KATE FIERCE, 37
STARTING WEIGHT: 174
CURRENT WEIGHT: 139
WHY I DID IT: I never had to worry too much about my weight until 2010. I went through a very difficult breakup and began to have health issues. Eventually I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, but not before I’d packed on nearly 40 pounds in about a year.
I ate for comfort and was taking medication that accelerated my weight gain. Before I knew it, none of my clothes fit. I lost confidence and was pretty much miserable in my own skin. I tried half-heartedly to lose the weight with gimmicks and fads, but I ended up just losing and regaining the same 10 pounds again and again.
HOW I DID IT: When my friend and coworker Mindy Artze (of mindysfitnessjourney.com) hosted a DietBet in early April 2013, I thought I would give it a try. DietBetter.com is a website that lets you challenge yourself and friends to kickstart your weight loss. Everyone puts money into the pot, and after four weeks, whoever hits their 4 percent goal is a winner and splits the pot.
Losing 4 percent of my body weight seemed a lot more achievable than losing 40 pounds, and I liked the idea of having some camaraderie with my coworkers. The prospect of winning some money was appealing, too!
Since I’d tried low-carb diets, diet supplements, and prepackaged diets, all without success, I knew this time I needed to do it the “old-fashioned” way — with diet and exercise. In addition to using DietBetter.com, I used the DietBet app. The weight-loss charts that monitored my weekly progress helped keep me from getting discouraged. I also began to track all of my food intake through the My Fitness Pal app. Seeing the small successes of 4 percent of my body weight coming off month after month was incredibly motivating.
I began an at-home exercise program, The Brazil Butt Lift (Beachbody) and purchased a Body Media armband. Getting real about how much I was burning each day versus how much I was eating was powerful. I started to love the exercise and the effects it had on my body. I was hooked.
HURDLES: I needed to get over the idea that it could or should be easy to lose weight. It felt so effortless to gain weight; I think I expected losing it to be as easy! I learned not to shy away from what seemed difficult, even impossible. Just trying something new, allowing myself grace if it was challenging, encouraged me to keep pushing. I found I was a lot stronger than I’d imagined.
Finding an at-home exercise program also was key for me. I was always able to find an excuse why I couldn’t get outside to exercise or get to a gym. Being able to work out in the privacy of my own home was great, and it eliminated so many of those excuses.
As an educator, I am off from work in the summer. Going back to work in the fall presented a challenge, as I no longer felt I had an hour or more to devote to exercise. I realized I needed to find something new to meet my new needs.
GOING THE DISTANCE: I’m still tracking my food, still wearing my Body Media armband and still working out at home. (Although I have changed up the program to Jillian Michael’s Body Revolution — and I love getting it done in 30 minutes each day!) I still would like to lose a few more pounds, but I am proud to say that all of my clothes fit again! I allow myself a cheat meal every week to keep myself motivated, but I have found that my tastes have changed. I don’t crave sugar, salt and fat like I used to. Instead, I crave lean protein and roasted broccoli!
BEST ADVICE: Don’t be afraid to start. The time is never just right. Jump into making small changes, and see how those small changes begin to add up. Getting fit increased my confidence, boosted my mood and gave me incredible energy. There is a program out there that will work for you, and you are worthy of the investment.
Also, set small goals and celebrate when you achieve them. DietBetter was perfect for me because I set attainable short-term goals and was rewarded for meeting them. DietBetter also helped me tremendously because I could see I wasn’t alone.
To share your success story, visit TBO.com, search Lost It; or email [email protected]; or mail to 4you, The Tampa Tribune, 202 S. Parker St., Tampa FL 33606.