July 15th, 2009
When I first found out Diane had lost 158 pounds and kept it off for 12 years, I was beyond impressed. Then when she told me she had seven kids, I was blown away! She’s kept the weight off after all those pregnancies? Wow – that’s quite an accomplishment! Now, she enjoys helping others lose weight and reach their fitness and health goals at her blog, Fit to the Finish. Stop by and let her inspire and help you. It will be worth your while.
How Diane gained the weight:
In college, I was a little bit active – I would run the track sometimes, I would ride my bike, but once I got married, I just shut down activity-wise. I started working full time and I didn’t really know how to cook, so my husband and I would go out to eat all the time – I’m talking like five nights a week. I think I weighed like 160 when we got married. I weighed 196 when I got pregnant with my first daughter, and then I gained 75 pounds with her and I never went back from there.
I had three children during my obese years and I tried everything to lose weight. I kept losing the same 25 pounds over and over – I’d lose it then I’d gain 30 back, lose it and gain it back again…
I went to my doctor in 1997 and I remember standing on the scale and him telling me, ‘You know, Diane, you really should think about trying to do something about your weight.’ He’d been my doctor for a long time, so he’d seen me at my regular weight then all the way up to morbidly obese. I just went to the parking garage after that appointment and I remember sitting in the car and I just cried, you know, why can’t I do something about this? I really got afraid. Here I was at 300 pounds – what if I hit 350? Then 400 wasn’t far from that. I went home that day and I thought, I’m going to change, and that’s when I started. I just felt like I almost didn’t have a choice. I really got frightened for my health.
Of course, I was also tired of getting stuck in chairs in front of my friends. I got stuck on a ride at Disney World one time. Those kinds of things over the years kind of eat into your self-esteem.
How she shed the pounds:
I was really strict with portions and I watched the fat percentage in food. For the first couple of months, I cut chocolate out of my life because I was really out of control with it. I was kind of a secret chocolate eater – I had a stash in my car and a stash in my nightstand and a stash in the highest shelf of the pantry that nobody knew about. I gave myself a moratorium on chocolate until I felt like I had some control over my choices. Other than that, I really kind of just ate healthy. By this time, I had learned how to cook. We would still go out to eat but I tried to order the salads or the grilled chicken and only ate half of the portion. Then I just modified our recipes – I either cut way back or cut out things like cheese, and if I used the cream of mushroom soup, I switched to the lower calorie version – just all the things that aren’t really that hard to do that make a difference.
I could only walk ten minutes. That’s where I started at that first day. I went 10 minutes away from the house and I came back very slowly 10 minutes and collapsed on the couch because I hadn’t exercised in years. I just convinced myself I was going to walk every day, and I got up early before John had to leave for work because the kids were small. On the days he had to go in earlier than I could walk, I would just take them with me. I just couldn’t let the kids be an excuse not to exercise.
After I got under 200 pounds, I started adding in a little bit of weights a couple of days a week. Once I got a little bit under 200, I tried to jog and did my first 5K. That was a big triumph! All three of my kids and my husband came and stood there. It took me a long time to do it, but I did it. It was a proud day.
How long it took to lose the weight: 14 months
I still kind of do the same thing as I did then only now I do more of a run/walk, but I’m still the speed walker. I exercise six days a week and I do strength training two or three days a week. I usually do upper body one day, lower body the next, and a combination on the third day.
Eat what you love but just a little bit of it. And I think as I’ve gotten older and maintained for longer, it’s become really important to eat clean and really think about what you’re putting in your body – it’s not just the calories, but the content is really important.
I love Oreos so I don’t buy them because it’s just something I can’t have in the house for some reason. If I had them, I’d have one here and one there throughout the day. If I really want Oreo’s I’ll buy the small pack like you put in the kids’ lunch so the portions are already controlled.
Find an exercise that you love or that you can endure and then do it.
Running a 5K was a big thing for me. And being able to walk in a store and buy clothes off the rack, I wanted to jump up and down! I wanted to tell the sales clerk, ‘Look, I can fit into this size! Before, I wouldn’t even be able to come into your store.’ Those two were big things for me.