My “Weight Loss” Journey!

Here is my journey from the beginning until the end, as I believe it is important to look into your past when trying to lose weight because you need to address, face & fix whatever made you get to this point in the 1st place if you ever want to succeed at losing weight, becoming healthy and staying that way in the future!!!
 
IN THE BEGINNING

Throughout my childhood I ate pretty healthy, as my mom feed me a very well balanced diet that often included oatmeal, cream of wheat or raisin bran with fruit in the morning.  Then I would have a sandwich or salad for lunch and a balanced dinner that included lean-meat, veggies & potatoes. 

Arizona 1986 (Me, My Mom & Step-Dad)

Arizona 1986 (Me, My Mom & Step-Dad)

Also, my mom never kept a lot of junk food in the house and I typically drank water or iced tea, I was a never a big soda drinker.  Occasionally, we would go out to eat and I would order what I wanted, however this was not an everyday thing and we hardly ate fast food, unless we were on vacation or what not. 

Now of course as I got “older” my past good eating habits changed a bit and then some! 

In my pre-teen years I discovered my love for food, which came from all my travels as my step-dad was in the Air Force and we moved every few years or so.  At one point we were stationed in Belgium and during our short stay (1 year) I quickly fell in love with “bread” and “pastries” and had a ton while there. 

Now, I did not gain any weight at that time as I was still a very active “young” girl (8-9 years old), however that is when my love for food offically started and slowly but surely as the years followed I gained weight and a few months shy of  my 13th Birthday I discovered that I was approximately 20 pounds overweight (130+, when I should have been more aroudn 110+ for my age and height).

Now at the time I really did not think anything “negative” about my weight!  In fact, it was not until my Dad said to me, word for word, “that if I wanted a boyfriend in the future I would need to lose some weight“, that the “negative” thinking started!  =( 

YES, I know, you are saying to yourself did I read that correctly, yes you did, unfortunately!  I am sure you are thinking, just as I had at the time “How could a man say such a thing to his daughter”!?!? 

WELL, my Dad did not mean anything bad by saying that, he did not mean to hurt me or mess me up in side (though he did and it of course affected me for years to come).  It was just his way of trying to help me lose some weight as I was a bit heavier than I should have been and he “honestly” did not know any better!  See my Dad came from a very broken home with an alcoholic abusive mother and a father that abandoned him at a very early age and he did not know really how to be a “Dad” or communicate with a little girl or woman for that matter, so he made a mistake, as I am sure several fathers or parents have done (even myself)!

As you can imagine my Weight Issues offically started from that day forth and continued through until today! 

NOW back to before my 13th Birthday and my Dad’s little (more like BIG) comment!  After that I was on a mission and officially started “dieting” for the 1st time in my life and also started running, riding the indoor bike and doing work out videos for hours about 5 days a week.

Now, I want to point out one good thing in the above, which is the day I discovered “running” for the 1st time in my life and it was all due to my Dad!I fell in love with it then and though I did not continue all of my life I eventually came back to it and am so happy I did now and will always “thank” my Dad for introducing it to me.

After all the dieting and lots of exercising I lost about 20+ pounds and got down to about 115 pounds (Size 5) right in time for my 13th Birthday and I was SO HAPPY.
Summer Vacation 1990 (My Dad & Me)

Summer Vacation 1990 (My Dad & Me)

Of course, that did not last as my Dad once again went and put his foot in his mouth and said “now you only have about another 10 pounds to lose“!  I about died and cried for a long time.  I couldn’t believe he said that to me.  I was devastated. 

Now again, he honestly knew no better (though in a way he should have of course), but it is what it is and believe me my mom gave him a big talking too.  After that I stopped dieting, stopped running, stopped biking, etc………I was really upset and felt like I would never make him (my Dad) the 1st man in my life happy…….so I GAVE UP!

I quickly gained back all the weight I had lost and eventually over my teen years more and then some.  I would say I was typically between the high 130’s and high 150’s during that time.  As I would go off and on diets and would start and stop running during those years.  Below was a picture of me on Christmas Morning in 1993, I was 16 years old at the time.

Christmas Morning 1993

Christmas Morning 1993

I did not eat horribly or by the ton mind you but I did eat what I wanted when I wanted.  This trend pretty much continued into my Adult Years.

ADULT YEARS

I lived at home and ate what was in the fridge or what I could manage to buy with my part-time job pay check earnings until I was 20 years old.  At that time I moved out on my own and officially started “grocery shopping” and such.  Though I will admit in the beginning I would often do my grocery shopping in my Mom’s Fridge….=O

Seeing that I had a very limited budget in my “early” adult years I pretty much stayed the same weight as my teen years.  Though I did eat OUT a lot more and also started DRINKING, which did pack on a few pounds in my early 20’s……..I would say I always hovered between 140 and 160 back then.  As I also would yo-yo diet & exercise during those years.  Below is a picture of me in 1997 when I was 20 years old, I am the one on the lower right hand corner.

