Transformation of the Day: Tara lost 137 pounds. She has been faced with the issues that come with being overweight since middle school. Now she has taken control of her health with exercise, healthy eating habits, facing her food addiction and emotional eating and having the support of co-workers, friends and family. Here is what she shared with us.
My name is Tara O. I am 41 years old and from Edenton, North Carolina. Since I can remember I was the chubby little girl with the cute face who dressed nice for my size. I loved to shop and took pride in how I dressed to camouflage my weight. I weighed 227 pounds in 7th grade. I was wearing a size 18 in 12th grade. By the time, I finished college I was wearing a size 24 and weighed about 300 pounds. I was active and had no real health problems, but knew my weight gain did feel good or look good.
By the time I was 38 years old, I was at my heaviest weight of 347 pounds. In October 2012, I made a decision to take control of my eating habits and knew that the weight would come off. I acknowledged that I was addicted to sweets, salt, and fatty foods. I was also an emotional eater, meaning that I ate the most when extremely happy, sad and stressed. My first goal I set was to be under 300 lbs before my 40th birthday.
I started a weight loss challenge with a group of co-workers and that kept me motivated and accountable. Every month we weighed in, paid a five dollar participation fee, set monthly goals and shared weight loss plans. My monthly goal was to loose 10 lbs by eating healthy, drinking a gallon of water daily, and exercising 30 minutes a day. Whoever was the biggest loser for the month would win the participation funds. Talk about incentive and a reason to lose weight. I felt like I was getting paid to lose weight and motivate others.
By October 2013, I had lost 90 pounds and I weighed 255 pounds. I did this by eating healthier meals 3 times a day and healthy snacks 2 to 3 hours after meals. I did meal replacement shakes, and joined the YMCA where I would walk on the treadmill for an hour or go to Zumba classes daily. I even did bicycle riding and joined bowling league for leisure activity and fun. I have family and friends who motivate me as well.
In April of 2014, I relocated, changed jobs and gained about 60 lbs. With my 40th birthday around the corner, I had to get back on track. In October 2014, I started a new job and I weighed 290 lbs. I ordered detox tea (Iaso) and began to drink the tea after every meal. I was losing weight again because of the detox tea removing excess waste. I was excited because colon cancer runs in my family and had claimed my grandmother’s life in 2004. Because I had never been pregnant or been on medication, I wanted to do my weight loss all natural.
My daily meal plan included a boiled egg and half of a grapefruit or orange for breakfast, with lemon water. I would sometime substitute a bowl of cereal. I would have a apple or banana or yogurt mid morning. By lunchtime I would eat a healthy salad, soup, or sandwich and drink my lemon water. I would pop half a pack of popcorn or eat veggie chips by 4pm for a snack, with my flavored water. My dinner choice was lean meat, like tilipia fish or grilled children or ground turkey, with a serving of fruit and vegetables. DON’T forget that water, making good food choices, and portion control are key.
I also would try to burn 200 to 300 calories a day on the treadmill or by doing other types of physical exercise daily. I developed a healthy lifestyle and finally reached my goal of 100 pounds released in April of 2015. I weighed 247 pounds and wearing a size 20. I had lost 8 dress sizes and was giving away clothes too large for me to celebrate. I still had a goal to continue to eat healthy and I purchased jeans in a size 16 for a new goal.
I now weigh 210 pounds and can wear a size 16 jeans. I am smaller than I was in junior high school and my high school prom dress is too big. I encourage everyone to eat healthy and find an exercise you like to do. The weight will come off, by burning more calories than you eat. Set your goals and make a daily plan to reach that goal and never give up. Buy that outfit the size you want to achieve as a visual reminder that you are going to make it. I am no expert, but I have lost almost 140 lbs on my own. I plan to get below 200 lbs by my 42nd birthday. I love dancing to music and may join a line dancing class. Stay blessed and keep losing the weight.