My Weight Loss Success Story

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Liz and her BoysMy own weight loss success story includes losing 50 lbs in 5 1/2 months and keeping it off since 2001. Oh, that those short 5 1/2 months was all there was to it …

Early Childhood

My tendency to be overweight started back in my early youth – as it does with many of us. My mother left one day and never returned, leaving my father to raise my brother (3 years old) and me (1 year old) alone. Of course, he had a full-time engineering job and another full-time job as father AND mother to two very young children.

My father was not a cook. I can remember before I was old enough to go to school that we ate out almost every night. I only remember eating at 2 different places – Hardee’s and a diner. On the nights we ate at Hardee’s, I ordered the typical fast food – hamburger, fries, and a soft drink. When we ate at the diner, I always had a grilled cheese sandwich, with more french fries and another soft drink. As best I recall, we just switched off between these 2 restaurants every other night.

This continued until my dad married again when I was 10 years old. Our dinner food improved considerably, but the habits were formed and I was hooked. I did not care much for vegetables, I’m not sure I even knew what a garden salad was, and I never chose fruit even though I did like most fruits. Needless to say, I was a VERY picky eater.

In our home, we were also taught the bad habit of having to finish all the food on our plate. We were told repeatedly about the children in Africa that were starving and we should be thankful we had any food at all. I can remember offering, on more than one occasion, to box up the food and send it to them. My sarcastic remarks still get me into trouble and I still have trouble with the idea of throwing food away.

Teenage Years

We had regular dinners, but I always craved french fries and milkshakes, so my friends and I would stop at some fast food place almost every night. I would sneak cookies 3 or 4 at a time, several times a day too.

I was not really overweight through my childhood or early adult years, but the potential to be overweight was obvious. I had a little extra flab in all the right places – belly, hips, butt, thighs.

In high school, I competed at some level in 10 different sports. I believe the only reason I was not an overweight teenager was because I practiced for some sport or another almost ALL the time. I was very active – it was the only thing that kept me sane …

Through my teenage years, my stepmother displayed very odd behavior, toward me in particular. She told me, in no subtle way, that I was overweight. She had 2 daughters and a son who were tall and naturally very lean. She took pleasure in comparing my body, build, weight, and looks with theirs – and I could not compete. I fell for all of it as a vulnerable teenager and my self-esteem was gone.

Young Adult Years

It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized that I have always weighed about 20 pounds more than anyone would guess – thanks to my abnormal amount of muscle and very dense bones. More than one nurse has gotten on the scale after me to test it, because she didn’t believe I weighed that much. I can always get the prize I want at the carnival if I have them guess my weight. I’ve even had them ask me if I had rocks in my pockets.

I carry weight pretty equally over my entire body, with a tendency to carry the most extra around the thighs, followed by the belly. When I gain weight it goes everywhere, so it’s slow to show, allowing me to wait too long before realizing how serious it is. When I lose weight I lose it everywhere, so it’s also slow to show, fooling me into thinking I’m making no progress at all.

My body is very muscular, so even with a lot of fat I am still fairly toned and not subject to much “jiggling”. So I fooled myself for a lot of years because I didn’t shake much and I didn’t look too out of proportion, especially what you see in a bathroom mirror, the upper half.

Years of Struggle

My first 2 pregnancies, I gained less than average weight and was back at my pre-pregnancy weight after just a few days. My stomach was tight and flat again by my 6 week checkup. During my 3rd pregnancy, my weight gain was out of control. I had the false impression that pregnancy was easy for me and I didn’t need to pay attention to what I ate – so I didn’t! I was quite stressed with 2 small sons, both very active, crawling at 4 1/2 months and walking at 9 months and 9 1/2 months. My husband’s job was very demanding as well, so I was home a lot – tired, frustrated, and overwhelmed. I ate sweets because that’s what I craved and no one was really around much to watch me. Sure, I was outgrowing my clothes, but that’s what happens when you’re pregnant. Besides, you can wear large t-shirts and sweats through many added pounds.

My Eureka Moment

I managed to lose a little of that extra weight, but much too slowly and sidelined by 2 more pregnancies. I spent the next 7 years trying to lose the extra weight. I had tried “everything”. I knew what I needed to do, but could not seem to do it day-in and day-out. About a year after my 5th son was born, I finally had that Eureka moment when the switch was flipped and my weight loss success story really began.