Christmas Dinner 1997 (Me & My Family)

Christmas Dinner 1997 (Me & My Family)

THEN, I met my daughter’s father & ex when I was 23 years old and everything changed after that!

I met him while he was visiting a friend in Florida and soon after drove up to New Jersey to see him and not much longer after that drove up to “move in with him” and the rest is history………..

When I met him I was right around 138 pounds (low for me at that time) and after I moved in with him I gained about 8 pounds or so from eating out all the time as we did not have much of a kitchen at the time.  I would say I was right at 146 pounds when I got pregnant with my daughter in 1999.

I was lucky as I only gained about 30+ pounds while pregnant and after I gave birth on October 9, 2000 I weighed in around 170+ pounds. 

My daughter on the day she was born!

My daughter on the day she was born!

Over the year+ I last about half of the weight I gained while pregnant and even kept it off for a while, as you can see in the below picture of me & my daughter on vacation when she was about a year & half old.

Spring 2002 (Me & My Daughter)

Spring 2002 (Me & My Daughter)

Then things started to go down hill fast in my relationship and just before my daughter’s 2nd Birthday in September 2002 I left my ex and moved back to Florida to be near my family!  That is when the BIG weight gain started, as my ex left me severally damaged (he was abusive on many levels) and I also had to go through a horrible custody battle that ended with me being 80+ pounds heavier! =(

I would like to point out that I gained the 80+ pounds by eating an extremely un-healthy diet that consisted of the following on an average day:

  • Breakfast
    • Several servings (bowls) of cereal high in sugar
    • Fatty bacon, egg & cheese breakfast sandwiches several times a week
    • Large muffins or pastries
    • Hardly ever ate any “fruits”
  • Lunch & Dinner
    • Cheeseburger, fries & coke
    • 3 tacos & a large burrito
    • Large portion sizes of pasta (lasagna, spaghetti, etc.)
    • Frozen Pizza’s or Pizza Bites (unhealthy versions, not Kashi)
    • Large salads with lots of cheese, croutons & fatty dressing
    • Basically “large” portions of whatever I ate!!!
  • Snacks
    • Baked goods (donuts, cookies, cake & pie)
    • Chips 
    • Ice cream
    • Soda (large glasses) 

*I can say with 100% accuracy that eating out every day is not healthy, especially eating Fast Food daily and you will gain weight and sometimes very quickly if you do so!

My above eating habits were completely unlike my past (normal) eating habits and stemmed from a the physical and mental pain I experienced during my relationship with my ex (daughters father) that stripped me of my innocence and left me broken on many levels, which led me to being extremely depressed and in turn using food as a form of comfort (my drug of choice to numb the pain) !!!  

I also believe that I subconsciously gained the weight to “shield my heart” from getting hurt again, as who would want to love a 240+ pound women!

I always tried keep a smile on my face during this time of my life (as you can see in the below picture), however on the inside I was very unhappy & desperate for a change

Especially, since I did not want my daughter to live with such an unhappy mom or learn the BAD habits that I had tried so hard since she was born to avoid her from having as I did not want her to have the same “struggles” with food & weight as I had most of my life!  So since she was old enough to eat solid foods I had always fed her a “healthy” and “balanced” diet full of lots of fruits, vegetables, whole-grains, lean meats & dairy

BUT, as we all know children learn by example and I was of course not setting a very good one at that time!!!  =(

Mother's Day Breakfast 2003

Mother's Day Breakfast 2003

Over the next few years (between 2003 – 2005) I stayed extremely overweight weighing upwards of 240+ pounds (as you can see in the below picture) and despite my internal feelings on my weight and its affect on my daughter & I, I continued to struggle to overcome it!

Christmas Dinner 2004

Christmas Dinner 2004

Then finally in early 2005 my “turning point” finally came!!!

Turning Point

In the beginning of 2005 I decided enough was enough and set out to try and lose the weight I had gained over the past 3 years!!!

With the love and support of my family and friends I started making the changes in my life that set me in the right direction to lose weight.

Then in March 2005 I met my future husband, Steven, who quickly became a great friend at 1st and helped me find the courage to actually start living my LIFE again and stop hiding from it!

My Husband, Steven!

My Husband, Steven!

He helped me find the courage to return to the gym, which led to the rekindling of my love for running (a sport that I feel in love with in my early-teens) and his healthy lifestyles inspired me to start living the same way and fostered the love I have for healthy foods and cooking today. 

