Transformation of the Day: Saundra lost 50+ pounds. She found her motivation after hearing some hurtful words from the man she loved. When her best friend started the Weight Watchers program, she decided to partner with her. Having that support was essential.
What was your motivation? What inspired you when you wanted to give up?
My motivation for losing weight was actually a hurtful comment from someone I loved. I was in a 4+ year relationship with a guy at the start of my weight loss journey. I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. After having numerous conversations about marriage and him not wanting to commit, he confessed that he felt that my weight would grow to be too much. He was worried that he wouldn’t be physically attracted to me anymore. You can imagine how that made me feel. That triggered something in me that kicked off my desire to lose weight.
Today, I’ve kept off 50 pounds for four years, but I like to say I lost 230lbs (50 pounds of me and 180 pounds of man).
How did you change your eating habits?
I stopped eating whatever I wanted to eat! I actually have a background in nutrition. My career is teaching people how to make healthy choices, lose weight healthily, and get moving. I’ve always been into healthy eating and working out, but I ALSO loved eating pretty much what I wanted whenever I wanted it.
My best friend told me that she and some of her coworkers were going to start Weight Watchers at work, so I said I’d join them. It was her joining that program and us being a support system to each other that helped me stick to making healthy choices consistently to lose weight.
I lost my weight by reducing my calories with the help of the food tracking points system used by Weight Watchers. It helped me to kick my sweets habit (which I never thought I’d be able to do) and allowed me to eat the foods I wanted (I love you, Taco Bell!). The program taught me how to make those food fit into a plan that still supported my goals.
I went from eating out whenever I wanted to having a treat day on Saturdays (when I allowed myself an overly indulgent meal or a large dessert). The rest of the week, I would still have foods I liked but in sensible portions and healthier versions that were still delicious.
What did your workout routine look like? How often did you workout?
I’ve always loved working out and have worked out regularly my whole life, so my workout routine stayed pretty much the same. At the time, I lived in a tiny, rural town in Louisiana. There weren’t many options for gyms or fitness centers. However, there is a wonderful park where I would walk/jog a 5k (3.1 miles) 3-4 times a week. I would utilize the benches for step-ups and incline pushups. I would also do squats, lunges, and sometimes brought my jump rope.
I also really enjoyed working out at home. I had an aerobics step platform and would do YouTube step aerobics videos. I did Zumba on my Nintendo Wii, which was fun and a great workout. I love trying all sorts of exercises. For me, variety is key to consistency.
What was your starting weight? What is your current weight?
My starting weight was somewhere in the lower 300’s. When I stepped on the scale for the first time in a while, I’d already made some healthy habit changes, and my clothes were getting loser. At that point, I weighed 295 pounds. Like many people, I avoided the scale because I knew I wouldn’t like what I saw. So I would estimate that I weighed somewhere between 300 and 310 at my highest weight.
What is your height?
I am 5 feet, 8.5 inches tall.
When did you start your journey? How long did your transformation take?
I started my journey in 2016. I reached my lowest weight in 2018. Then, I leveled out and have been at my current weight since 2019. I am still transforming and learning what works for me, so it has been four years total.
I Currently weigh 248 pounds, but I got down to 217lbs in 2018. I gained back 30 lbs in 1 year due to a health crisis my mom was going through, which weighed heavily on me and caused me to do a lot of emotional eating. Luckily all is well now, and I am focused on getting back to where I was.
Is weight loss surgery part of your journey?
I have not had weight loss surgery.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned?
That consistency is the secret to weight loss. There will be weeks where you eat correctly, exercise every day, and feel like you are SURELY going to have a big loss. Then you step in the scale and see that you’ve gained a pound! That is maddening, but that’s how it works!
If you maintain your healthy habits as you know you should, your progress WILL show up on your body and the scale. You MUST stay consistent. It’s also important not to have the scale be your only indicator of success. There will be many times where the scale is barely moving, but your clothes are fitting loser. You notice that your knees and feet aren’t hurting like they used to. You may find that the exercises that used to be hard for you are suddenly easy! Those are non-scale victories, and they REALLY keep you going when the scale is being stubborn.
Lastly, a support system is VERY helpful. I am grateful that I had my best friend doing this with me. We talked to each other every day about our struggles, frustrations, and successes. We talked about how we both dreamed about swimming in buckets of nacho cheese. Who else could I talk about this weird stuff with? It was so helpful to have her there, going through the same thing at the same time.
What advice do you have for others who want to lose weight?
Start small. Don’t feel like you have to overhaul your diet or start working out for hours, because you don’t. You can still eat the foods you love, but maybe not as often as you are used to. You can still eat carbs. I still eat full-fat foods if I want them. You don’t have to bust your butt in the gym, working out until you feel sick.
Find a form of movement you love and do that! If you love it, you will stick to it; if you hate it, you will quit. The point of exercise is to help you burn more calories to help widen your calorie deficit. MOST OF YOUR WEIGHT LOSS WILL COME FROM CHANGING YOUR DIET, NOT EXERCISING.