One day back in the fall, this gal named Charity started filling up my facebook wall with a lot of posts. At first, I thought that was kind of weird as she was the only one doing this, but then was very encouraged by her determination and willingness to “put it out there” often! I found out that she lived locally and after a few months of chatting via email, we finally met–at one of my Pilates classes! I was so happy to be at her very first 5K (picture below) and cheer her on. Her story is awesome and I know you’ll be encouraged!! Meet Charity, today’s Shed & Share Story!
Profession: Stay at Home mom; college student 🙂
How long have you been on this weight loss journey? Since October 2011
Weight Loss/Inches Lost : 48 lbs /From a size 16 to a size 6-8 🙂
What was your “low point”?
My low point was probably a low year. . . or two. Over the past couple years my weight slowly crept up on me. I’d justify it with “just getting older”, or “that’s still not too bad”. I’d buy bigger clothes and they’d look alright, so I’d become complacent again and keep up my poor habits. In 2011, I spent most of the year “trying to want to” lose weight. I’d complain to my doctor that I just couldn’t lose the weight and I insisted that I was, of course, doing everything I could. In reality, I wasn’t doing anything at all.My low point came around our 10th wedding anniversary in October. I still thought I was a solid 12 (thank goodness for stretchy jeans!?) I wanted a nice dress to wear to a nice restaurant with the hubby. I shopped several of my favorite old stores and they had nothing that fit me. The 12s were too tight, even some of the 14s didn’t fit. I ended up buying a nice dress, which is in my before picture, mainly because it was the only dress I could find that fit at the store I had determined to get it from.
The night we got ready for our anniversary date, I spent over an hour and a half fussing, trying to get ready. I had this nice dress, yet, I still felt so ugly. Hubby told me I looked beautiful, as always, and reassured me that he loved me “just the way I was”. Easy for him to say, perhaps, I now weighed more than I did when I was pregnant with either of my boys. I was self-conscious at the restaurant. When a girl complimented me on my dress I was convinced she was being sarcastic. I didn’t enjoy myself that night because I was so wrapped up in my own self-criticism. That was a Monday.So how did I handle it? well; the next day (a Tuesday) I ate a bunch of ice cream, probably made – and ate – a few cupcakes, a bowl of frosting. . . You get the idea. That Wednesday was the turning point for me. Wednesday morning I picked up the photos from the weekend and was sickened by the girl looking back at me in the picture. That was me? It didn’t look like me. It didn’t feel like me. I held our 10 year anniversary photo next to our wedding photo. This looked like 2 different people. But I was at a loss. I didn’t know what to do. So, I did what I always do – I had maple pecan sticky bun waffles for breakfast and a drive through java chip frappuccino and apple fritter from starbucks. Then I came home and dug into who knows what else. But then, I sat down at the computer and got online. Peak313 had posted what she called a new series – a “Shed and Share”. The girl on there, Nikki, I think, had lost 50 pounds. She wasn’t some TV ad, it wasn’t a model, they were real pictures and all-out honest answers. I shook my head. “If SHE can do it, I can do it.”
I ran through my brain what I could do, but whatever it was, I knew I had to start now. If I said “on Monday” well, it would never happen. I decided in that moment that I wanted to be a Shed and Share story too. I wanted to feel good about myself again. For once, I didn’t want to do it for someone else, or to fit into anything specific – I just wanted to be able to see myself and know I was healthy, fit and happy. I loathed the idea of Weight Watcher meetings, but I knew I needed something to keep me on track. As long as I know what to eat and what I can’t eat, I’m good. So at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, I joined Weight Watchers Online.
Charity, before (in her anniversary dress) and after!
How did you get started?
So, sitting there mid-afternoon while the kids were at school, this computer screen told me I would get 29 points a day, plus some extras to use through the week, and more if I earned “activity points”. I plugged in what I had eaten so far that Wednesday and it came to 58 points – and I was only half way through the day! That was the first time I had realized why I had this problem! It had become so normal for me to eat that way! It was also a moment of panic for me – I had no idea how to eat right. I read through everything I could on the site. I read about “0” point vegetables, fruits, “power foods”, whole foods… everything I could about food. And then I went to the store and bought a Lean Cuisine for dinner. I wasn’t waiting for tomorrow to start over. Old me would have figured I had blown that whole day, let’s just finish it off and start new when the sun comes up. No, I already had a new mindset – this was starting now. (I went with a Lean Cuisine, because I still had no idea what or how to eat).
