78 Pounds Lost: Turning my Pain into Power

I started gaining weight around 9 years old. I am a severe asthmatic and it was about that time that I was placed on an oral steroid to help with inflammation.

NAME : Diane

HOW DID YOUR WEIGHT AFFECT ANY ASPECT(S) OF YOUR LIFE?  From the 4th grade on I was teased by classmates. My weight was always a topic of discussion with family members and other adults. I was placed on a diet at age 10. Throughout middle and high school my weight was up and down and I was always mindful of how I was perceived by others. I always though that I was too heavy, even when I was at my smallest at 115 pounds and a cheerleader. My weight and size was always a topic of discussion, whether good or bad. I hid a lot of what I ate for fear of someone making comments and judging my choices.

WHAT WAS THE “TURNING POINT” THAT GOT YOU STARTED ON YOUR WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY?  I turned 30 years old and freaked out. I saw my mother and father in their 60’s working out at the gym and I could barely walk a brisk mile. I looked at myself in the mirror and thought that being this overweight ( at my heaviest ) could not be what the rest of my life was going to be like. I wanted to be slim and be happy and comfortable in my skin. I hated looking in the mirror and seeing a sad, overweight person. I couldn’t wear clothes from my favorite stores anymore. Everything had to be loose and forgiving – only to be a tight fit on me. I made a career change and began respiratory school and didn’t want patients and other healthcare professionals to look at me and think i was a poor example of health, so I decided enough was enough!

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED?  I bought a scale and weighed myself, measuring tape, and a notebook. I researched healthy food options and decided what I was going to eat for the next few days. I went to the grocery store, bought a food scale and got cracking on it. I signed up for weight watchers online. I didn’t tell anyone immediately because I didn’t want other’s influence on what I should do to lose weight, or tell me what I was doing was wrong, or to hear criticisms and doubts. I kept quiet, and week after week the weight started to come off.

HOW LONG AFTER YOU STARTED DID YOU BEGIN TO SEE RESULTS OF YOUR WEIGHT LOSS EFFORTS?  I saw weight loss in week 1. I was extremely happy! I kept myself focused and I obsessed over eating healthy foods and leaving fast food in the past. Week after week I saw weight loss or maintenance. Sometime a pound, sometimes 4.

WHAT WAS THE HARDEST PART?  After people were visibly able to see my weight loss, it seemed like everyone had an opinion. Some where happy, others criticized my dedication and labeled it obsessive. Others tempted me to eat poorly. If I would allow myself to have a not so good food choice (I worked those in my diet!) Some people would broadcast it to make it seem like I had fallen off the wagon. Some people stated they liked the old me better ( How? The old me was miserable and unhealthy – but you liked that better than a happier me??) Needles to say, I lost a lot of people during the journey, but gained a greater sense of myself and what I will stand for in my life.

DID YOU EVER WANT TO GIVE UP? WHAT KEPT YOU GOING?  YES! The intrinsic motivation to look better, feel better and be happier. I wanted to put all the energy that I placed in trying to help friends with their issues and finally help me. I also used the negativity to fuel me. Prove to everyone that Yes I can do this, I’m strong enough to do this and to maintain it!

DID YOU HIT ANY WEIGHT LOSS PLATEAUS? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM?  After loosing a significant amount of weight I was still not where I wanted to be. I looked back over my food journals from when I was loosing weight consistently, and started to add in more strength training and cardio. At first I could only do 15 minutes max on the elliptical machine. I worked my way up to taking 2-3 – 50 minute fitness classes back to back at the gym. Now I’m a fitness instructor, personal trainer and I own my own Fitness business in Roanoke, VA

HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO LOSE MOST OF THE WEIGHT?  The majority of the weight came off within 6 months. I lost about 45 pounds initially. Then it was more of a slow and steady decrease in weight.

DID YOU HAVE ANY NON-SCALE VICTORIES?  Inches lost, refusing foods, learning how to cook my old favorites in healthier ways, being an inspiration to others, increasing cardiovascular and muscular strength, fitting into a size 4, sometimes 2!

WHAT DOES YOUR DAILY DIET LOOK LIKE COMPARED TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER?  I eat so much more now it is unreal! When I was heavier, I would have a biscuit from a fast food chain for breakfast, have a huge fattening lunch from a local restaurant and very little for dinner. Now I eat at a steady pace all day long. I also eat clean whole foods now and cook all of my meals. I eat more than a lot of men. My metabolism is so much better now.

HOW DOES YOUR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY COMPARE TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER?  I teach 6 fitness classes a week now. Zumba and a class I created Burnout, which incorporates resistance training and tabata. Before, I was sedentary.


  1. Believe in yourself!
  2. Hold yourself accountable – no one else is responsible for your happiness and success but you. Make a log book of your goals and steps to those goals. Want to lose 20 pounds in 4 months? Okay, lets write down the steps to do so and make sure we hit those mini goals.
  3. Find a friend in your fitness classes. Check on each other, meal prep together. During my process I had no one in my circle that was doing what I was doing. I just think If I would have just reached out to someone how many more goals and how much sooner would I have gotten there.
  4. Try new foods – look at it as an adventure. You will get tired of the same meals. Add some variety!. If you find out you don’t like asparagus, there’s no love lost.
  5. Weight Train! it gives you so much confidence and strength – not only physical but mental as well.



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