Clara Williams is 51 years old and weighs a healthy 183 pounds. But just four years ago, this was far from the case.
Clara admits that she has been battling weight all her life. She was a 100 pound third grader who became a 426 pound adult. And although she was having a hard time fastening her size 36 pants, she wasn't ready to make a change. She wasn't ready, that is, until her daughter gave birth to Isaac. Clara say, "I knew that I would not be around for him, or the rest of my family, if I didn’t get my weight under control. It was hard to even get up off the couch by myself, let alone with a baby in my arms. I was sick of being sick and tired. So I decided to fight to live life to its fullest."
Anyone who has been overweight knows the struggle well, the more you weigh, the more you hurt so the less you move and the bigger you become. It was no different for Clara but using her father's 100 pound weight loss as proof that it was, in fact, possible, she and her high school friend Patty joined a nonprofit weight loss support group at the local REC centre. There, the pair found weekly weigh-ins, motivational contests and group support.
Clara explains, "I slowly changed my habits by eating less junk and incorporating more whole natural foods, but I never felt like I was dieting. It was a daily choice, and I realized along the way that in order for me to make lasting changes, it had to be about waking up everyday and making the best healthy choices I could."
She did an absolutely brilliant job of avoiding the disappointment that can often set in when progress is slow. "Sometimes my progress seemed slow, but I always reminded myself that I was better than where I started," she said.
Now that the weight is gone, Clara says she feels free. "I didn’t have to worry about fitting into seats at the movie theater, about getting turned away from riding a roller coaster … or even something as simple as walking. I no longer had to take medication for high blood pressure or diabetes. I could get up and down with ease. My back and knee pain decreased. I could go to the park with my grandson and play with him for hours."
It isn't always easy as snack foods still present as triggers. Clara knows that if she has candy and chips on hand, she's at risk for gorging when home by herself and away from prying eyes. What's her solution? She either doesn't buy her trigger foods or she buys them in a manageable size like an individual size bag of chips instead of a family size bag. "In times when I feel like I’m really struggling, I remind myself that even though I may eat in private, my weight is there for the entire world to see," she says.
What advice does Clara have to offer? "Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today. I am a testament to the fact that small changes will bring you great rewards. Make a choice each day to eat healthy foods that are good for your body, and move each day — even if it’s 10 minutes at a time. It might feel like a challenge, but everything worthwhile in life is hard. When you accomplish your goal, you will be proud and you will finally know that you are worth the effort!"
She's right. You are worth the effort!
For more of Clara's story, head here