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“A healthy attitude makes a world of difference when you’re trying to accomplish something so complex.”
Ever had that unhealthy train of thought where you allow your own thinking to prevent the best part of yourself to emerge? Bethany has been through it and will share with us how to tackle our own inner demons.
Current Weight: 158 pounds
Starting Weight: Around 240 pounds
What should we call you? When did you start your weight loss journey?
My name is Bethany, usually referred to as just B, and I “officially” started my weight loss journey in January 2016. I did little things here and there but I didn’t really take it seriously until around March 2016 when I started to seriously count my calories and make an effort to get more fit. It started out by getting a FitBit for Christmas from my mom and I made a pact to try and walk at least 10K a day. It didn’t always happen but I was becoming a lot more active than I had previously been. That was just the start.
Have you reached your weight goal yet?
No, not yet. My ideal goal weight is around 125-130 which puts me right in the middle of a healthy BMI. I also want to lower my body fat percentage to which is currently around 22%-25% to around 16%.
Why is that your weight goal? Was it by recommendation or a decision?
The goal is simply because it gets me to a comfortable BMI number and I know that I will look better at that weight than my current weight. Sure right now I’m technically a “normal weight” but I’m still overweight in my eyes and have room to lose another twenty or so pounds. These decisions have always been my own and never anyone else’s. There was never much of an emphasis on the importance of weight or eating healthily when I was growing up which, unfortunately, led me to being a fat child/teenager/adult. This is different now as I have finally taken my own life into my own hands. It’s my responsibility and no one else’s.
Could you give us an insight on how the starting weight came about?
Like most people it was just gradual. I didn’t know or think too much about it growing up. I was self-conscious but I was more focused with an “academic lifestyle” rather than the athletic lifestyle that I was too fat to be a part of. I was shallow to those that were more athletic or fit than I was (read pretty much everyone) and I was just overall a sour child/teenager and ate my feelings. It was a vicious cycle that no one could help me with because I was too much of a jerk to allow people to help me so I felt bad and ate more.
What initiated the thoughts to lose weight? Any specific event in particular which made you feel determined?
I was just tired of being fat, unattractive, and unhappy. I was aggressive and sluggish constantly with no true appreciation for life. I didn’t like to be outdoors because I would get out of breath and instead I would hole myself up in my room and play games on the computer/gaming console or read. I would just see Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram posts of everyone else my age having fun and doing things and I would just be at home or in my dorm room sealed off from the world because I was so bitter about my own body and appearance and others (i.e. being very judgemental of fit girls that would dress skimpy) that no one wanted to hang out with me.
What exercise/diet regimen did you follow to achieve your current weight? Did you follow the norm or customised your own method? Were there any obstacles that made it difficult to maintain?
The main part of my weight loss has been due to calorie counting. It sounds bad to say but that’s literally just it sometimes, as long as you eat below the calories you burn you will lose weight. I didn’t believe this at first until I started doing it and then just like that I was down ten pounds and continuing to drop at a reasonable pace (about a pound to a pound and a half a week). I also became a vegetarian in August and that has helped take out extra calories and I drink at least a gallon of water a day.
The hardest part is keeping with it and sticking to a strict number within a week. It’s easy to forget that drinks have calories too or that when you’re using oils and whatnot to cook that those count too. It takes a lot of self-discipline and the easiest way to stick to it is to set yourself at a reasonable goal and then work from there. You don’t have to immediately cut 500+ calories from your day but just make small changes like 100 or so calories a day. The difference seems minuscule but it does help, anything helps. It’s not easy and it won’t be overnight but with persistence the weight will come off.
My current workout plan is focused more on strength rather than losing weight. I would like to tone muscle as I lose the fat. I choose to do cardio activities outside of the gym in the form of things like hiking or jogging. I mainly target my arms, legs, and back with exercises like hammer curls, dead lifts, back extensions, and pull ups. I created this work out myself and work outs that you create yourself, in my opinion, are easier to stick with.
How did you manage balancing the time between your regimen and occupation?
I currently have two part time jobs and I go to school full time. I work around 50-55 hours a week and spend around 10 hours in class or studying for class. It’s very time consuming but I always make time to work out on Sunday’s, Tuesday’s, and Thursday’s. If I can’t do it on those days, I make up time somewhere else during the week for a minimum of three workouts per week. I would like to work out more once graduate in May and things start to settle down a bit. I work anywhere from 8 AM to around 8/9 PM on a given day and I usually work out from around 8:30ish to around 10.
Ever had an ultimatum when you thought of giving up? How did you manage to jump back to your plan?
Yes and no. There was never an intentional “I’m giving up” moment but there were times (and still are, unfortunately) times where I do overeat when I’m stressed and maybe gain a pound or two. I do my absolute best to try and cut through these times by going on more hikes (one of my favorite activities) and focus on bettering myself physically, mentally, and emotionally. It isn’t always easy but I’ve never considered giving up just because it gets too hard or there are a few bumps in the road. If anything it just makes me want to lose weight even more.
What was the key factor that lead you to the success of losing weight?
Calorie counting and getting into a better, more positive mind set. I used to think that nearly everything was impossible because it was hard or just simply not worth the time/effort. Now I am much more active, not only physically but active in my personal life and making strides to being a better, more complete person. It’s hard to accomplish anything with a bitter attitude so I dropped the bitter attitude and learned to embrace the ups and downs of life, even if it seems impossible at the time. A healthy attitude makes a world of difference when you’re trying to accomplish something so complex.
How do you feel knowing all that you’ve achieved?
It feels good to know that I’ve gotten this far but I know that I can’t afford to stop now. I still have a long way to go and this isn’t just until I lose the weight and get to a weight that I want to be at, this is a life time of dedication and change ahead of me. I can never stop improving, both physically, mentally, and emotionally, and I will constantly strive to be the most “ideal me”.
Any friendly advice for people who are starting out with their weight loss journey? A few words for them to keep in mind when they’re about to give up and let go of the hard work that they’ve invested in?
Accept that weight loss and moving toward a healthier lifestyle is indeed difficult and at times it will seem like you’re not really going anywhere, that should definitely be the first thing to remember. It’s a long process and it should be more of a lifestyle change rather than just a quick fix.
It’s also extremely beneficial to join a group, whether in person or online, for motivation and for tips about how to continue safely and efficiently on your journey. Websites like reddit have plenty of weight loss subreddits where people talk about their journeys, how they’ve done it, and for motivation when people get into ruts. There is also the community on BodySpace which is full of members that are working so hard to become the ideal them and it’s motivating to be a part of. A sense of community can go a long way.
Finally, a personal motivational quote which helps you whenever you’re not at your best mindset?
I always think about how far I’ve come and how much more I enjoy life now because I’m more energetic and involved with everything. I’m not always 100% but I’m never to the point of giving up because I’m so personally determined to not allow myself to fail. I’ve failed myself for too long and now that I’ve accepted the responsibility of being a better, healthier person, I have to stick to it.
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