This is the part that took the longest for me – learning HOW to eat. I started out by eating the same meals every day for the first month: Oatmeal with bananas, no sugar, for breakfast. Yogurt, Salad, Fruit and raw veggies for Lunch. Soup or Lean Cuisine for Dinner. It was repetitive, yes. Boring, yes. But it kept me within my points, and without that strict “know what you’re going to eat before you eat it” regime, I didn’t know if I could stick with it. So for the first month, I focused only on cutting back to within my points. I gave up all sugar and dessert cold turkey that day too. Instead of a brownie or cupcake, I’d have a tangerine or some grapes. I didn’t reintroduce sweets into my diet until March 2012, until I knew I could take it slow, with moderation.Eventually, by playing around with the program and figuring out how many points things had, and by planning my meals and portions ahead of time, I was able to start broadening my food choices.
Choices is a key word for me, because I learned that I COULD eat whatever I wanted, but that meant I’d have to sacrifice something else or do some workouts to earn more activity points.
I learned that I NEVER ate vegetables and rarely fruit. I had it in the house to make the kids eat it, and hubby was a big veggy/fruit eater, but I can’t remember before WW when I had eaten a vegetable with a meal and a fruit that wasn’t in a dessert. I started making deals with myself that if I ate all that broccoli, carrots, apples, etc, then I could eat the potatoes. It was hard for me, I think, because I had to completely change every part of my eating process. It’s all completely different now than it was before I started.
What is your workout routine and eating plan?
The first month on WW I didn’t work out at all. I was intently focused on food, on learning how to eat, how much I could have. But starting November, I got a membership at the local Y and started heading there 4 days a week. Two days a week I would do a workout video at home. The weight started to come off, and I was starting to feel good. By spring, I was only going to the Y for two kickboxing classes a week and doing the other 4 days of workouts at home – but I didn’t slack! I knew if I were going to work out at home, that I was my coach – my own personal trainer, and I had to kick my own tooshy! So I worked out, and still do, 6 days a week, and rest on Sunday.
As for eating, by now I probably have the points values memorized for half the foods in the supermarket, and I still track daily. However, my big difference now is that I don’t eat for fun, or eat “to eat”, or eat because I”m sad or I’m happy. My food is my fuel. I let my body dictate my hunger, not my “brain” because my brain isn’t always that reliable. My brain thinks I need another chocolate chip cookie. My brain told my husband just the other day that someone needs to make donut ice cream with chocolate chip cookie dough sprinkles. But my body knows when I’ve eaten poorly, and while that still sounds delicious even here at 8am, I don’t really want it.I used to grab a bag of apples at the supermarket and the rest of my shopping trip went through the aisles. Now, 60% or more of my cart at the store is from the produce section. I eat A LOT of fruits and veggies: raw, in smoothies, steamed, cooked, breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack. And, dont’ feel bad for me, I am LOVING fruits and veggies. ME? Right? Who knew!? I balance it out with lean protein and I still abstain from bread at most meals, and only 3-5 bites of whatever starch we’re having. But, lest you think I don’t eat “good stuff”, last night we had grilled hamburgers, grilled onions, oven fries and I finished it off with a half a Klondike bar! It was a good ol’ picnic meal. The key is, that I don’t eat everyday like this. This was a treat! And a hard – earned one. In WW terms I earned 51 activity points for last week and hadn’t used any of them to splurge, so this was my splurge.
Finally, twelve or so days into April, on a 70 degree day, I figured, hey, I’ll run. I put on my shoes, and I ran just under a mile. That’s all it took. The next day I wanted to go farther. The next day, faster. I started running 3 days a week through April and May, and then on June 2 I ran my first official 5K – I came in at #483, but I finished! ME! I now have 8 races on my schedule through September, including a 5 mile in July and 2 10Ks in September that I’m training for. I am running 4 days a week, still doing my kickboxing, and this ROCKING pilates class (wink*) – and seriously, considering a half marathon in October.
What are your top 3 favorite resources that helped you along the way?
1. Supportive family and friends. One of the first things I did was tell people who could help keep me motivated and accountable. I actually emailed (you) Clare right away and told you I had weight to lose and when I did it I wanted to be one of your Shed and Shares. I told people the progress I was making, whether they wanted to hear it or not! I used facebook to update people on my progress, and the “likes” and comments would keep me going on days when it was just a bit harder than others.
3. CLARE and Peak313! As I said, I emailed Clare right away and told her I was doing this. She kept me accountable, encouraged me, and challenged me (as if her new move Mondays were just for me LOL). She offers sound advice on eating and moving daily on her blog and on facebook. She reminds us of who we are in Christ and why it is so important to care for the bodies we have been given and to rely on Him for strength when our own is running thin! And I found renewed encouragement through each Shed and Share she has posted along the way. As I saw more and more people on the Shed and Shares, more REAL PEOPLE, losing weight and reminding me that If they can I can, it made my motivation soar! I looked forward to each and every one. And now I get to tell you – IF I CAN – YOU CAN! And believe me, I mean it – if I can do this, YOU can do this.
