Success Stories - Denise
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From "big boned" and chubby to sleek and fit, for me, the transition took time and effort. During my high school years, I played on numerous sports teams and weight was never a problem for me. The hectic high school years had me running from practice to my part-time job to school. Food was what kept me going, providing me with energy and nutrients. Unfortunately, once I began college, times began to change. My mother's low fat cooking was hundreds of miles away and daily team practices were over. When I started school, I was surrounded with many new friends, a new environment and plenty of new restaurants. As classes got more difficult and social gathering were more numerous, I found myself continuously eating fast food, candy bars and drinking plenty of soda. I would go to the Campus Recreation Center and exercise at a moderate intensity for about 30 minutes, 5 times a week, however, I would treat myself to a post-workout cookie, chips and possibly a soda. At the end of my freshman year of college, I had gained not only the traditionally dreaded, "Freshman 15," but even more. I stepped on the scale, and found myself weighing more than ever before, 193 pounds and bursting out of a size 14. I was unhappy, depressed, and I realized that it was time to make changes. I was excited to go home for my first summer after college to see all of my high school friends again, but also scared to be seen as heavy as I was. When I left college for the summer to stay with my parents, I became more focused on exercise and healthier eating. I committed myself to the gym at least five days a week for at least 40 minutes. I would exercise using the Stairmaster, a Recumbent Bicycle or the Treadmill. By the end of the summer, I had shed the 20 pounds I gained during my first year of college, and decreased my body fat to 26%. Over the next two years of school, I kept off about 15 of the 20 pounds that I had lost by continuing my exercise routine. Slowly, I realized that my bad choices and habits were creeping back up on me and my weight was slowly rising. I wanted to lose more weight and get in shape for me. I joined Weight Watchers to gain a better understanding of portion control, nutritional balance and a healthier lifestyle. If I lost the weight that I wanted to lose, I wanted to make a lifestyle change that I could maintain, rather than a short-term "diet." I learned to incorporate steamed vegetables and fresh fruit at every meal, along with at least eight glasses of water a day. I was focused on low-fat meals of smaller portions and higher in fiber content. My meals were regular and filling and I felt in control. After four months at Weight Watchers, teamed with increased cardio workouts and strength training, I had lost another 20 pounds. I ultimately reached my goal of 155 pounds, I have maintained it for two years. Even more impressive for me than losing the weight, was gaining strength and knowledge for myself. My original body fat percentage of 24% has now been cut in half to 12%! While I considerable cut my body fat, I did not cut everything out of my diet. I still enjoy moderate portions of frozen yogurt and low fat brownies and cookies. Not only have I educated myself, but I now educate others. I am a leader for Weight Watchers and I support others in their weight loss struggles and successes. I realized that I did not gain my excess weight overnight, nor was I going to lose it overnight. This was a long process and that I was dedicated to achieving and I am committed to maintaining. I lost the weight for me, not for anyone else. I deserved to lose it, and to enjoy it. An added bonus to the fulfillment that this weight loss brings to me, is the joy that it also brings to my family and friends. I am now able to share my size 8 clothes with my fashionable and fit mother, and to go hiking with my athletic father and brother. Instead of me struggling up the mountain, it is them who race to keep up. My friends tell me that I am "new person" who is more fun and energetic. One friend also commented, "How long has this amazing person been hiding in there?" She was hiding for a while, but now she is here, healthier, more fit and here to stay.
My Three Maintenance Tips:
1. Add a variety of low-fat, high fiber foods along with fruits and vegetables to your meals and snacks.
2. Enjoy smaller portions of your favorite foods.
3. Commit yourself to a regular exercise program that you enjoy.
Cardiovascular Workout (Stairmaster, Treadmill, Bicycle, Elliptical Machine): 5-6 times per week/45-60 minutes
Strength Training: 2-3 times per week/40 minutes
Stretching: 3-4 times per week/10 minutes
Before Dress Size: 14 After Dress Size: 8
Before Weight: 193 After Weight: 155 Pounds Lost: 38
Before: Butt 40", Thigh 26", Bust 37", Arm 13", Waist 30", Body Fat 24%
After: Butt 36", Thigh 24", Bust 34", Arm 10", Waist 28", Body Fat 12%
Birth Date: 09/03/1978
(9/3) My story is going to appear in FIT magazine in December and SHAPE in February!!! I have gotten a tremendous response to my story on your site and great feedback on the site itself. Keep up the good work!!! Best Regards, Denise
"Beauty is in your heart. Let it out. Let it beat. Give yourself a treat."