Mary is someone I have yet to meet but hope one day to. She has been a faithful follower of the Fit Moms For Life workouts and eating plans for a couple years and the results are very dramatic. I really like the part about her story where she shares about being overweight her entire life. Many people believe that when you are overweight at a young age, you are doomed to a life of obesity, it just doesn’t have to be that way! Enjoy her story, and write any comments or questions below.
Here is Mary’s story…
“I have been overweight for the entirety of my life. I have no memories of ever having a flat stomach, not even as a child. My childhood friends commented often on how my body looked different; one little friend in particular loved to make it a point that I understood that she was so much smaller than I was.
Along with being overweight as a child, I have no memories of a time when I was not following some diet. My parents would encourage me to exercise and eat healthy. I read magazines full of fad quick fix diets and I would make real effortful attempts to follow the various diets that I read about. But despite those efforts and my parent’s encouragement to eat healthy, the kitchen always had Twinkies, ice cream, potato chips, crackers, and sodas on hand… you name it the kitchen had it. As a kid, and even as an adult, it’s hard to not eat foods that you crave and love if they are so easy to get to. So despite whichever diet I tried to follow, I was not successful at keeping away from the junk food drawer…yes, my parents had a designated junk food drawer.
I was pretty active as a kid. I rode my bike a lot, got into inline skating, and walked with my mom. Billy Blanks came out with Tae Bo when I was in middle school, but despite the exercise that I did, I was still always pretty chubby.
When I was in High School, my parents took me to a weight loss specialist. I followed the plan that the doctor had put me on religiously. I was only allowed to eat 900 calories a day, I was taking oral medications that sped up my metabolism and suppressed my appetite, and was even given weekly injections that would boost my energy levels. While in this program, I lost about 45 pounds and I lost it very quickly. When I went off to college I was thinner than I had ever been, and I was very happy about it. However, leaving the doctor’s program with no more appetite suppressors, no more medications that would speed up my metabolism, and no longer eating only 900 calories a day, I quickly gained back the 45 pounds that I had lost, and… by the time I graduated from college I had gained another 40 pounds on top of that. And, I gained that weight back plus some even while exercising. I was walking and running consistently through my college years.
I am not a tall girl, I’m somewhere between 5’2”-5’3”, and by the age of 23, I weighed in at 215 pounds. And I was so ashamed of myself. I was disappointed that I was unsuccessful at keeping the weight off that I had lost, and was so sad that I was still the fat girl. For a couple of years I kind of just gave up and resolved that I was just the fat girl and always would be. But again, I was so ashamed of what I looked like. I did everything I could to hide myself and disappear. I wore a sweatshirt and jeans everyday, even in the summer! I never did anything with my hair, I actually wore baseball caps most of the time. I NEVER wore makeup.
I spent the next 2 years living very isolated. Eventually I got to the end myself in this area; and when you get to the end of yourself, you either choose to fight, or you give up all hope. I knew that I couldn’t live life the way that I had been living it, and I wanted to live my life as fully as I possibly could. So when I turned 25, I became flat out DETERMINED that I was going to take some of my excess weight off. I decided that enough was enough, and I was done living in such unhealth. I wanted to be able to ride a bike, to be able to hike in the mountains without stopping every 50ft to rest. I wanted to be able to play and run and have fun. I wanted to be able to live a physically active and physically playful life. I decided that I was done isolating, done moping and hiding and wishing that things were different. I decided in a moment that I was going to combat my unhealthy lifestyle and beat it no matter what it took (never underestimate the power of a choice).
I joined a gym, an all women’s gym because I did not want men to see me. My parents very generously paid for my membership and also bought me an elliptical machine so that I would be able to exercise on the days that I couldn’t make it to the gym. I went, yet again, on another diet where I ate things that were low-fat, sugar-free, frozen Smart Ones and Healthy Choice meals, diet sodas, etc… the whole works (right?). I ate this way, and exercised consistently at the gym and on my elliptical for 6 MONTHS… and I didn’t lose a single pound.
One afternoon, I had just pulled into my driveway after returning from the gym, and I melted down crying in my car. I was DESPERATE for some breakthrough, for some results for all of the time and effort that I was putting into this. I believe in God, I love Jesus (I met Jesus when I was 23 years old and got to give my heart to Him), and I was begging Him to help me, to give me something anything that would help me to lose some of the excess weight and get my body physically healthy. After I was able to get myself out of my car and into my house, I went to my computer and decided to log on to Facebook (which I RARELY do, I have yet to get on board with this whole social media revolution. I can barely use my cell phone and it’s just a basic flip phone dumb phone device). But on Facebook, an old friend of mine had tagged me in a notice (or whatever you call it) about Dustin Maher’s fitness program. What she wrote about Dustin’s program captivated me, so I went to the website.
I couldn’t believe what I found there. As I navigated my way through the website, I read about how doing cardio for exercise was ineffective for weight loss. I absolutely believed that because it had proved to be so true in my life! He explained how strength training and building muscle was effective for weight loss, because the more muscle you have on your body the more fat you burn. Everything I read seemed to be true, so I started to get a little excited, I got my hopes up, and checked out what DVDs he had to offer. Dustin was running a deal on one of his DVD series called Fit Moms for Life, where if I paid for shipping, I would receive the first DVD free. Now, I am not a mom, but I figured if busy moms could do this, than absolutely I could do this. So, of course I ordered it. When it arrived, I saw that I needed a set of dumbbell weights and a yoga ball, so I went to the Wal-Mart and purchased 5lb, 8lb, and 15lb weights to start. And after the first month, I had actually experienced some weight loss! I was dying for the 2nd DVD, I couldn’t afford to buy them, but my parents really do love me and support me however they possibly can, so they paid for all 12 of my DVDs.
