Welcome to the next installment of Real Life Biggest Losers, a series about people who have lost a lot of weight by changing their lives through healthy behavior. This week I interviewed Kim, a mom of 2 who lost 90 pounds. When I asked her if she could tell her former self anything, knowing what she knows now, what would she say? She said, “Believe you can, and you will.” Amazing what believing can do.
All time high weight: 245 lbs
Current weight and height: 157 lbs 5’3
Total weight loss: 90 (I’m up a few lbs that I blame on a running injury!)
How did you gain the weight? Pregnancy and poor diet plus inactivity.
When did you begin your weight loss journey? 2009
How long have you kept the weight off? 3 years
What motivated you to lose weight? My kids were really young and I didn’t want to be the fat mom. And one of my closest friends signed me up for a 5k, it was really hard to try and run/walk that thing at such a heavy weight.
Did you have an A-HA moment? I’m not sure I really did. I mean I knew I was overweight and out of shape but I don’t recall one time that I just said, “Ya know this is it” I already knew this is it way before I started my journey.
To what extent had your weight affected your physical health? I have not had any health problems, thankfully but being overweight is never healthy even if medically you are in good health. If that even makes sense! Just because I didn’t have high blood pressure or diabetes didn’t mean that I was in good physical shape. I got winded just walking and that’s hard to deal with especially with two small, active children.
How did you lose the weight? I changed my eating habits and joined a gym. We use to make a lot of boxed convenience meals and my snacks were ice cream, chips and any other overly processed junk you can imagine. I tossed all that stuff and made it a point to get my fill of vegetables, fruit, lean proteins and the right kind of carbs. I started the Couch to 5k program and taking various classes at my gym.
I eat 6 small meals a day. I have breakfast within an hour of waking up then eat something light every 2-3 hours. If I want a treat I make that work into my day (calorie/fat/etc allotment). I believe in moderation and not cutting everything out or depriving myself of the things I love. I find a way to make them work for me.
I am currently sidelined from my usual running routine due to an injury I sustained running my first marathon in April. I’m in week 3 of physical therapy so my exercise routine has changed quite a bit. Normally I would run 3-4 days a week with 2-3 days a week of strength training and a day or two of cross training. Basically I make it a point to be active 5-6 days a week. I’ve had to find other ways to be active since I can’t run or take some of my favorite classes at my gym so I’ve started swimming and biking too.
Who was the most influential person/people to you during the process of losing weight? My husband, my family and as selfish as it sounds, myself. There are also bloggers and friends and my running community but at the end of the day this journey is about me and being around for a long happy life with my family.
Have you ever lost weight and then gained it back? If so, how was this time different? Yep. Sure did. I lost 75 lbs after the birth of my daughter but I did that through a “fad diet” and the weight came off so fast. I didn’t really gain any tools from the fad diet that would help me keep the weight off once I started eating regular food. Within a few months of eating food (and trying to get pregnant) I packed on the weight as fast as I took it off.
This time it was different because I learned to do it the right way. Slowly, no fad diet. Just healthy food, lots of exercise and patience. I realized this time that every week there wouldn’t be a 6lb loss and that some weeks I might even be up a pound or two depending on my workout the day before.
It’s easy to let your diet drift or slowly stop exercising. What do you find to be the key to STICKING TO IT? Taking it day by day and realizing that the process isn’t perfect. There will be good days and bad days. Focus on the good and get over the bad real quick, move on. Hard work pays off you just have to really want it. I want to set a good example for my kids and others around me so to me it is important to make sure what I am doing does just that… sets a good example for others.
Just starting off, losing weight is hard. Tell us, did it get easier or harder for you over time? It did get easier. It’s hard to look at the big picture when you have as much weight to lose as I did. For me looking at it a day at a time, a week a time or even a pound at a time made it not seem as hard or intimidating. Pre-planning meals, making shopping lists, having a training plan or a workout routine was a big help to me. Now I don’t really even have to think about what my meals will look like since I’ve done it for so long it’s like with anything once you make it a habit it’s easier to just do it.
What is the hardest part for you now? The hardest part for me right now is that I have those last 10-15 lbs I want to lose. Training for a marathon was tough. I thought it would help me drop the rest of my weight but instead it was difficult to just maintain when I had to increase my calories to make it through training.
Now that I am injured and unable to run I’m not burning as many calories so I’m really having to focus hard on my diet/food and make the absolute best choices.
If you could tell your former self anything, knowing what you know now, what would you say? Believe you can and you will. Look at how far you have come, not how far you have to go.
Do you worry about gaining weight back? How do you prevent yourself from gaining it back? I do. I have had two fears in this journey. One is gaining weight back and the other is a running injury. Well, I’m living the injury now which has caused me to really stress about gaining weight back. I’ve had to adjust my food around a bit and have to work much harder in the gym to get the calorie burn I would have from running.
Can you tell us how your participation in social media, such as Twitter, Facebook, blogs (reading them and writing your own) has impacted your weight loss journey? I have followed a lot of weight loss blogs and read many inspiring stories of others just like me. They keep me motivated and help me realize that I’m not alone. I’ve been able to share my story on FB and through my blog and have inspired others. That keeps me going. Having a public blog is a helpful tool for me because when others say that I motivate them and am an inspiration it makes me want to work harder. I fear letting people down but knowing others look up to me and see me as a success is inspiring!
What is different (if anything) about your life (and/or health) now that you have lost the weight? Gosh, I never sleep in! Before starting this journey I slept in, we went to big Saturday morning breakfasts and then laid around all day. Now the first thing I do on the weekends is go for a long run or hit the gym for a couple of hours before anything else is even considered being done. My whole life is determined by what is on my workout schedule. A weekend away with my husband now usually involves running a race of some sort rather than a weekend full of eating and being lazy. I love to surround myself by active people and am actively involved in our local track/running club. If you had told me a few years ago this would be my life I would never have believed you. Now I can’t imagine this NOT being my life. Sure my couch is comfy but I love my running shoes more! I’d rather shop for running/workout clothes than for anything else. Shopping is fun now that I’m smaller sizes. I don’t have to shop in plus size stores. I’m happier, healthier and loving life more than I did when I was the fat girl.
If we want to follow you, where do we find you?
Blog – http://anotherrunningmom.com
Kim works as an administrative assistant and lives in Tennessee with her husband Justin and two children, Annabelle age 9 and Isaiah age 6.
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