May 2011 I moved back to Kansas City after spending the spring interning at the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego, California. I returned a more “well-rounded” individual – what I had gained in great experience, I had matched in pounds. That day I weighed in at 194 lbs, the highest my 5’9″ frame had ever been. That is where my weight loss story begins.
But first, let me give you some background about me. During high school I sat comfortably in the low 150’s. In my teens I always wanted to be skinnier, but didn’t recognize or appreciate how healthy I actually was. Then when I moved to college I went beyond just the Freshman 15, and I gained what my school playfully (albeit quite accurately) dubbs the Mizzou 22. With all-you-can-eat dining halls and ice cream served at every meal, I figured I might as well get my monies worth.
Although my eating habits went downhill with college, I remained fairly active. In high school I was on the swim team and at Mizzou I joined the club crew team and rowed for two years.
Fast forward back to May 16, 2011 – 194 lbs. I had been doing too much home cooking out in California – lasagna, casseroles, cornbread, you name it. I even found myself making our family’s famous Thanksgiving sweet potato recipe quite often. It must be healthy – it has sweet potatoes, right?! And, you know, sticks of butter, brown sugar, and walnuts sprinkled on top! Oh, and I can’t forget to mention the $5 Hot-n-Ready’s from the Little Ceasar’s right across the street.
So on my 2,000+ mile road trip back to the Midwest I had plenty of time to think about the changes I wanted to make. I had seen the enormous success my aunt had with Weight Watchers, along with several other women in my life (which you can read about here). I had also seen the success of another program – Couch-to-5k (C25k) that transforms couch potatoes into runners in just 9 weeks. (You can read about that inspiration here.) I’m a see-it-to-believe-it kind of gal, and since I knew those programs I decided to jump right in.
Being a Type-A individual, I committed myself fully to my weight loss. I absolutely adored the Weight Watchers system. For me, following Points+ was simple and systematic. I used their E-Tools feature and tracked everything online. I looked up nutrition and if I had to eat out I was prepared. What I loved about W.W. is how flexible it was – I literally could eat whatever I wanted, I just needed to plan! That being said, it was also incredibly informative. For the first time in my life I was starting to think about the actual nutrition of what I was eating. I literally had never done that before.
Because fruits and veggies are “free” (zero Points+) I began eating a lot more and realized they tasted pretty good! Because I was still living with my folks, dinner was mainly out of my control, but by practicing portion control and skipping the sour cream on tacos I managed to do OK. Slowly but surely I was changing not just what I was eating, but how much I was eating as well!
Not once did I feel deprived. Every night I had my W.W. fudge bar that was 1 Points+ and that satisfied my aforementioned ice cream cravings.
By the time I headed back to school in August I had reached my goal of losing 30lbs! What I really wanted was to lose the Mizzou 22 x 2, for a total of 44lbs and putting me at 150. Except, I kept losing! All through the fall I saw continued success, especially once I started cooking on my own!
In addition to changing my eating habits I also started changing my lifestyle. Aside from team activities, I had never taken fitness upon myself, and I certainly never ran. While I don’t think I was ever bad enough to utter that obnoxious phrase “I don’t run unless someone is chasing me,” I always claimed running was just something I couldn’t do.
Starting right in May I jumped into the C25k program and stuck to it, adding in walking on my off days. July 9th I ran my first 5k! From there I just kept going, with the Bridge-to-10k program. By then I was back at school and convinced a friend to sign up for my first half marathon – the Chicago Monster Dash on Halloween weekend. You can see where this is going, and I was hooked!
By January 2012 I had officially changed my life around. At this point I had lost 55lbs, reaching my weight loss goal at Weight Watchers. I had run two half marathons and was registered to run my first full marathon in May 2012, a year since my journey began.
So where am I now? Still at it! I’m constantly trying to learn more about nutrition and keep active. I do have some challenges and goals that I’m facing. For the next year I will be living out of a suitcase, touring America with the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. Spending every night in a hotel room, I am committed to keeping that healthy lifestyle! With this challenge also comes an opportunity, which is to work toward my current goal of completing a race in all 50 states by my 25th birthday! Keep reading and I’ll do my best to keep you posted on how those two things are going!