Update: Shout out to Cynthia! She’s maintained her success and she’s looking fabulous.
Transformation of the Day: Cynthia lost 250 pounds over a two year period. She became very overweight by the end of her college years and tried lots of diet plans over the years. Eventually, health issues, like high blood pressure and the risk of heart failure, led her to change her life. She was able to lose 80 pounds on her own before having weight loss surgery. Check out what she shared with us about her hard work and the actions she took to achieve success.
Hi, my name is Cynthia McDonald. I lost a total of 250 pounds over a two year period. At my heaviest, I weighed 467 pounds (height: 5’10”). I always been big, but I transitioned to morbid obesity before I graduated from college. I tried a lot of different diets over the years, but I would always lose weight and then gain it back, plus more. I then started to develop health issues, like high blood pressure, severe joint pain, sleep apnea and I was a borderline diabetic.
In January 2014, I was admitted to the hospital because I was experiencing chest pains. At first, I thought I was having a heart attack, but the doctors told me it was a side affect of my high blood pressure. They said that I really needed to lose weight because if I didn’t, the symptoms I was experiencing could develop into heart failure. A month later, I started working under the care of a nutritional doctor. Soon after that, I joined the gym at my job and started to exercise. I ended up losing 75 pounds in about in 8 months.
On October 7th of 2014, I had a duodenal switch weight loss surgery that helped me lose more weight. I am now proud to say that I have lost 142 pounds since the surgery and 250 pounds since I started my journey! I exercise regularly now and I signed up to earn a certification to become a Zumba instructor next month! I did document a lot of my progress on Facebook and a lot of people have reached out to me since they saw me losing weight. I tell them always to do their research, because it never hurts to get expert guidance. I also tell them to never, ever GIVE UP!
How did you change your eating habits?
I started changing my eating habits slowly. I would do one thing at a time. In the past when I would diet, I would make drastic changes, like practically starving myself and always end up failing. I did not want to do that again. First thing I did was cut out sugary beverages, like soda, juices, etc. I did this because my doctor told me I was drinking the majority of my calories. I then switched to drinking a lot of water and using sugar substitutes for my tea and coffee. I also started to increase my protein intake and cut down on carbohydrates. I also have a major sweet tooth, so I would use fruit, like grapes, to satisfy my cravings. I ate more fresh fruits and veggies, and began taking vitamins. With cutting certain foods out of my diet, I realized I was cutting a lot of vitamins that my body needs to properly function.
Another thing I do to keep myself from going crazy is I give myself a cheat day. It is like a “Job well done”, pat on the back type thing. That has really helped me stay on course with eating properly and still keeping a balance without completely cutting out foods that I love. I feel that this has been a major factor for me being able to stick to a routine that works very well for me.
What did your workout routines look like?
First of all, I’d like to say that adding exercise was very scary to me, especially since I was not active before I started on my journey. When I started, I did just cardio. I would do the sit down bike for a half hour, 3 times a week. Once I started to lose weight, I started to challenge myself more. I stuck with the bike, but then I started looking up different exercises online to do after my cardio routine, like sit ups, knee pushups, squats, etc. Now, I do a lot of classes at my gym. I do Zumba, Spinning, lots of core work, elliptical machines, stair master and weights. Now, I usually workout 4-5 times a week.