Each DVD also contains a nutrition lesson. These nutrition lessons are solid gold to me! I discovered that I knew nothing about nutrition! After watching a few of them, I realized that the low-fat, sugar-free, Healthy Choice frozen dinner eating plan was ALL WRONG. Nothing that I knew about food was true. So, over the past 2 ½ years, I have been on a journey where I’ve had to unlearn everything thing that I’d ever learned about food, and relearn it all from scratch. I needed to change the ways that I thought about food, so I did just that. I took Dustin’s nutrition guidance very seriously and did some research of my own. With Dustin’s help I taught myself nutrition, stopped eating frozen meals, and taught myself to cook. I experienced many MANY kitchen fails, but today I can say that I’m a pretty decent cook.
I paid attention to myself and learned what my food traps were. For example, from September-May, the Reese’s Company infiltrates the grocery stores. In September out come the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup pumpkins. And the day after Halloween, the pumpkins go on sale, and the Reese’s Christmas trees come out. Then, the day after Christmas, out come the Valentines hearts, followed by the Easter eggs… and the grocery store sells them individually right by the checkout line so that you can grab one (or 5) to have to eat on the drive home. I know ahead of time, before I even go into the store that these are going to be there, so they don’t catch me off guard and I can avoid caving in. I decide in advance before I go into the store that I’m not going to buy them, and if I know that I’m experiencing weakness in my food choices, I make it a point to shop at a different store that I know does not sell them so readily.
Also along these lines, I would to go to a party or a get together with friends where lots of salty snacks and baked goods were available. I would spend all of my energy and thoughts trying to eat as many cookies or chocolates that I could possibly eat without people noticing that I was eating so many. I wasn’t able to invest in my friendships because I was only thinking about the food. So I adopted a motto for myself of “enjoy the one”. I taught myself how to eat only one cookie and one piece of chocolate. It took a while to learn how to do this, but I can now go to these parties and get togethers, enjoy my friends and invest in my relationships, and I can eat that single cookie that I love, enjoy it, and not be left longing for 12 more of them.
A helpful tip Dustin encourages for your healthy lifestyle is to follow an 80% 20% eating plan. Eat healthy and wisely 80% of the time, and the not so healthy foods 20% of the time. This 80/20 gage is so helpful and SO DOABLE. I spend my 20% primarily on dark chocolate with sea salt and kettle corn.
Over Thanksgiving last year I gained a few pounds, so after that holiday, I journaled about it. I went over all of the places that I went, what I ate, the food I consumed while I was cooking (you know what I mean; those harmless little bites and taste tests…uh huh). I learned myself though journaling these things out. I saw what my traps were, the places where I tripped up. And after seeing those things and pinpointing where I went wrong, I made a game plan for the Christmas Holiday. And… I actually lost weight over Christmas last year! My game plan actually worked. I ate all of the seasonal foods that I enjoy (I’m one of those weird people that loves fruit cake), but because I had this game plan, I didn’t overdo it. I know how to handle the holidays without packing on weight and without missing out on the holiday goodies.
I have been doing Dustin’s Fit Moms for Life program for 2 ½ years now. I get to use heavier weights now than the 5lb-15lb weights that I started out with. I now use up to 45lb dumbbells. With the workouts that Dustin takes you through, his guidance, the encouraging stories of the women featured on his DVDs, and the nutrition and knowledge of food that I have learned… over the last 2 ½ years I have lost between 70-75 pounds, and have kept it off! I am smaller now than I was during my first few years of college. My friends and family can’t believe how different I look and encourage me all the time. I can’t believe the energy that I have and how different my body feels. My knees don’t hurt nearly as much now THANKFULLY.
I know how to eat. Without following a diet, I know how to eat healthily and successfully. I know how to fit a workout into a busy day. I know what my food traps are and I have a game plan to overcome each one of them. The way that I think about food has flipped a complete 180 degrees and I don’t see food the same way that I used to. I don’t worry about gaining back the weight that I have lost. And I’m actually not finished dropping weight yet, I have about 15-20 pounds left to lose but I know that I am going to lose those remaining pounds. I feel set up for the rest of my life to live as a healthy woman. I hope to be a wife and mother someday and I feel set up to be a successful mother in the area of healthy nutrition and exercise (I WON’T have a designated junk food drawer for them).
I am so thankful for what I have learned through the Fit Moms for Life program. I don’t feel like or worry that I will fail in this area again ever. Of course, I will have my days where I don’t eat as well as I could have, especially on those days right before my period…yep. I don’t believe in perfection but I do believe in excellence, so I don’t expect myself to be perfect at this, but I do know how to be successful. I know how to be successful in the day to day, and in the long run. I would absolutely recommend this Fit Moms for Life program to everyone; to moms, single women, and I would even recommend it for men. It’s possible, it’s doable, and it’s sustainable.”