Jennifer Downward weighed 373 when she decided to make a change.
She says she grew up in an overweight family where unhealthy eating, and over eating, were commonplace. Downward says that in high school she was 260 pounds but because she was funny, she felt confident with herself and didn't feel any pressure to lose weight.
She gained more weight, as many of us do, when she went off to college. She met a heavy set gentleman and the unhealthy eating patterns continued. It was when that relationship ended that Downward met her husband, got married and started the process of adopting a newborn. That is what prompted the change. Motherhood.
Downward didn't want to be a parent sitting on the sidelines. She wanted to be active with her child, to play with her child and knew that if she didn't do something, that wouldn't be possible.
She began her journey by tracking her calories with a downloadable app. She also stopped drinking soda (she had been drinking a 2 litre bottle everyday). She didn't like the taste of water and used the flavoured packets to make it easier, eventually, she was able to give them up as well.
Shortly after this, she began using DietBet.com
. She says, "I began usingDietBet.com
to motivate me to stick with my plans to get active and lose weight. The first time I played, I bet $25 that I would lose four percent of my body weight. I figured I was already planning on dropping pounds, so I might as well earn money doing it. During my first game, I won back my $25, plus an extra $10 for meeting my goal! I was hooked." She began cooking for herself in an effort to avoid processed foods and found herself eating more fruits and vegetables than she'd ever consumed before. She sought out healthy recipes online and flexed her creative muscles in the kitchen. In time, Downward says she stopped craving processed foods and would rather eat a bowl of grapes than junk.
She wasn't all strict though. She says, "I still treated myself to ice cream and other indulgent foods if I had enough calories left in my budget for the day, though. I learned that if I don't give myself those treats, I go crazy. I also started subbing in healthy treats that calm those sweet-tooth cravings I get after dinner. Instead of eating cookies or brownies for dessert, for example, I'll have a Greek yogurt from the freezer. It's not quite the same as ice cream, but it keeps me sane."
She also started doing Zumba workouts on her Wii. It wasn't easy at first, "The first time, I could only dance for like 10 minutes twice a week before I got too winded and had to give up," she says, "But each week, I would workout for just a few more minutes. I loved working out at home because I didn't feel like anyone would judge my horrible dance moves, and I could do it anytime I wanted. Eventually, I started walking and then jogging on the treadmill to get more exercise in."
Now that she has herself down to 198 pounds, Downward says she feels more confident when stepping out on the town with her husband. "Before I lost weight, I was always worried that people were judging us because I was so heavy and he was the complete opposite," she says. "If you ask my husband, he'll say he never noticed other people staring, but I saw the judgmental looks when we held hands." What's more, she says she has so much more energy to devote to parenting her son. Late night feedings, bring it on!
Here are Jennifer's Tips for weight loss:
Lose the diet mentality.
One of the biggest reasons I've been so successful at losing weight and keeping it off is because I've transformed my lifestyle. The word "diet" makes me think that these healthy changes will eventually come to an end. But by seeing weight loss and weight maintenance as a way of living, I'm totally comfortable sticking with my eating plan and workout routine. A lot of weight loss is in your head.
I had no idea what was in my food until I started reading the labels and doing the math. I found that if I didn't keep an eye on what I was eating, the amount of calories I consumed really snuck up on me.
Drink lots of water.
I went from drinking very, very little water to chugging it all the time. When I wake up in the morning, one of the first things I do is have a glass. Since it helps me feel fuller faster, I have a glass before each meal. That enables me to feel satisfied while eating smaller portions.
What an incredible weightloss journey! Have you made a similar lifestyle change? Tell us your story!
Source: Women's Health