There were 2 parts to my Eureka moment really. The first was when I asked my doctor what I needed to do if I REALLY wanted to lose weight once and for all. He told me that it would be hard at my age. Well, that did it! Given my ultra-competitive nature, just tell me I CAN’T do something and you might just witness a miracle.

The second part came very shortly after that doctor visit, when I was still putting the pieces together in my mind. I was scheduled to attend a launch party for a software company that I had written software for. I had not been on a business trip in a long time and had nothing appropriate to wear that would fit anymore. I went to the store to buy a couple of suits and blouses. I tried on the size I had bought the last time I had shopped. They didn’t fit! I had to buy a bigger size. And the extra-large blouse still had the buttons popping. I caught one look at my legs sticking out of that skirt and I didn’t recognize me. At that moment I was done rationalizing. I was finished making excuses. I didn’t care if I wasted my money, I was only wearing that outfit one time!

Strikes

If I was only allowed 3 strikes or you’re out, my weight loss success story should have been over before it began. Statistically speaking, I had so many strikes against me that I was a recipe for disaster.

  1. I have borne 5 children – one was a C-section. (I could count these as 5 strikes, but I’ll let it pass as 1.)
  2. All of those children are boys. Boys eat a lot and often. And they have to have potatoes, rice, or pasta with every meal if you don’t want them hunting again an hour later. They didn’t have a weight problem – I did.
  3. Boys, young and old, just seem to love mac & cheese, corn dogs, hamburgers, pizza, chicken nuggets, fish sticks, and other equally high-calorie, unhealthy main dishes.
  4. We have a busy, on-the-go lifestyle with these 5 sons. This sometimes means “fast food” in order to squeeze dinner in or to get them fed fast enough before they become unbearably grumpy. We used do eat out way too often.
  5. Genetics. I don’t have a very large extended family, but I have uncles and a cousin, in particular, that have had come serious weight issues.
  6. I was 37 years old when my last son was born and I was 39 when I finally found the weight loss success formula.
  7. I have allergies, sometimes serious, almost year round.
  8. Both knees have had ACL surgeries – one was not repaired and was labeled by my physical therapist as “clinically unstable.”
  9. My job as a software developer has me sitting at a desk much of the day.
  10. I am self-employed – raising the stress level through the roof. When you’re working, it’s unreasonable demands and deadlines. (Not to mention, collecting the actual money you’ve billed them.) When you’re not working, it’s financial worries. When you’re on vacation, you don’t get paid AND you worry that all your clients will dump you because they needed something and you couldn’t deliver.
  11.  My office is in my home, so the kitchen is right there all the time – it doesn’t help to leave the small change at home so I can’t use the vending machine. And last, but not least –
  12. I lost weight eating catered food several times a week. The caterers that live behind me had their catering kitchen in their home. They would call us after the workers came back from jobs and offer us leftover food (their leftovers were better than my firsts for sure) – I could not resist. It was free, no cooking, no shopping – does it get any better than that? And it was always more than enough to feed all 7 of us for days at a time. Plus remember, I was taught that it is wasteful to throw food away, so I couldn’t stand the thought of all that wonderful food going in the garbage. Have you seen how caterers make their food so delicious? They’ll use a whole stick of butter in a small pan of corn or beans. They put a LOT of butter AND sour cream in the mashed potatoes. And the desserts are to die for – it’s like eating in a fancy restaurant every night. When they cook, they are definitely not worried about the calories. After all, most people who are eating the catered food are having a special occasion – a work party, wedding, family reunion, or birthday – so they’re just going to enjoy themselves.

I Want to Help You

I know my story is not typical – and neither is yours. Everybody has obstacles, some more, some less, some more serious for sure. I KNOW you can do it, because I have been where you are right now.

Starting that day in the store, I lost 50 pounds in 5 1/2 months. And I’ve always been within 2 or 3 pounds of that weight since Halloween 2001.

On this website I will teach you everything I learned through this journey. It covers the thoughts I had, the things I did, and the changes I went through. I can help you write your own weight loss success story – all you have to do is Ask Liz.

The moral to my story? If I can lose weight, you can too.

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