Lora Crider, 54, Temple Terrace
Starting weight: 270
Current weight: 134.2
Why I did it: At the end of 2012, I was feeling very bad physically, with no energy. I just wanted to go home, eat, lay on the couch and watch TV. Then I had a hard time making it up one flight of stairs without being out of breath. I was too young to be experiencing these symptoms. I spoke with a friend who is a cardiologist about how I was feeling, and he suggested I get a stress test. This was a huge wake-up call for me!
I knew all the poor food choices were catching up with me, and though I had always had perfect health, that had changed. My knees were bothering me, my hip would bother me occasionally, and I knew the shortness of breath was not going to lead anywhere good.
Fear was a huge motivation for me to change. Not really the fear of dying but the fear of not being able to live a healthy life and the fear of feeling old beyond my years.
How I did it: I joined Weight Watchers online on Jan. 2, 2013. I didn’t own a scale; I guessed at my starting weight.
My first step in trying to get on the program was to log everything I ate, but I wasn’t really trying to restrict my eating in any way. For the next couple of weeks, I tracked everything I ate online and started trying to drink more water. I purchased a digital food scale and started weighing and measuring my portions, and very quickly I realized I had been eating far too much food!
The next small change I made was to make myself eat one piece of fresh fruit a day as a snack. My normal snacks at work had been a candy bar or bag of chips.
I decided early on to keep the focus only on the 5 pounds I was trying to lose at the time. I didn’t look at the “big picture,” just at those immediate 5 pounds in front of me. I firmly believe that this strategy kept me moving forward.
I began writing a weekly newsletter, “Weights and Balances,” in June 2013, It was a single page with small articles about weight loss and encouraging graphics, and I included a progress box about my journey. Quickly, I had others join me in the progress box. My hope is that the newsletter encourages others to make small changes and work toward greater health. In September 2014, I began writing a blog, “Weights and Measures,” and I enjoy sharing information and encouragement.
I didn’t begin exercising (or movement as I like to call it) until after I had lost almost 30 pounds. I started out walking 10 minutes a day and built up to currently walking over an hour a day (usually broken up into two 30-minute segments). I also participated in the University of South Florida FIT Program in both fall 2013 and fall 2014, which taught me how to add other cardio exercises and strength training to my daily walks.
I reached my original Weight Watcher goal of 150 pounds in July 2014. I lost 102.6 pounds using Weight Watchers Online and an additional 27.8 at meetings. (I lost 5.4 pounds on my own before Weight Watchers, over the course of three months. Real success came with Weight Watchers!)
Hurdles: I am often in charge of food-based events for our college here at USF, and I’m surrounded by food at times. One of the wonderful things about Weight Watchers is that you can eat anything you wish as long as you account for it in your daily point allowance. This offers a great deal of flexibility when it comes to special events, parties and holidays. Still, I learned to always have snacks on hand and never to attend an event on an empty stomach. Planning is a big key to success.
Emotional eating has been one of the biggest hurdles I have had to overcome. When I feel I am driven to eat now, I take a deep breath and find out what is really going on. If you are unsure about this journey, you might want to consult with a trained professional. There are many tools out there to help learn better coping mechanisms and strategies.
I have learned to not fight my body. At times, no matter how many good food choices you have made and no matter how much movement you have gotten in, your body just won’t release the excess weight. Stay the course, and after two to three weeks, your body will begin to give up that excess weight. Be patient, forgiving and loving to yourself!
Going the distance: I joined Weight Watchers meetings in late March 2014, and I reached my original Weight Watchers goal that July. I have been either at or below goal since then. One of the happiest days of my life was when I reached Lifetime status on Aug. 16, 2014. I began 2015 weighing 143 pounds. I started toying with the idea of trying to reach my long-time-ago goal of 135 pounds and finally got serious about it in late February. By the middle of April, I had reached that goal.
I still track all my food intake, and I still weigh and measure my portions, especially my proteins. I walk my yellow Lab, Sunny, seven days a week and walk between 3 and 6 miles a day. I get to the gym two to three times a week or do home-based or DVD workouts.
Whatever you did to lose the weight, you need to do to maintain the loss.
Best advice: Never, ever, give up, no matter how hard it seems at the time. Use a salad plate to keep your portions better under control. Drink lots of water. Get enough rest every night. Help others. Check with your health insurance company; they may offer discounts or some will even pay for your participation in Weight Watchers.
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