Transformation of the Day: Michelle lost 83 pounds, going from a size 18 to a size 8. At 46 years old, she decided that she didn’t want to walk into her later years tired, sluggish or facing sickness. Now, at 51 years young, she has maintained her success for more than 3 years and she feels better than ever. Lots of exercise and lots of healthy, whole food made the difference. Check out her story.
On September 1st, 2014, at 46 years old, I began my weight loss journey. At the time, I carried 263 pounds on my 5’9″ frame. I was definitely obese. I wore a size 18 (sometimes a size 20) and MOST of my clothes contained spandex or lycra. My hips measured 53 inches around, my waist was 40 inches and my bust was 44 inches. I didn’t have a set goal weight at the time, but I knew I wanted to get out of the 200s for sure.
I had no chronic health issues, such as hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, but I did have a chronic back pain issue that I suffered with for many years. The pain was sporadic, but there were days when I could barely make it from the bedroom to the bathroom without excruciating pain. It was an old injury, but it was greatly exaggerated by the excess weight. However, it was not constant so I can’t even use my back issue as the main motivational factor for my weight loss. In truth, my greatest motivation to lose the weight (and today it remains a constant motivator to maintain my goal) was my desire to get back to me. My motivation was an incredible desire to improve myself and not enter my later years tired, sluggish or worse… sick!
I was not overweight as a child or teen. I always maintained a steady and normal weight right up to my late 20s. From the time I was 32 to about age 46, I estimate that I gained a total of 60 pounds… about 5 pounds every year for 14 years. It was because I led a sedentary life and didn’t pay attention to how I ate. I was also very addicted to sugar-filled foods.
When January 2014 rolled around, I told my myself, “This is the year for you to get it together.” But more months would pass before I made the hard decision to change. At the end of August, I made a firm pact with myself to RID MY BODY of the weight that was hurting me and keeping me hostage!
I jumpstarted my weight loss by using the Green Smoothie Cleanse. It was very simple: a green smoothie for breakfast and lunch, then a healthy dinner. My dinner was a choice of lean meat, like chicken breast, lean turkey, or fish, with a salad and a vegetable. While I might have chosen the green smoothie cleanse to jump start my weight loss, please understand that the science behind weight loss is the same no matter which plan you decide to use. Eat less, eat nutritious foods (particularly greens, vegetables, fruits, nuts and legumes) and move your body. Yes, exercise and the body will shed excess weight.
I began with very moderate exercise: 4 days of walking for 2 miles. 3 mornings per week, I did 20 minutes of aerobics in my TV room with Jillian Michael workout videos I found on YouTube. I purchased 5lb hand weights and began doing 10 to 15 minutes of basic arm exercises 4 evenings per week, right before I went for my evening walk. Next, I began doing several strength training circuit/resistance workouts using free weights after my evening walk for 10 to 15 minutes. Lunges, squats, push ups, sit ups, donkey kicks, bench dips, and wall push backs are part of my circuit routine.
After 20 days of following the green smoothie plan, I did my final weight-in and the results were staggering. I lost 19.6 pounds in 20 days! I was beyond elated. This initial weight loss completely cemented my commitment. This is why I always recommend finding a plan that will jump start you into your journey. It works!!
I had already fallen in love with the raw, green taste of the green smoothies, so I made a decision to implement a “clean and whole” way of eating and see if the results stayed consistent. To be clear, I made a conscious decision to not use a “diet plan”, or diet pills/aids. Instead, I actually changed my way of eating, changed the types of food I was eating, and changed the way I was cooking.
I eliminated all fast food, sugary drinks and sodas. I also stopped eating any processed foods and ate healthy fats, like avocados and assorted nuts. I prepared all my meals at home, concentrating on fresh greens, fruits and lean protein (such as fish and chicken).
By mid-October, I had lost another 10 pounds, but I was began to feel bored with my walking. So, I began running. I will never forget how I felt after I completed a whole mile without stopping ONCE! The running changed my body. The running changed my life.
I also drank water. Lots and lots of water. I drank at least one gallon every day without fail. The only beverages I drank other than water were green tea, black coffee, unsweetened almond milk, unsweetened cashew milk and fresh coconut water. That’s IT. No sodas. No juices. No diet sodas. No beers. No wine. No Gatorade. No alcoholic beverages at all. I would make gallons of green tea (the ones flavoured with fruit, like pomegranate and citrus, are really tasty). If I wanted a bit of sweet, I would add a packet of Stevia to my glass.
I made a very conscious effort to weight myself at the end of every week and to stay on top of my progress. I set a goal of 170 pounds, which at my height was a very healthy weight. I reached my goal of 170lbs in late May 2015. My measurements had decreased so dramatically that I had to buy a completely new wardrobe. My bust was now 33 inches, my waist was 29 inches and my hips measured 42 inches. I was wearing a size 8.
I began training to run my first half-marathon in October and completed it in 3 hours – not the greatest of time, but I completed it! It was and will always be one of the happiest days of my life.
It has been almost 4 years since I started my fitness journey. My current weight is 180 pounds. To date, I have maintained my weight loss by continuing to eat a clean and whole food diet, and by implementing a very structured strength training regimen (along with regular running and walking). It hasn’t been easy maintaining my weight. Staying committed to this lifestyle takes great discipline and the continuation of good habits.
I turned the BIG 50 last October and though I have struggled with knee injuries, combined with a somewhat difficult menopause, I am proud as could be of my committment to a healthier me! Now, at 51 years old, I feel amazing and completely rejuvenated.