Once I decided to take control of my extremely un-healthy eating habits, I overhauled my diet and “life” completely

NOW, I will add that this was not easy, there were many ups & downs along the way and the weight did not come off overnight! 

In fact, I would do good for a long time then I would take a month or two off (due to stress at home) and even a year at one point (when things were really busy and crazy at work). 

It is during those “breaks” as I call them that I learned a very valuable lesson that……DIETING DOES NOT WORK!!!

See I would lose a lot of weight, 30-50 pounds, and then I would take a “break” for a month or two or longer and gain it all back and sometimes then some. 

Anytime things got tough in life (at home or work), I would take a break and go back return to my “old” means of making myself feel better, which was of course EATING!!!  Then would become fed up with myself (& my unhealthy ways) and would get back on the wagon and start the whole cycle over again.  Below is a picture of me in 2006 after about a 50+ pound weight loss cycle.

Family Breakfast 2006 (My Sister & Me)

Family Breakfast 2006 (My Sister & Me)

This up & down cycle pretty much continued over the next 3 years (between 2005-2008) for me, until I FINALLY I said “enough was enough” and I decided to get serious, stop the dieting (up & down cycle), start working out regularly and make some PERMANENT changes in my life that would lead me to a healthy and balanced life!  =)

See you have to change your eating habits and lifestyle completely in order to be healthy and stay healthy!  Otherwise the weight will creep back on eventually, take my word for it I know this from lots of experience!!! 

The only true way to lose weight, maintain your weight and be “healthy” is to CHANGE YOU EATING HABITS  & LIFE STYLE COMPLETELY!!!  

Yes, that means you need to change your old ways & habits and start anew, this doesn’t have to happen overnight, heck it took me “4” years, but you have to CHANGE in order for it to truly work and stay that way!

Now this does NOT mean you can’t ever eat anything “unhealthy” or “bad” for you again or that you can’t miss the gym either, quite the opposite!  You can enjoy those things and take time off…….you just have to do it all in moderation, it is all about BALANCE!!!

Back in June 2008 I finally made all those CHANGES in my life.  At that time I weighed around 215 or so pounds and I decided then & there to start doing the following on a weekly (regular) basis:

  • Eat a “healthy & balanced” diet, limiting my “bad” choices
    • NO DIETING ALLOWED!!!
  • Work out on a regular (weekly) basis!
    • Run or do other forms of cardio 3-5 times a week for at least 30+ minutes
    • Weight lift (abs, upper & lower body) 2 times a week for at least 60+ minutes

I followed this over the next year+ and finally hit my (1st) GOAL WEIGHT of 146 pounds in August 2009, in which I had lost a total of 100 pounds in all!  =) 

Check out my AFTER picture below and you will find a much happier & healthier person, who has finally found a Healthy Balance in her life!!!

Me After My "100 Pound" Weight Loss!!!

Me After My "100 Pound" Weight Loss!!!

 I have finally let go of my past (late childhood, teen, early adult & adult) issues that led me down several wrong roads in life! 

I no longer let issues from my past control my thoughts, body image or my self-esteem as I did back then!

I can finally say that my 20 year (starting at age 12 and ending at age 32) “weight loss” journey has officially ended and I now can start a new chapter in my life…………..FINDING A HEALTHY BALANCE!

_____________________________________________________________________________________

*Also, check out my post about my Joy Fit Club @ NBC’s Today Show – Submittal in which I answered several of their questions in reference to my weight loss journey (100+ pound weight loss)!  I never heard back from them but it was cool to be asked to submit my story and hey you never know maybe one day I will hear from them. 

_____________________________________________________________________________________

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  1. September 11, 2009 at 2:32 am

    Laura,
    THANK YOU SO MUCH for sharing your story with the world! You know I love and admire you but I just wanted to post it on your site that YOU are such an INSPIRATION GIRL!!! I am going to rejoin my old gym and make it a point to follow your BLOG… THANK YOU for taking the time to share your journey with the world!
    With Love,
    Michelle

    • mistifogg
      September 11, 2009 at 3:39 pm

      Thank you so much for the comment, Michelle! You are the best and also so postive…….=)

  2. September 25, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    Hi! Thank you for visiting my blog!! I really appreciate your support and encouragament! Thanks for sharing your story and I’m looking forward to reading more!! 🙂

    • September 26, 2009 at 1:45 pm

      And, thank you for visiting my page. =)

    • September 26, 2009 at 1:45 pm

      Thank you! =)

  3. October 6, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    Thanks for visiting my blog Laura! I loved reading your story and can’t wait to hear more. I definitely want to lose a few more pounds but I don’t stress about it, I just go with the flow. Where I’m at now is way better than where I was. Thanks again 😉

    • October 6, 2009 at 5:18 pm

      And, thank you for visiting my blog as well! I am currently working on a more “detailed” story and should be posting it soon. =)

  4. October 8, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    Your pictures are so great! Congrats on the huge weight loss! you are beautiful!!!

