had joined the track team! I never ever knew I would grow to love running as much as I do now and I wish I had started many years ago.
Do you worry about gaining weight back? How do you prevent yourself from gaining it back? I live in fear of gaining my weight back. In fact that is something I am working on right now, learning that I will never be that girl again and being ok with myself now. I keep training and setting new fitness goals for myself and this keeps me on track to stay healthy and fit.
What is different (if anything) about your life now that you have lost the weight? Everything is different! I feel like I have gotten a second chance and that now I am finally living. Everyday I am happier and healthy it is a new chance. I have changed a lot, now I do not sit on the couch and mope around being depressed. I get up everyday and get outside and get moving. It is wonderful because I make sure my daughter is active with me and this is the best part of the journey for me, setting a healthy positive example for my daughter!
Check out Colleen’s road race schedule on her blog. She has run 10 races so far this year (with impressive times!) and has 3 more to go. She has accomplished a lot at 28 years old, I can’t wait to see what she pulls off by 30…
Who needs NBC for biggest losers? They are everywhere. Check out the other Real Life Biggest Losers in my series at http://www.fudiet.com/real-life-biggest-loser-series/Share on Facebook