I Lost It: 'I've never really had the best self-image'
Elizabeth Dean, 26, Tampa HEIGHT: 5-foot-5 STARTING WEIGHT: 203 CURRENT WEIGHT: 135WHY I DID IT: Most importantly, I did it for myself. Yes, there were other factors, like my career (I'm a singer), my health and my future. But I feel the most important reason was myself. I did it to feel better, to be more confident and complete. My weight has fluctuated my entire life. I was slender until I was about 8 or 9, when I discovered the Oreo cookie (my kryptonite) and chocolate Pop-Tarts. I have a bit of a sweet tooth. After that I flip-flopped between being very overweight and sort of chubby every three to four years. Because of that, I've never really had the best self-image. I felt like a behemoth next to the dainty girls around me. Throughout my life I have tried EVERY diet. I started what I like to call my FINAL weight-loss journey in October 2011, because I got sick of seeing myself in pictures and in the mirror. I had essentially stopped auditioning. I was so self-conscious, I didn't feel as though anyone would ever want to hire or cast me looking the way I did. Since the age of 2, my dream has always been to be a performer, so it was about time I started looking the part. HOW I DID IT: I started with a popular pre-set diet, and I had a weight-loss counselor within the program. I learned proper portions and how much of each food group I should be eating. I did not cut out carbs and sweets and all those things people tell you that you HAVE to do in order to lose weight. I am a firm believer that while those types of diets may work at the time, they are not a permanent choice or a "fix." Being healthy and smart-minded about my food choices was working - and then I plateaued. I wasn't losing as quickly as I wanted to, and I had yet to see the physical results. I was trying to run/jog when I could, but it still wasn't giving me the workout and tone I needed. That's when my family purchased a TreadClimber by Bowflex. Buying the TreadClimber is the absolute BEST decision my family and I have ever made. It is a miracle machine. Just walking on it is a better workout than every other workout machine combined! After just five to 10 minutes on that machine I was sweating and could just feel the pounds dripping off. My workout regimen was usually five days a week for about 45 minutes (sometimes an hour so I could try to lose weight a little quicker). Once we bought the TreadClimber it was the only machine I used and needed! In total it took me 11 months to get to my goal weight,. I know that a healthy balanced diet was key, but I honestly attribute a great deal of my weight loss and reaching all of my physical goals to the TreadClimber. HURDLES: I find that whenever life gets busy or really hectic (like life usually is) it is so easy to forget about being healthy and making time to work out and take care of you. It's easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle. My weight-loss counselor, who is a very smart woman, constantly told me that it is essential to schedule workouts and "you" time. They should be viewed as a fixed appointment that cannot be missed. When I plateaued, which I did for quite a while, it was discouraging. I was lucky to have a weight counselor there to tell me to keep at it and to push through because it would get better. In my case the TreadClimber helped break me out of my plateau. GOING THE DISTANCE: I have been maintaining my current weight since September. It's been interesting trying to balance everything; it certainly hasn't been easy. Once you lose the weight, sometimes it's easy to feel like you can relax. BEST ADVICE: Be patient, stick with it and don't get too mad at yourself if you slip up a little. Life is about balance. I Lost It is a regular feature highlighting individual weight loss success stories and does not reflect the opinions of 4you, which encourages you to work with a physician or a nutritionist before embarking on a diet. To share your story, visit TBO.com, search Lost It; or email email@example.com; or mail to 4you, The Tampa Tribune, 202 S. Parker St., Tampa FL 33606.