    • October 8, 2009 at 5:12 pm

      Oh, thank you very much! =)

  5. October 26, 2009 at 11:53 am

    Congrats on the weight loss! you are a great inspiration and beautiful!

  6. dishin
    November 18, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    I just read your story…how inspiring! What an accomplishment!

  7. Nicole
    November 23, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    Wow Laura, what an incredible journey you have taken so far. I am truly inspired by your weight loss, your outlook on life and your commitment to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. If I can achieve even a minuscule part of what you have accomplished I am sure I can find the happiness you have found in your expedition. I am looking forward to following your continued success!!!!

  8. January 6, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Thanks for posting about this. I hope I can accomplish the same things too. Your story is great inspiration.

  9. January 7, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    What a great read! Thanks for the inspiration!

  10. lowandbhold
    January 13, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    Awesome awesome story! You are a true inspiration!

  11. February 22, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    What a great story!! I gained my weight after I stopped being an athlete – turns out you can’t eat anything if you don’t work it off! 😀

    It’s true that you have to be careful what you say, as you never know how it will effect someone.

    One year for Christmas, I opened a gift, it was a sweater, and when I held it up to myself, my Dad said “One size fits bus!” I laughed it off, but it still stung! 😦

    • February 23, 2010 at 2:36 pm

      Very True! That is why I am very careful with what I say to my daughter in that retrospect, luckily at age 9 she has not “weight issues” and I hope she never does but you still have to make sure you are careful what you say around her as they are so impressionable. Thank you for stopping by my blog and please visit again. =)

  12. March 25, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    I love your blog. It sounds like our stories are pretty similar. Congrats on the 100 pounds!! Do you find it hard to keep it off?

    • March 25, 2010 at 8:32 pm

      Thank you and I totally agree after visiting you blog as well! Actually, I don’t anymore as I finally have learned how to “maintain” my weight, I am just struggling a bit at trying to lose the last 15+ pounds I would like to now but I will get there eventually. =)

  13. March 28, 2010 at 10:48 pm

    Wow. That is so great. I feel my body shifting and changing. I’m new to running and see my weight slowing going down but your story is very encouraging. I’m just beginning mine 🙂

    • March 30, 2010 at 6:31 pm

      Congrats on starting your own “journey” and thanks for visiting my blog!!! I will visit your blog soon and please keep in touch as I would love to see how you are doing……..=)

  14. April 11, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    Amazing story that I can identify with on so many levels (yo-yo cycles, stress at work, doing the wrong thing even when you know you shouldn’t etc, realising that diets don’t work and of course starting to turn my body into the healthy machine it should be). Your story is very inspirational, especially with a young daughter and the other stresses that go with divorce etc. I wish you all the best in your ongoing journey to a healthy balance.

    Regards,

    Nomorebigfella

    • April 12, 2010 at 3:55 pm

      I truly appreicate your comment, thank you! My continued journey has it ups & downs but as long as I stay on course for the most part I know I will get there………=)

  15. April 15, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    your story is awesome!

  16. carterhiggins
    May 27, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    What a great story! I lost 100 pounds last year too so I know how much that costs in blood, sweat, and tears:) Congratulations, looking forward to reading more of your story!

  17. May 28, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    Wow! What an incredible story! Congratulations 🙂

  18. Kelli
    June 2, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    Congrats Laura! What a great story. I am in the process of trying to end my 7 year battle with weight and lose it once and for all. Best of luck to you as you continue your journey on finding a healthy balance.

    • June 2, 2010 at 8:51 pm

      Thank you very much!!! I know it is a tough roadbut it is well worth it in the end believe me! Just take it one day at a time and you will get there I promise………=)

  19. June 21, 2010 at 1:28 am

    what a fabulous story! you are such an inspiration 🙂

  20. October 26, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    Thank you for your inspirational story! How did you start running? Did you use any special program?

    • October 26, 2010 at 5:49 pm

      I actually 1st started running with my Dad when I was 12, than I would do it off and on through the years until I finally decided several years back to start doing it again on a regular basis, which I have been doing ever since. No “special program”! I just started running and would try to increase my mileage/minutes every week. The Run-Walk-Run-Walk Method works great, check it out under my Running page. =)

  21. December 6, 2010 at 1:38 am

    Hey Laura! So glad I could read your inspirational story! I am in the midst of my own 100+ lb weight loss, and I’m looking forward to reading your blog for great ideas.

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