Success Stories - Nanci

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Nanci Ailinger, 30, University Place, WA
Total Inches Lost: 68
Height: 5'5"
Pounds Lost: 98.5

I have been overweight since around 9th grade. As long as I can remember, I have avoided exercise any way I could. I had been thin as a child, and never really thought much about what I ate. Gradually, I began to gain weight. In December of 1995, I got married, and gained a majority of my weight within the first 3 years of our marriage. My portions became larger, as Brian had a healthy appetite, and I had no qualms with keeping up with him. I was not exercising. I became very comfortable with our new lifestyle. By the time I was 28, I had gained over 100 lbs. In the past, whenever I tried to diet, I was never able to lose very much weight before giving up, because I couldn't stand depriving myself the foods I loved.

Years ago, I had joined Weight Watchers for a brief time, only to find the program too restrictive. When I moved to Washington with my husband, Brian, I found out his mom had been doing Weight Watchers' new 123 Success program, and was quite successful in her weight loss efforts. She had reached her goal weight & become a lifetime member. She looked great. I finally joined Weight Watchers in August 1998, when I was at my highest weight yet, 250 lbs. I knew I had to lose at least 100 lbs, to reach a healthy weight.

Before I joined, there were so many daily things I couldn't do. I couldn't bend over to tie my shoes. I snored horribly when I slept, because I couldn't breathe freely. Walking up & down the three flights of stairs to our apartment took my breath away. I winced at the thought of sitting for extended periods of time, because my stomach hurt from the excess fat. I hated the way I looked in pictures. And I hated exercise!

I knew that I would need to learn to at least tolerate exercise if I was going to make it to my goal weight. I started slowly, and I mean slowly! I couldn't make it through 15 minutes of an aerobic tape without gasping for air & wanting to die! But, I kept exercising. I decided I needed a variety of exercise routines to keep me motivated, so besides aerobics, I also started strength training, as well as walking. I began reading more about fitness & nutrition on the internet, magazines, books, anywhere I could find it.

My husband has been my biggest supporter. Friends, family & co-workers have been a wonderful support & encouragement, as well. They have cheered as I shared my weight-loss successes with them. They've all helped me through struggles & challenges. I constantly encourage others in their fitness & weight-loss efforts, challenging them to strive to go further than they thought they could. One of my favorite sayings I have posted at work is "I will not be conquered!" I use this in life daily, whether I'm referring to the copy machine giving me paper jams, or the buffet line at my favorite restaurant. I have the power in me to overcome anything I set my mind to.

Many amazing changes have occurred in my life, in the last year and a half since I began working to improve my quality of life. I have not only experienced physical benefits, but mental, emotional & spiritual ones, as well. I have so much more energy than I've ever had before. I actually look for opportunities to get more exercise. Ok, here's the real shocker. I love exercise! I feel incredible after walking 2 miles, or doing an hour of step aerobics, especially when I didn't think I wanted to.

Brian & I joined the YMCA in February 2000. We started their 12-week program together. We really enjoyed working out together, and it helped us to be able to keep each other motivated & accountable. Besides doing my 12-wk program workouts at least 3x/week, I also continued to do aerobics and strength training at home 4-5x/week. I have now graduated from the 12-week program, and regularly utilize the other exercise equipment the YMCA offers. I especially enjoy their Cardio Room. Brian & I even got certified to climb the rock wall a few months ago! Since joining the YMCA, Brian has lost 24 lbs! I am so proud of him! It is so exciting to see the changes in both of our lives, as a result of our commitment toward health & fitness. So far, I've lost 98-1/2 lbs, and well on my way to a healthy weight.

My outlook on life has changed tremendously. I see so many things in a much more positive light now. I don't put limits on what I can achieve. The possibilities are endless. I am more confident and outgoing. My relationship with God has been enhanced also. I listen to His voice more now, than ever before. I know He's called me to use my talents & love for music, as well as my desire to teach, to serve Him. I volunteered this school year in a tutoring program through my church. I also enjoy directing the adult Chancel choir, and participating in the contemporary choir, One Heart. One Heart leads the music at our contemporary services every Sunday. I love singing into the handheld mike, and dancing to the music as we worship. Who would have thought I would love being up in front of people so much! I am frequently looking for opportunities to help others. I currently teach piano and voice lessons, as well.

If someone were to ask me if I were on a "diet," I would truthfully tell them I'm not. The changes I have made in my life are so much more than just watching what I eat. I am making lifestyle changes. I know that, once I achieve my goal weight, I won't be finished. In order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, I will need to continue to use the tools I've gained this past year & a half. I have the strength inside of me to achieve anything I set my mind to. I am only 12 lbs away from my goal weight. I know I will reach my goal weight. There is no doubt in my mind.  

(3/14) Beginning of December 2000, we started trying to get pregnant.  2 days after Christmas, I found out that we were pregnant! Of course, I have taken a break from Weight Watchers, but plan to return as soon as I am done breast feeding.  I am due September 1, 2001.  (We're hoping for twins.)  I didn't quite make it to my goal weight (I had 10 more lbs to go before I got pregnant), but I know that I will get there.  I will continue to exercise throughout my pregnancy, and I've even seen some
aerobics videos for Mom & Baby, so I'm looking forward to that.  When I think of how much more uncomfortable my pregnancy would have been if I hadn't lost 100 lbs, I am so thankful! I couldn't be happier as I await the arrival of our newest family member (or members).

(4/30/04) I am now the proud mom of a beautiful, almost-three year old son, Evan Bailey (and boy, am I glad I didn't have twins! One is just right!). He loves to exercise with me. During my pregnancy, I gained 85 lbs. Since Evan's birth, I have lost 45 lbs, but still have about 50 to go, to goal weight. My biggest struggle has been making myself a priority, instead of taking care of everyone else's needs first (sound familiar, moms?). I know that I want to be healthy, to watch my son grow up. And I want to instill in him the importance of physical activity & maintaining a healthy weight. I feel like we're off to a good start. He enjoys bouncing on our mini trampoline & loves to dance. Although it is taking a while to get back to my goal weight, I know I WILL get there. If I've lost 100 lbs before, I can certainly lose 50 this time!

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Nanci Ailinger
Tacoma, WA

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