When I was 11, my mom and step-dad got divorced, and I turned to food for comfort.
Suddenly, I was eating anything I could get my hands on-and it wasn't even junk food most of the time. My mom actually kept lots of healthy foods in the house, but I would often eat an entire bag of whole-grain bagels for breakfast instead of just one.
I lost a bit of the weight I gained when I hit high school-I tried to develop better eating habits, and I was also a student athlete playing three sports. But I quickly fell back into my old ways and ended up graduating from high school 80 pounds heavier than when I started. I kept overeating (healthy and not-so healthy stuff) until 2014-at my heaviest, I weighed 378 pounds.
I knew I had to make a change when I couldnt do a single pushup.
I'll never forget my turning point: It happened on a Thursday; I signed up for a bootcamp class to do while my son was at football practice. Since I had been active in high school, I thought the workout wouldn't be a big deal, but I soon realized I had signed up for the biggest shock of my life.
During the class, I couldn't run one lap around the track. I couldn't even do a jumping jack-I literally could not jump up. I quit the class after just 30 minutes, but from that moment on, I knew I couldn't continue living life as unhealthy as I had been.
After saying "I'll start getting healthy on Monday" for longer than I can remember, I chose to start that Thursday. I picked up my son, and when we went out to eat, I ordered a salad. That marked the beginning of the changes I was finally ready to make.
I started by just eating more healthy foods-but that change wasnt big enough.
At first, I focused on getting in as many whole grains, fruits, and veggies into my diet as I could-but because I wasn't necessarily setting a ton of guidelines for my diet, I constantly fell back into the trap of overeating.
Around that time, I also vowed to continue the bootcamp class that showed me just how unhealthy I had become. I went three days a week, and I even joined a local gym where I could take weight-lifting classes and train with advice from trainers or fitness accounts on Instagram. I'm still doing this routine today-though I've added exercises and weight as I've gotten stronger.
I lost about 90 pounds that year-but I ended up gaining 20 pounds back. I thought since I was active, I could ease up on my self-imposed healthy diet-but in reality, this mindset just led me back to overeating.
In 2015, I switched to a low-carb eating plan-and two years later, I went all-in with the keto diet.
I did the keto diet for about a year, but ultimately decided that a low-carb, no-sugar diet works best for me. I also make sure to watch my portion sizes and follow the recommended servings on most foods. Here's what I eat in a typical day:
- Breakfast: eggs and vegetables with coffee and stevia.
- Snack: celery and cream cheese with everything bagel seasoning.
- Lunch: Grilled chicken with a green vegetable and riced cauliflower, or mashed cauliflower so I can feel like I’m eating the carbs I used to love.
- Dinner: I usually try to keep it small and have some sort of protein with salad
In addition to eating low-carb and watching my portion sizes, I've also learned to keep myself from overeating by planning my meals in advance-as much as two days ahead of time. It gives structure to my diet and prevents me from thinking about what my next meal will be.
But, despite my progress, my weight-loss journey has been a pretty lonely one-my husband and son don’t maintain as healthy a lifestyle as I do, so I have to resist temptations a lot (like looking the other way when they have ice cream for dessert).
So yeah, its been a long and bumpy road-but I still ended up losing nearly 200 pounds.
Now, I'm at my goal weight of 183 pounds. Until I made the decision to turn my life around, I’d convinced myself I was okay being the “fat mom” at my son’s football games, but I wasn’t. And now, I can think about next steps like skin-removal surgery and maintaining my health.
Overall, I want people to know that they don't have to take fancy classes or buy expensive foods in order to lose weight. (I get my vegetables from the 99-cent store, for example.) Yes, losing weight is a lot of hard work, and there will be times when you want to give up, but don't wait until Monday to do something you can start right now.