Height: 5 feet 6 inches
How I gained it: I began to gain weight while I was in college. I gained 25 pounds in four years, and despite numerous diets and exercise plans, I continued to pile on the pounds. Later, chronic depression and some poor life choices pulled me into a downward cycle of overeating and not exercising. I have struggled with my weight for most of my adult life.
Breaking point: By the summer of 2007, my weight had ballooned to more than 200 pounds, and I cringed every time I looked in the mirror. More important, my only sister had suffered a stroke earlier that year. I had lost other family members to heart disease, hypertension and diabetes and was desperate to save my own life.
How I lost it: In August 2007, I began working with a wonderful health coach. Together, we put together a wellness plan that fit my needs and lifestyle. Unlike a diet, a wellness plan is about more than counting calories and measuring inches. It focuses on the health of one’s body, mind and spirit.
I began eating five to six small meals a day, starting with breakfast, and continuing throughout the day with a mid-morning snack followed by lunch, a late afternoon snack and dinner. This helped me avoid becoming extremely hungry and raiding the office vending machine during the day or the refrigerator at night. I also began planning and preparing my meals at home instead of buying lunch every day or grabbing takeout for dinner.
In addition to healthy eating and regular exercise, we talked a lot about emotional eating. Diana, my coach, helped me understand that the weight was a symptom of a number of underlying issues that, in my case, include low self-esteem, anxiety and depression. She also helped me understand that a predisposition to heart disease, diabetes and hypertension doesn’t have to be a death sentence. I can make better choices that will help me to live a longer, healthier life.
Seven months later, I reached my weight-loss goal, and at 5 feet 6 inches and 155 pounds, I’m healthy, not skinny. I don’t claim to be an expert on this subject. I still love junk food (and probably always will!), but I consume it in moderation, and I exercise regularly by walking one to two miles a day, four to five days a week. This is a terrific way to burn calories and relieve stress after a long day at the office.
Jeanine has maintained her weight since March 2008, and at her blog, Healthy Not Skinny, she provides support and encouragement for other women struggling with weight and health issues. She shares recipes for eating well and staying fit at Eat the Foods You Love.