Percentage of body weight lost?
What Inspired you to lose weight?
I always had a lot of excuses for why I was slowly gaining weight over the years, including the fact that I had quit smoking several times and gained weight every time. I figured that my body was just changing as I got older and that I couldn't ever be in the same shape I was when I was younger.
Out of curiosity, I used a BMI calculator and realized that I was in the "overweight" category. I know that BMI is not a perfect measure of health, but I didn't like thinking that I was not within a healthy weight. When I read about the fact that many risk factors are reduced or eliminated just by losing ten pounds, I started thinking about what I could do to get there. I had already started losing when I saw the MI Healthier Tomorrow page and decided to take the pledge to lose 10%.
A lot of things inspired me, including when my brother worked hard to lose more than 100 pounds. Plus, I joined My Fitness Pal and drew inspiration from the stories people would post about how they got stronger and increased their endurance and energy through exercise.
What actions have you taken to lose weight?
I always eat breakfast. I plan out my meals for work so that I know I have healthy food available and won't cave and eat junk food because that's the only thing available. I bike to work when it's not snowing, and I do a lot of little errands either walking or biking.
Other than that, I keep my water bottle handy, eat lots of fresh vegetables and lean protein, and I get a good night's sleep. I try to work exercise into my daily routine, keep healthy foods around my house, and invite my friends out to do active things with me. I run a lot now, but I used to be a couch potato!
A couple years ago I started with a program called Couch to 5k that gives you a plan for increasing a little at a time until you can run 3 miles. It was tough, but it was rewarding to hit milestones, like the first time I ran a mile. Now I love running. I ran my first marathon this fall at Sleeping Bear Dunes and it was the most incredible feat I've ever accomplished!
What physical and/or mental changes have you noticed since you've lost weight?
The most obvious change is just that my clothes fit better. My face looks healthier, and with my improved diet (a lot less junk food and more colorful vegetables), I've noticed my hair, skin, and nails all look better. Mentally I just feel unstoppable. Regular exercise has done a lot for me to keep stress levels down and to be confident that I can accomplish anything.
"Since losing weight, my husband and I have decided to start a family. I'm due this December, and I look forward to a great pregnancy with balanced eating, pregnancy-friendly exercise, and tons of benefits like a lower-risk of complications and hopefully an easier labor!"
How did you hear about MI Healthier Tomorrow?
One of my friends shared it on Facebook, so I checked out the Facebook page and loved it.
How has MI Healthier Tomorrow contributed to your weight loss goal?
I put the MI Healthier Tomorrow information on my refrigerator, and used it as a way to start conversations with people about having a healthy weight. Plus, I've looked over the page a few times and commented with other people who are all really supportive and positive. I love the email updates with fun and simple ideas for having a healthier tomorrow.
What advice would you give your fellow Michiganders who want to lose 10% of their weight?
Get outside! I know that we can become stuck indoors, especially in winter weather, but there are still fun things to do that will get you moving. We have sledding, skiing, ice skating—even shoveling the driveway is a heck of a workout. When there's no snow, we have so many activities available! Other than water sports, hiking, and other recreation, you can go for walks with your family, join a team sport or become a member of an active group.
I joined a group called Moms RUN This Town as a way to run and walk with a fun group who motivates me to get outside. I also signed up for races like the Gazelle Girl events that promote healthy living and a supportive fitness event for women and families. Having active friends and fitness goals are a great way to stay on track and stay motivated for weight loss or maintaining a healthy weight.
As far as how to eat better, you can find ways to work vegetables into your diet and start crowding out some of the bad food. Small changes like switching to lowfat dairy, cutting out sugary drinks, and making your own meals instead of eating out can be a good start. You don't have to start with drastic changes or deprive yourself, but do little things you can stick to. Change one meal a week to be something lighter than what you'd normally make. Look up a yummy recipe for lean ground turkey instead of red meat, or try "meatless Monday" as a reason to try new vegetable dishes. Moving more, eating better, and eating less junk food are the best tips!
The only other thing I can add is don't give up. Diets fail and make people want to give up, but if you look at the goal as a life-long commitment to health and wellness, then there's no reason to ever give up. Everyone gets off track a little, but you can always jump right back on the horse and restart your healthy routine. It's never too late and it's always worth it!