Today’s Weight Loss Success Story: Tamara lost 107 pounds. After facing the reality that she hadn’t prioritized her health and was dealing with the consequences, Tamara took steps to change her life and her health. Not only has she reached her goals, but she now works with others as a weight loss and fitness expert. I think you will really get a lot out of what she has shared with us.
What was your motivation? What inspired you?
I wish I could say that I made the decision to become healthy and fit all on my own, but the reality is I needed a little help. My wakeup call came when I went to the doctor in Dec. 2007 for a physical. My blood pressure was up…again. My doctor warned me that deprioritizing my health could have grave consequences. I was 100 pounds overweight, working 50-60 hours a week and had the nerve to be applying for grad school. He made it clear that blood pressure medication or worse was in my future if I didn’t change. It was painful to hear but I knew he was right and in January of 2008 I began my transformation.
How did you change your eating habits? What did you stop or start eating?
I learned about the importance of good nutrition the hard way. I took my doctor’s advice and began exercising. After working out hard for 4 weeks, I stepped on the scale and was horrified to see that I lost zero pounds! The “see I told you this wouldn’t work” voice kicked in and I considered quitting, but then my mind flashed back to that day in the doctor’s office. I had to figure out a way to make this work, my future was at risk. I decided to go back to the drawing board to figure out what that was missing.
I did some research and learned that I didn’t lose any weight because I was still eating poorly. I decided to eat 5 small meals a day, increase my fruit and vegetable intake, and drink 64 oz. of water per day. There was just one problem – I was addicted to sugar! Cookies, cakes, sodas – you name it, I loved it! I decided going cold turkey was too much and allowed myself one 12 oz. soda and one 100-150 calorie treat per day and one “treat day” per week. Eventually my taste buds changed; now soda and sweets are occasional indulgences. I am a witness, you CAN change and you don’t have to give up everything. You just have to know your number – how much you can eat and reach your goal – and stick to it.
What did your workout routines look like?
Initially, I hated exercise and was intimidated by the gym. I decided to start out with a dance based workout that I could do at home – Hip Hops Abs. I worked out 5-6 days a week and my workouts averaged about 30 minutes. I eventually started craving the endorphin rush and began to look forward to my workouts. I incorporated a new workout routine every 60-90 days to keep from getting bored and to continue to raise my level of fitness. Six years later, I have over 25 different at home workout programs in my collection and I rotate them frequently. I also became a certified fitness instructor in 2012 and now create workouts for myself and my clients.
What was your starting weight? What is your current weight?
My highest weight was 265 pounds. Today my weight fluctuates between 155-158 pounds.
What is your height?
How long did your transformation take?
I love it when I am asked this question because it allows me to share a reality of life: You don’t always get it right the first time. I weighed in at 265 pounds in 2006 after trying unsuccessfully to lose weight for 6 years. I lost 40 pounds in 2006 but gained 10 lbs. of it back. I decided that a size 18/20 was the smallest I could ever hope to be until that fateful day in the doctor’s office. After losing nothing in my first month, I lost 70 pounds in 10 months and have kept it off since.
The key for me was getting clear on my why. In the past, my motivation to lose weight was superficial – I wanted to look good for a wedding or fit back into a certain size. This time it was about preserving my quality of life. My mom and her siblings were on blood pressure medication and my grandfather (RIP) had a pacemaker. I didn’t want that to be my story and every time I thought about quitting, that is what snapped me out of it. Now I tell my clients that one of the major keys to success is defining a compelling and emotionally charged why. My mantra: “if it isn’t strong enough to make you cry, you haven’t gone deep enough.”
What advice do you have for others who want to lose weight?
Take it one day at a time. Change takes time. Don’t burn yourself out by demanding too much too soon. Show yourself love and be patient. Realize this journey will have ups and downs. Get back up when you fall. Remember that God is concerned with everything that concerns you. Inviting Him into this journey will make all the difference. Lastly, get the right tools, resources and support. Purchase a heart rate monitor to see how many calories you’re really burning in that work out. Use an app like MyFitnessPal or Lose It! to track your food intake. Find people – in person or online – that share your interest in health & fitness and will be there to support you and hold you accountable. The 4 P’s – Patience, Persistence, People and Prayer – are the keys to success.
If you have trouble staying motivated, follow me on Twitter @FitnessTamara or like ‘Tamara Jackson Fitness Expert’ on Facebook for daily tips and inspiration, then check out my book 265 Point at Amazon.com. I am blessed because others have found healing in my story and learned from my mistakes. If you prefer a personal touch, go to my website at www.265point.com and fill out the ‘Connect with Tamara’ tab to set up your free consultation. You don’t have to take this journey alone. I am here to help.