Sunday, February 03, 2013

New Me

One year ago I made a decision. I was sick of being overweight. Technically, I fell into the "obese" range of the BMI scale for my height. It wasn't merely my appearance I didn't like; I had gradually developed a number of minor health issues that could have easily become major issues had they remained unchecked.

So I resolved to change myself. I signed up for an account on SparkPeople, where I could track all my food, exercise, weight, measurements, etc. In the beginning, I still ate mostly the same food I had been eating, but in smaller quantities. I would only eat half of my entree and take the rest for leftovers. I paid more attention to the serving size in that handy nutrition facts label on food packaging. I started taking the stairs at work, instead of the elevator. I went for walks around the neighborhood in the evenings. I saw results immediately. As the weeks went by, the pounds dropped off, slowly but surely, averaging about 2-3 pounds per week.

It soon became obvious that altering the quantity of food eaten was not enough. I learned I must also eat better. My husband and I exchanged our nightly take-out dinners (I am not a cook) for heat-and-eat dinners from a chain called My Fit Foods. They make pre-packaged meals, like microwave dinners, for the health-conscious on the go. With a location on my way home from work, it was super convenient. And popping something in the microwave for 3 minutes was even easier than calling, ordering, and picking up take-out.

After a couple months of this new routine, I needed new clothes. It's a good thing I've always loved shopping at thrift stores, or else this could've gotten expensive. I saw plenty of other changes as well. The heartburn I had been experiencing for the past couple years disappeared. My husband told me I had ceased snoring at night. Taking the stairs no longer left me winded. I already felt a million times better. And my friends and coworkers (whom I hadn't told yet that I was trying to lose weight) began to notice. The boost to my self-confidence provided the fuel I needed to keep going.

We eventually tired of the My Fit Foods dinners. Nothing against them, but it was getting a bit repetitive. It was then that my husband discovered his love of cooking. He became a frequent customer of the Sprouts grocery store near his work, and found he enjoyed creating meals on the fly from whatever meat and produce happened to be on sale/in season at the time. (Is that how normal people do it? I still don't get the whole cooking thing, but I'm glad he does!) My previously-picky palate branched out into new territory and found the cuisine delicious!

More months passed and my weight continued to decrease, though more and more slowly. I was tempted many times (especially as our trip to Hawaii approached) to eat even less than my minimum calorie requirements in order to speed up my progress. But I kept telling myself that if this was to last, it needed to be a lifestyle change, not a temporary, unhealthy crash diet from which I would undoubtedly rebound.

Vacations and holidays were difficult. There were weeks that I didn't lose any weight at all. I even gained a few pounds while in Hawaii since I decided not to track my calorie intake on vacation. But I overcame those challenges, got back on course, and eventually saw the results I was striving for.

Today, one year and four days since setting out on this journey, I have reached my goal weight. That's 370 days to go from 225lbs to 150lbs, from a size 18 to an 8. It's been a challenging road, but I've learned so much along the way that I believe will help me stay on this path for years to come.

In writing this post, I do not mean to sound preachy or to make any of you feel guilty about your habits (trust me, I still have my share of bad ones!). Nor is it strictly for bragging purposes (but maybe just a little). My hope is that the story of my journey might show you that it is possible to teach an old dog new tricks. And if just one person finds inspiration from this, it's totally worth it.

Orangina Tee Refashions - After

So what's next for me? I'm going to have my husband wrap me in duct tape. No, no, it's nothing like that. I'm planning to make my own DIY dress form!


  1. Fantastic! It is amazing what a lifestyle change can do. I gave up sugar in August last last year after my sons very expencive dental work. He is less hyper, I lost a few kilos and his teeth still looking good at last appointment. I then cut out gluten for us both and making more wholesome foods with out additives, because I didn't want my son to go on ritalin. We both much more focused and I've lost more weight and feel great!
    Keep it up, a healthy mind and body is so important! And you're looking great as well!

  2. Congratulations to you Carissa! You look great! My husband and I have been cutting back and exercising for over a year and have each lost 30+ lbs. I have put 10 lbs. back on because I have slipped into old bad habits but I am starting up again to get those lbs. back off.
    It is not easy. You have to be dedicated and realize it is a lifestyle change. You can't lose the weight and then go back to how things were. The health benefits of doing this are lifesaving, to say the least.
    I am a Diet Coke junkie but no longer keep it in my house. I do have one from time to time, but I get it when I go out. I have been reading more and more about how bad it is for you so I am trying to stop drinking it all together.
    Thanks for sharing your story.

  3. Hi Carissa!
    It took a lot of courage and persistence! Good to you!!!
    I am sharing this post to inspire a cousin of mine. Thank you for posting this!
    Keep on th good track!!!
    Kisses from Portugal.

  4. What a transformation! Keep up the healthy habits. You look amazing. I've been struggling with my waistline lately so I might just check out sparkpeople & see if I can get my mojo back :-)
    Oh and I love all of your refashions too!

  5. I just came across your blog. You look marvellous. I joined Sparkpeople 3 years ago and had great success as well. It's a brilliant website.

  6. Congratulations! I found your blog through your beautiful Knitty pattern. Your crafty creativity and your focused effort to change your habits an lose weight are inspiring. Congrats!

  7. Wow Carissa! I for one am so inspired. About a year ago I decided I wanted to lose 20 pounds. I was strict about my diet and I exercised everyday for about 3 months. Ten pounds less and it was getting harder and harder to lose any more pounds...Then everyday exercise became 3 times a week, once a week, and some weeks even none. Long story short, I couldn't maintain it. So now I'm back to square one :( But after reading this and seeing how small my 20lb goal is compared to yours, I'm all fired up! Thank you so much for the inspiration ^_^

  8. Go you! I found my way here by way of NDAD, but I'm also a spark person. I love it, I love your creations and you look fabulous!

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