Today’s featured weight loss before and after story: Blogger Ashley lost 40 pounds with MyFitnessPal, clean eating, exercise and the Couch to 5K running program. She says that she decided that if she made healthy choices for her body the weight loss would come naturally. Here are the details of her weight loss journey that she shared with us:
I began my most recent weight loss attempt last September when the scale hit 184.6 pounds, but I have been trying to lose weight since I was little girl. My highest weight ever was 216.4 pounds when I was in middle school. I was obese and miserable. the summer before high school I started going to Weight Watchers and got down to the 160s. My weight started to yo-yo after that. I would let my weight get up into the 180’s then decide I needed to go on a diet again and get back somewhere between 150 and 160. I never managed to make it to my goal weight, but I also never let myself leave Onederland again (the 100s).
Fast forward to my first year of law school. I was stressed out and eating badly but I let myself believe I hadn’t gained that much weight. I kept telling myself that fiction right up until I was too big for all my favorite dresses and I had to buy size 18 jeans because none of my old ones fit anymore. In late August I decided to find out how much damage I had done during my first year of law school so I ordered a bathroom scale for my apartment. When I stepped on it for the first time I was horrified. I was dangerously close to 190 pounds. I decided it was time to get to work and reach a healthy weight once and for all.
What was your motivation?
The first time I lost a large amount of weight, I did it because I wanted to be thin like the other girls in my school. This time when I decided to lose the weight, I did it for myself. I decided that I wanted to be healthy and fit. I wanted to live a better life than I had been living. I wanted to be happy.
How did you change your eating habits?
I started by counting calories and tracking what I ate in MyFitnessPal. At first I ate a lot of Lean Cuisine and other diet foods, but as I started doing more research about weight loss and eating healthy. I realized that eating primarily frozen and processed meals wasn’t a healthy way to lose weight even if I was staying within my calorie budget. I slowly started to ease into clean eating. First, I gave up soda and learned to like water. I started trying new fruits and vegetables. I started cooking more. Eventually, I found clean replacements for the processed foods I loved. I started eating Peanut Butter Cookie Larabars instead of the peanut butter cookies I used to get at Subway as a treat. I started making my own pizzas with healthy ingredients instead of buying Lean Cuisine ones. I started doing most of my grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s where I could find healthier, less processed foods than I could get at a regular store. As I made these changes, I started to feel better. I started focusing more on getting healthy than losing weight. Somewhere along the way I decided that if I made healthy choices for my body the weight loss would come naturally. So far, that approach has worked fairly well.
What did your workout routines look like?
When I started losing weight, I was really out of shape. My first forays into the gym involved setting the treadmill at an incline and walking for an hour at a time five or six times per week. I would see the other gym-goers running on the treadmills next to me and wish I could be like them, but at that point I didn’t think I would ever be able to run. Sometime in October, I came across the Couch to 5k program online. It was supposed to help you ease into running with interval training where you run for a minute or so then recover by walking for a couple of minutes. Eventually the running intervals get longer and the walking intervals get shorter until you are either running thirty minutes at a time or 5k (3.1 miles). I didn’t follow the program exactly, but I was able to run for twenty to thirty minutes at a time by the end of December and was running 3 miles several times a week by the end of January. The more active I became, the more active I wanted to be. I started venturing to local parks and greenways and found that I love hiking.
What is your current weight? How long did your transformation take?
At my last weigh-in my weight was 145.4, but I’m not done losing weight. My current goal is to weigh between 130 and 135, but I mainly want to get toned up. My transformation up to this point has taken 10 months. I am still a work in progress, so you will have to read the rest of my journey on my blog: downsizingashley.blogspot.com/.