Hello, fellow readers of Erica's blog! I'm Coco, a 40-something empty-nester (my kids are in college), attorney, runner, and fitness fanatic. Erica asked me if i would share a bit about my weight loss journey, so here goes.
I feel like I was overweight all of my life, but my weight probably didn't get out of hand until I was in elementary school. I have painful memories of being teased at summer camp, and I distinctly recall sneaking food and bingeing on Oreos even at that young age.
I was pretty much a size 12 throughout high school and college, even when I was playing varsity soccer in high school. I got married right after I graduated from college and had my daughter about 2 years later, and then my son about three years after that. I gained healthy amounts of weight during my pregnancies, and went to step aerobics classes and drank SlimFast shakes to lose the baby weight, but I never really lost any more weight than that.
My weight issues got worse when I was in law school. I started going to law school at night when my son was about 2, and by the time I graduated four years later I weighed as much as I ever did when I was pregnant. When my doctor threatened to put me on medicine for my high blood pressure, I knew it was serious.
I think I can tell the rest of my "story" by answering Erica's questions.
What inspired you to start losing weight?
I took the threat of life-long prescription medicine to heart, and decided to take immediate steps to get my weight and blood pressure down before my next check-up.
What type of dieting and/or exercise did you do to lose the weight?
This question makes me cringe, because I wouldn't recommend this diet to anyone now that I know more about nutrition, but I followed the Atkins Diet for several months. The pounds fell off and I lost more weight than I ever dreamed of, dropping from a size 12 to a size 6. After that, I switched to a more balanced, food exchange type diet from Woman's World magazine, and got down to a size 2.
I lost all of my weight without exercising regularly, which means that I lost a significant amount of muscle. I started exercising to help maintain my weight loss, and believe that my regular exercise routine helped me transition from weight loss into maintenance, even as I continued to struggle with emotional eating.
What advice would you give to those people hoping to lose weight?
I will limit myself to my top five tips for people trying to lose weight:
Be patient--healthy, sustainable weight loss is a slow process.
Find a meal plan that works for you--there are so many diets, but not every one is right for everyone
Find an activity that you enjoy doing so that you will look forward to your exercise time--anything that gets your heart rate up and has you working your muscles "counts"--except housework because that's no fun. ;-)
Focus on making permanent lifestyle changes that will help you sustain your weight loss--discover healthy foods that you look forward to eating, learn appropriate portion sizes, become <em>that</em> person who parks far away from the entrance and takes the stairs.
Don't sweat the small stuff. My weight loss chart was not a straight line down, but more like a roller coaster in so many ways. You will over-indulge. You will not always make the best choices. Accepting that these slips are part of the process will help you keep them in perspective and get back on track to reach your goal.
What is your biggest challenge to staying fit?
I think my job as an attorney is my biggest challenge to staying fit. My job is stressful, sedentary, and will suck up as many hours as I will give it. My office is a minefield of meeting food, from pastries in the morning to pasta at lunch to cookies and ice cream in the afternoon. I thought I was doing well to counteract all my desk-sitting by exercising every morning, but recent studies show that sitting for hours at a time is unhealthy no matter what, so I am trying to be more active throughout the day.
What keeps you motivated to workout and eat healthy?
I truly feel so much better when I am taking care of myself. I have more energy, I have a better attitude, I can handle stress better, I have more self-confidence, and I have more fun!
My blog reflects this motivation. The name of my blog is Running with Perseverance, and the theme is Balancing Life with Fitness and Faith. I write about running and other fitness adventures (like learning to use clip-in shoes on my bike), review new fitness, health and food products, and share easy family-approved recipes, and whatever else is on my mind. I'd love to have you check it out and follow me on Twitter and Instagram.
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Thanks again to Erica for this opportunity! If you have any other questions, I'd love to hear from you in the comments!