- Can you tell me a little about yourself?
I’m a 5‘1 1/2” tall (that 1/2” counts at my height!) 27 year old mother of two. My daughter Kara is 4 and son Caleb is 20 months old. I’ve been married to a wonderful man and my best friend for almost nine years now.
Growing up I always had a tendency to be on the chubby side and it wasn’t until high school that I started to really focus on being in shape. At that point I tried every crash diet and even some diet pills to drop the weight. I did not diet properly nor exercise regularly which resulted in a lot of yo-yoing. This behavior of yo-yoing continued until I got married in 2002. At this time I started going to a gym regularly with my husband and kept myself in decent shape (there was always those last ten vanity lbs that wouldn’t budge).
In May of 2006 I had Kara. My pregnancy was very hard, full of complications. I was pre-gestational diabetic and pre-preeclampsia and retained between 15-20 lbs of water! On top of that Kara was a large baby, 9lbs 8oz. For my torso size that is just too big! She was very low right from the start and we were in jeopardy of going into preterm labor. I was on restrictions for the last three months. I finally had Kara, via c-section, on May 17th. I started my pregnancy at 120 lbs and ended it at 240 lbs. I was obese for the first time in my life, and had a very hard time getting around and taking care of/ playing with my infant daughter. The weight was a complete personal depressor and confidence killer, I didn’t look or feel good. I didn’t want anyone to see me. I’d have a melt down trying to get ready for any outing. Nothing fit, nothing looked good. All I wanted to do was hide. The hiding and antisocial behavior was a total personality change from my normal charismatic social self. I was determined to lose the weight but had no idea how. I struggled with it for a few months on my own when I decided I need help. I started my research for a weight loss program and Nutrisystem was what I chose. It had the counseling, online community support and it was in our budget. I couldn’t get the food fast enough! After a year and a half I lost all the weight, half my size exactly and returned to 120 lbs.
My husband and I wanted to have one more child and we were going for a three year age gap. We talked about our concerns with having another child to our doctor. And found out that we’d face the same complications as the last pregnancy, and that this baby would probably be even larger. We decided to go ahead with our second, and last, child. I knew that I had Nutrisystem to help me get back in shape after words. This knowledge made the choice so much easier to get pregnant again. My son was born via c-section in March of ’09. He was 10 1/2 lbs, being taken a month early. Had he gone full term he was expected to be over 13lbs! I gained all the weight again, as expected. But this time I knew exactly what to do to lose it, Nutrisystem! I jumped right back on plan and in 10 months I’d lost the weight, all 118 lbs of it- more than half my size lost. 230 lbs. to 112 lbs.
- What was your motivation to lose weight and start Nutrisystem?
My first motivation was that I couldn’t be the mother I wanted and knew I could be at the weight I was. I was desperate to have the energy to keep up with Kara. I would get so exhausted that I’d cut games short and wouldn’t enjoy them as much as I’d like to have because of my lacking stamina and overweighted joints. Another motivation for seeking out a diet program was because I knew I needed a permanent solution. I did not want my daughter to grow up with a mother who had weight issues or was a yo-yo dieter. I want her to be able to model me in all things, health included! My final motivation was for myself. My personality was drastically different and I didn’t like the “new” me on any level.
- With your kids, you must do some outside activities, birthday parties, etc…how do you stay strong with eating?
I always prepare myself for the “struggle” a few days before. I take my weight as a motivation to not eat- “Wow, that number is getting so low. That bite of cake I’ll want isn’t worth screwing that up”. I also write a lot in my weight loss journal. I’ve got a few pages of a motivational letter to myself. It’s all the reasons why I’m doing this and why it’s worth it to keep doing it. I make sure to have my favorite Nutrisystem dessert on hand as my own little snack. (During birthday parties I actually use the pound cake, fat free cool whip and strawberries for my own cake). And lastly I make sure I have LOTS of activities to run. I run the party games or help the kids with things… I just stay so busy that I don’t even think about the snack table.
- Any tips on preparing separate meals for yourself and your family?
I love this question! My husband and I always had a hard time coming up with dinner ideas. Nothing ever sounded good or we’d be sick of normal menu ideas. The great thing about Nutrisystem for us was that it gave me a surplus of dinner ideas for them. I’d look at my dinner items and then find a recipe to make some of it for them. I never felt left out at meal times and my husband really enjoyed having new meals.
- What kept you motivated on those days (or weeks) when your scale wouldn’t budge?
For me I noticed that the scale would drop drastically. Then I’d have a few small drops. Then it would hold steady on the scale number (but my inches would drop). Followed by another drastic scale drop… It would just cycle for me. I never had a hard time keeping on going because I was always feeling better. Everyday I had more energy and as my clothes got looser it would just solidify what I was already feeling- it was working!!
Another way I stayed on the program was that with every little milestone I was missing or having a hard time participating in with the kids I was more determined to get the weight off. I could take as long as I needed for me personally, but with the kids growing and changing so fast it was important to get it done as fast as possible. The only way to do that was to stay on program no matter what.
Finally, all my online community friends! They are the most amazing supports and have become a part of my family.
- Did you do any exercising and what?
Oh yes, lots of exercising. I’d definitely say that jogging was one of my main exercises and really helped to drop the lbs. That said the key to getting the most out of your workout isn’t really pace but heart rate over distance. Meaning, if your stamina only allows you to jog a very short distance but you can fast walk a lot farther you’ll get more benefit from fast walking. The faster you can go but keep the over all distance the more cals you’ll burn. I started out only fast walking, then I added in a few intervals (walk, jog, sprint, walk…) until I could go the distance with the speed. 🙂 I also do walking lunges and squats during my jog (I’ll slow to a fast walk, catch my breath and then crank out 30 lunges. I do that three times.) The other thing I love to use is resistance bands. I take mine with me and after the jog I throw it around a tree or light pull and do my different sets. They really work you and don’t really cost anything. I do get a few funny looks though, lol!
I also tried to make my everyday activities as workout-ish as possible. For instance when I loaded the dishwasher I’d do squats every time I put something in or calf raises as I put them up in the cupboards.
I’m just now really getting into the “real” weights. My first focus needed to be about shedding the body fat, so cardio, cardio, cardio and then light resistance bands/ my own body weight for tone. Depending on how muscular you want to end up you could probably start free weights and what not before I did, I am going for a really lean runners body with major tone. Definitely work on one or the other (dropping lbs or building muscle). To drop lbs you need to restrict your calories and to gain muscle you need to feed them more calories of the right foods. They don’t really workout together…
When my children were small enough to fit in a front pack I had them on me all day practically. I figured that they helped Mama put on this weight and they could help me take it off! Their weight alone helped burn calories while I was doing regular activities (I even would jog and do yard work with them in there).
- What is the most important thing that you took away from the program?
The ability to be an active participant in my life and my families lives. And that I’ll never have to struggle or be a yo-yo dieter ever again.
- Do you have any tips for Newbies starting Nutrisystem?
Follow your plan, it will work. I am not anything super extraordinary; I’m just a normal stay-at-home mom. I didn’t even go to the gym. But I was able to lose the weight. It is possible, I’m proof. If you don’t like a food choice don’t let that stop you, there are plenty of other items to try. Use all the tools that Nutrisystem offers, they are there and they really do help! The online community is just amazing and I feel every one can always use the support of others that are going through or have gone through what you are.