Viewer Chelsea struggled with her weight at a young age, but having three children put her at her heaviest weight ever. Turning to emotional eating to help cope with the loss of her mother and the stress of everyday life, Chelsea was on the border of diabetes and joint pain when she decided to make a healthy change.
She lost 100 pounds by following the rule of less when it came to her diet. Each week, she would do just a little less, like eat less fast food or reduce her portions to a little less, until all those little lesses added up in a big way. She also learned to rely on running instead of eating to help deal with her emotions and stress. Read on to see how her progress is going!
When you are living an unhealthy life, full of junk food and empty calories and void of any sort of exercise it can feel exhilarating when you decide to make a change. It can also feel overwhelming. In my case, the changes necessary were numerous and daunting, to say the least. I decided to attack them one step at a time. I chose not to tell my friends and family that I was setting out to lose a certain number of pounds, because this was about me being in control of myself and being accountable only to myself. So instead I gave myself somewhat vague goals, like eat less food, move more and join and gym – and go to it! This helped me feel that failure wasn’t inevitable and that success was highly possible.
Once my very broad goals began to show me some results, I was ecstatic, and it almost felt addictive to see the scale and my size drop. When I reached the point where others were noticing and commenting on my weight loss, it made me want to push harder. Such feelings continued on as I slowly lost more and more weight. All of the positive attention was not what I had started my journey for, but it sure was enjoyable!
After about two years, the weight loss slowed. I reached a healthier weight and I was the most physically fit I had been in my entire life. This was the new me and it was going to become my new normal. Fat wasn’t burning off as quickly as it once was and I was becoming just normal (though smaller and healthier) Chelsea again, rather than Chelsea, the girl who is losing so much weight! This is where the “life” in lifestyle change comes in.
The newness wears off and while I focused myself on specific fitness goals, it wasn’t quite the same feeling as I had when the journey started and I was in the midst of the big loss. There is never going to be a point when I am “done” with eating well and exercising regularly, and that is okay. Because all of the days I spent getting myself used to eating less, eating whole foods, running and lifting weights, they have made these behaviors habitual.
So how do I keep the weight off? I stick with what has worked for me as much as possible, without punishing myself when things turn out otherwise. Having a bit of vacation time while in NYC to be on The Dr. Oz Show was the perfect demonstration of how I have truly changed as a person. I had a wonderful time, deprived myself of nothing I truly wanted, and celebrated with food and drink in moderation. I had two very indulgent meals out of the four days I was there. The rest of the time I was able to stick to meals that were high in protein and avoided empty carbs and sugary treats.
When I am not on vacation, I grocery shop every weekend and stock my refrigerator with healthy, fresh foods. Meal prepping for the week on Sunday afternoons is a way of life most of the time. I portion out my food and have it ready to go for the day. When I am hungry, my convenience foods come right out of my lunch bag full of veggies, fruit, and nuts and lean proteins. When I am craving a salty or sweet snack from the vending machine, I use self-talk and bargaining to deal with it. “Chelsea, you can have the chips” after you eat your carrots and grapes and drink a bottle of water.” I give myself the permission with a caveat such as the one above and eight times out of 10 I don’t want the junk snack anymore when I’m done with my healthy snack and water. I try to make sure that 70 to 80% of my food choices are in line with my nutrition goals and I don’t dwell on the meals that didn’t reach my goal. I just acknowledge it and move on.
Most of the time if I eat too far off my typical diet, too many carbs, lots of extra sugar, etc., I end up feeling bad physically. Drowsy, foggy and even irritable, which I now realize that I felt that way constantly when I was living my life at 250 pounds. Should I get to lenient with my eating habits and notice a little bit of the weight to start creeping back on, I am able to notice by the way my clothes fit and I refuse to buy a size up from where I am now ever again. If my jeans are getting snug, I tighten up my diet and allow for less excuses or indulgences until I am at least back to a normal fit. I feel like once I give myself permission to buy new pants because my current ones are too small, I am giving myself permission to gain all of the weight back.
While on the show, Dr. Oz asked me about what I have done to replace my stress and emotional eating habits, and I told him that I became a runner. This is an excellent outlet for the stress in my life. I never punish myself with running, such as, “I ate this candy bar, now I better go run five miles”. Instead, I feel like I reward myself with running. I might say, “Chelsea, make time for a run, you deserve it and it will make you happy in the end.” Once I’m finished running I feel full of motivation to end a losing streak if I have been off track with my nutrition or missing too many workouts. For me, exercising, weight lifting and running are my happy places. I love being covered in sweat. Sometimes life gets in the way and I feel like I am unable to carve out the time for even a 30-minute workout, but I try very hard to never go more than three days in a row without some sort of exercise. Once I go beyond that, the next workout I have feels a little unbearable and that is a feeling I want to avoid!
Weight loss and maintenance can be difficult, but in the end are very rewarding and far worth the effort required. If you have weight to lose, if you have plateaued or if you have reached your goal and need to maintain it, having a friends and family in your corner can be very helpful. I have found so much support, motivation, and inspiration on Instagram. You can find me there posting about my usual fit life under the username @chelseasfitlife. I have recently started blogging about my personal experiences with weight loss, as well as a variety of fitness related topics. My blog is called Chelsea’s Fit Life and you can find it at www.chelseasfitlife.blogspot.com. I hope to hear from those who have connected to my story!