What one piece of advice would you give to someone who is sitting on the sidelines and waiting?
There used to be a Joe’s Crab Shack by us and on the back of the building they had painted “FREE CRAB TOMORROW!” Of course, that’s funny because tomorrow never comes! Tomorrow is tomorrow, is tomorrow, is tomorrow. And it’s the same way with waiting to lose weight. We say Monday. Monday doesn’t get here. We say tomorrow, tomorrow isn’t going to get here! Start now. START NOW! I think that’s what made this different than my other weight loss attempts. I started in the middle of the day, after I had already blown it way out of the ball park. I had screwed up my whole day, my whole week, but at 2 PM on a Wednesday I decided I had had enough. I didn’t wait for tomorrow. I started right then. And when I go back to it, that is one of the things that made the biggest differences in my journey. It all became about the NOW and not the “tomorrows”.
What one piece of advice would you give to someone who is in the process but is feeling discouraged?
I had weeks where I lost nothing. If you’re stuck on the scale or it’s just not going as fast as you like, step back and really evaluate: what is your overall weight loss? How long have you been doing it? Find the average weekly weight loss. You may not have lost much the past few weeks,, but you may find on average, you’re still doing really well! If that doesn’t hold up, are you taking measurements? I didn’t measure, per se, but I gauged my inches by my clothes. If you’re really stuck, change things up a bit in your diet – if you’re eating the same things over and over because they helped you lose weight before, your body just might want something new. Same with the workouts – my key was preventing boredom with my workouts, so I had a plethora of videos, online tips, the YMCA classes, and my running shoes. Try a new workout. But the key is: DON”T STOP! DON”T GIVE UP! Just try something NEW!
And remember, it’s a journey – a lifestyle! Once I had lost about 30 pounds I realized it wasn’t about the weight loss anymore. I knew that I would continue to lose weight just because I wanted to continue living this lifestyle. I stopped focusing as much on scale and I’m just living the new life I’ve been given. It’s not a race, it’s a marathon. (haha, now i”m even using running analogies. oh my, don’t hate me!)
If you are a parent, how have you balanced everything?
Everyone is Busy. You have to MAKE time. But YOU ARE WORTH IT. And your Kids having a healthy Mom is WORTH it. You’re not just becoming healthy for you, you’re instilling values in your children. Make the Time. You are Worth it.That being said, I get up an hour and a half before the kids most days to get in a video or a run if the hubby is home that morning. I go to workout classes that offer childcare. I’ll run at night after the hubby gets home from work… Or if none of those pan out, I’ll take the kids to a local park where there’s a playground in the middle of a walking track, and while they play, I run – and I can keep my eye on them the whole time.
Anything else you would like to share?
This is more than about weight loss. I know it’s a shed and share, but what I’ve learned about myself and my body through this has been just as important as the “shed” part! I’ve learned that I LOVE to be fit. I LOVE to move, to work out. My body LOVES fruits and veggies! (and chocolate!) haha! You can fit anything in anytime, anywhere, as long as you’re okay with looking goofy! (Yep, that was me doing yoga poses in the supermarket line, doing calf raises while pumping gas, and trying out my new pilates moves at the park while the kids play) People think I’m crazy, but that’s one thing that I don’t think has changed much from before!! Don’t get upset if you take a few steps back! I reintroduced sugar/dessert back into my foods back a few months ago; but in April I was starting to struggle with going back to having dessert every day- which is one habit I didn’t want to come back. So I started over again cold turkey with no sugars for a few weeks until I knew I could handle it in moderation again. I can be happy with one bite of chocolate cake now, and not the whole pan.Find suitable substitutions! I love me some starbucks. But I was having white chocolate mochas, java chip frappuccinos – you know, the stuff that has a days worth of calories and fat just for smelling it. But now if I want something, instead of getting a venti java chip for 17 points, or a white chocolate mocha for 14 points, I may order a Coffee Frappuccino Light with Sugar free vanilla, for 3 points, or iced skinny latte for 2 points. So, I still get to enjoy my coffee (I allow it once a week rather than once a day, which saves lots of money too!), and yes, it was an adjustment at first – but now my old drinks are gag-me sweet and I still look forward to my “splurge”!
Tomorrow isn’t an option; if you want this to happen you can start now! And if I CAN DO THIS, YOU can do this, friends, so don’t wait! And Thank you, Clare, for all you do for your readers. You Rock, Ms. Motivator!
Thank YOU, Charity! I am so blessed to know you personally and am so proud to have a place for your to share your story!
If you have a shed story that you would like to share, we want to hear it! Please contact me for more info! firstname.lastname@example.org