Happy Friday! I thought today would be the perfect day to post my first reader weight loss success story!
Today’s story is about Kay, a 24 year old who blogs over at Goal of Losing. She survived on frozen meals and fast food growing up, and those habits followed her to adulthood. A recent medical problem was what finally convinced her to make a change, and while she is not yet at her goal weight, she has made some terrific progress! Kay is the sweetest girl and I’m excited for her to share her story with you guys. Be sure to check out her blog and follow along with her progress!
Reader Weight Loss Success Story: Kay
What were your typical eating habits growing up?
Boxed/frozen meals and eating out were how we survived in my childhood. We didn't have a clue about nutrition, and we didn't really care! One dollar for a cheeseburger; we were there! If you fast forward to when I was a young adult, you would see that a lot of those poor eating habits seemed to stick with me. I knew better by that time, but I didn't want to change. I didn't want to change until I realized how much I needed to, for my health and well-being.
What was your “turning point?” In other words, what finally made you decide to lose the weight?
As a young adult, after gaining 30 pounds in 3 months, I decided to be seen by a doctor. Afterall, I wasn't even eating very many dollar burgers anymore! Why was I gaining so much weight? Not soon after I decided to be checked out, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). After my diagnosis, I started to crave a healthy change in my life. My doctor told me that losing weight for a normal person is hard, but for a person with PCOS it is nearly impossible to lose weight. She repeated herself and said that it was NEARLY impossible... not impossible. I still didn't like those odds, so I planned on beating them!
How did you change your lifestyle in order to lose the weight?
I’ve been asked the question, “What exactly are you doing to lose weight?” My quick answer would be that I am living a healthier lifestyle. The specifics on that healthier lifestyle, however, are a little lengthier. I have used certain tools throughout my weight-loss journey which have been instrumental in obtaining my weight-loss goals, thus far.
Tool #1 – Sparkpeople.com
I use Sparkpeople.com to track my food consumption for each day. By initially submitting some key information, such as height, current weight and goal weight, Sparkpeople calculates the amount of calories, fat, carbohydrates and protein you should consume each day in order to lose the weight and obtain your goal. These nutrition ranges are offset by the amount of exercise you plan to do for the week, as well. Here is an example of the formula used by Sparkpeople:
- Weighing in at 240 lbs, with a weight loss goal of 40 pounds in 8 months, and a goal to exercise for 90 minutes each week, while burning 900 calories through exercise in the week, Sparkpeople gave me the nutritional ranges of eating between 1310-1660 calories; 147-270 grams of carbs; 29-65 grams of fat; and, 60-145 grams of protein per day.
By using these nutritional ranges, I am not limited in what foods I may consume. It is more about portion control, which does take self control. This brings me to my next tool in my weight-loss journey.
Tool #2 – Information Gathering
If you are looking to start a weight-loss program, my advice to you is to gain as much information as you can. Information is a powerful thing. Something that I have learned throughout my weight-loss journey is that I am not willing to make any changes to my diet that I am not able to maintain for the remainder of my life. I am not willing to drink two shakes a day or give up carbs. Knowing this has saved me a lot of time and money. How did I come to this very fine and basic conclusion? It was by gaining information from the experiences of others. For example, when Suzy did something drastic to lose weight quickly; she gained the weight back just as fast once she returned to her normal lifestyle. By gathering this information, I learned that I didn’t want to be on a diet for the rest of my life. Rather, I wanted to lose weight by practicing a healthier lifestyle. I learned that you should eat lean protein at breakfast, and I learned what foods were considered lean protein. Through information gathering, I have learned that the amount sleep that you get in a night affects weight-loss; that you really should be drinking at least 64 ounces of water a day; and, that it is possible and could be potentially harmful to drink too much water in a day. I gained as much information as possible to make my daily life and my weight-loss journey as healthy and safe as possible. I even learned about my next tool for weight-loss while gaining information from a healthy living book.
Tool #3 – The Hawthorne Effect
According to Wikipedia, the Hawthorne Effect is a form of reactivity whereby subjects improve or modify an aspect of their behavior while being experimentally measured simply in response to the fact that they know they are being studied, not in response to any particular experimental manipulation.
Basically, if I declare on my blog that I am going to be working out tonight, I am more likely to do it (and do it well) because I know that my readers are aware of my plan to work out and that they may be looking for my follow-up the very next day. It’s much easier to not go to the gym when I am the only one who knew that I was thinking of going. The Hawthorne Effect has been a big influence on me throughout my weight-loss journey.
Tool #4 – Challenges
It’s quite possible that you may lose motivation throughout the course of your weight-loss journey, especially if you are taking the time to lose weight in a healthy and sustainable manner. The way that I have gotten around the occasional motivation loss is through challenges. I love to challenge myself, and by using tool #3 (the Hawthorne Effect) I have been successful in regaining motivation through my personal, yet public, challenges.
How much weight have you lost and how long have you kept it off?
I have lost a total of 30 pounds and have kept it off for over a year.
Any tips for weight loss maintenance?
Although I would have rather lost weight in this past year than maintain, I seem to have some unintended experience in maintaining my weight-loss. It seems to be a lot of give and take. For example, if I give in to a food indulgence, I give more at the gym. You give a little you take a little. Deprivation is not an option! This is your life; live it and live it well!
Any tips, advice, or other information you’d like to share?
Just a couple tips: Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is all about balance. Don't be so hard on yourself; if somebody else had the same fault, would you try to encourage them or bring them down? Treat yourself how you treat others; be your own cheerleader!
Thanks for sharing, Kay, and good luck on your journey!