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Monday, April 29, 2013

How'd She Do It? Nichole's Weight Loss Journey

Pin It It is my baby sister's birthday day.  I say baby because she truly was my baby sister while I lived at home.  When I left for college, she was 9 years old, and just 11 when I got married.  I hope she doesn't mind that word, I mean it in an endearing way.  And everyone knows I love babies!  haha

But she is definitely not a baby now, she is a wife and mother with a career, she is a grown-up in every sense of the word.  I had always wondered what it would be like to be peers with my sister, and had looked forward to this season of life with her.  It seemed like it would take forever until the day that we were both mothers with a lot in common, but that day is here...and it makes me happy.

Happy birthday sis!  This year is a milestone, you are just as close to 30 as you are 20.  wink, wink.  I sure do Love You!  And am so very proud of all that you have accomplished, both emotionally and physically. 

A while back, I asked Nichole to share her weight loss success story.  She lost those extra pounds the right way, through a lifestyle change of eating right and exercise.  No gimmicks or fads, but a lot of hard work and determination, with a positive support system.  I decided to wait until her birthday to post.  A little gift from me to make her day extra special.  My desire is that her story may reach someone out there in this blogging world, and motivate us all to make a change. 

Here is her story, in her own words:

When I was asked to tell my success story by my sister, I thought, “Have I really lost that much weight? Do I really look that good?” And then I remembered, Suzette is a nutritionist and has always been in fabulous shape, so when she says I look good, I know I look good! (haha) So here it goes I guess. 

Since I was a child, I have always had those cheeks everyone seemed to want to kiss or grab, and even though I didn’t mind the attention, I hated that kind of attention. I put pressure on myself and was never mistreated or made fun of for my curves by my peers or family, but it was my own self destruction about my weight.

This is my mom and I when I was in Elementary. Look at those cheeks:

I have always been an “athletic” type, so-to-say, playing volleyball and basketball as a young teen, and then competitive cheer leading and dancing as a teen into a young adult. With that, I was extremely active 7 days a week for majority of my growing up years and ate what I wanted when I pleased (mostly junk food and candy because of my sweet tooth) while working out constantly because of all my extracurricular activities and didn’t really have a care in the world when it came to being healthy. I got the active part, but never really understood the living healthy part.

Not only did I have the every day struggle of being a young girl in such a pressured society, but I had my own insecurities to consume my thoughts and distract me from just being a young, beautiful, carefree girl. With life came many obstacles even at such a young age, and at the age of 15, I underwent trauma that no young girl should have to go through. With that trauma, came many more insecurities, and even with support and love of family and friends, I still struggled to find my own self confidence. I ended up battling with a life changing illness of anorexia.

My struggle with anorexia went on for 2 years, off and on, and in that time, I managed to keep myself on a strict diet of water, water, water, lots of working out, and occasional binging of fast food and candy bars at lunchtime in front of my friends. At my worst, I weighed 101 pounds. Yes, I know you are all thinking how sad this story has turned into, but there really is a wonderful moral to all of this.

With my illness, came a crazy rollercoaster of emotions, change, and hurt, yet somehow with all of that, I found strength in myself and in living the right way, which is HEALTHY. Even though my metabolism has really never been the same and I have been battling with my crazy thoughts ever since, I was determined to work hard, look inside myself, and make the most of life. I needed to make a serious change for the better and even though it took me this long, 7 years, I feel that it is BETTER LATE THAN NEVER!

It is definitely easier said than done, as we all know, but once I set my mind to it and had unconditional support and back bone of my incredible husband and insanely sweet little baby boy, I felt like I could conquer anything. I had to sincerely look deep inside myself to find the true me and who I wanted to be, which is a healthy, fit, happy, self motivated, funny woman. Then it was only time that would help heal my wounds to become the new me.

This is me and my siblings where I weighed a whopping 170 lbs at 5’5”:


THis is me pre-pregnancy weighing 166 pounds.

I delivered my beautiful baby boy, Devin, last February 23nd 2012. Prior to my pregnancy, I gained 35 pounds since high school, and with the help of Weight Watchers, I then lost 20 of it. With the stress of trying to get pregnant and running into complications, I gained the weight I had lost back very easily. I am not making excuses, it is just what happened.  Then to top it off, amidst the HUGE miracle and tremendous blessing of becoming pregnant, I then had to go on bed rest at 20 weeks! Life sure wasn’t going to give me a break!

I obviously had to sit on my butt A LOT and gained 50 pounds with my pregnancy. At the end of my term at 34 weeks, I weighed 215 lbs!! No one believes me, but I promise when you look at this picture, you will believe! (haha) The birth of my son was incredible and SO WORTH IT, but I’m not going to lie when I say, I WAS READY TO GET ACTIVE! My husband and Dr had to literally force me to stay down for the 6 weeks post-baby because I was so determined to get my butt in gear finally. As soon as I was given the OK, I kicked it in gear and kept moving. With being a new mother, it was easier to keep moving, but what was a difficult change was the healthy eating.

This was me at my worst at 215 lbs the day I delivered Devin:

And another horrible angle, but any angle was bad at this point (haha):

Most moms choose to breastfeed to help get some weight off, but I didn’t get that choice, so I knew I had to push even harder to get the initial baby weight off. So I started small and diligent and worked my way to longer and harder workouts. I am sure if you are a mother, it is easy to relate to trying to find the time to get in a daily workout, so we make excuses, I have been there! But what I had to do was plan, plan, plan! A great plan is key to success, and I am sure my sister will agree.

I sat down, discussed with my husband, and planned a time 2 days each weeknight after work to take an hour for myself and use Jillian Michael's workout DVDs and Yoga DVDs. We wrote it down to solidify my plan, and I started small. Even though it was only 2 days a week, it was something and it was doable. When we plan and set goals too high, in my own experience, we don’t accomplish what goals we set. So start somewhere small with your workouts and don’t overdue it. I found success more in the small things for a longer period of time then big tasks that become too overwhelming.

Jillian Michael's ended up being my best friend. She was there in the toughest of times and the best of times. For the next 3 months, she was my greatest advocate besides my family. For 3 months straight, I accomplished my goal of 2 workouts a week, no candy or chocolate , no soda, and no eating after 8 pm. It was a tall order and some days were tougher than others, but I did it and that was an instant boost to my confidence in the weight loss process. Just that little boost in moral made things all the more conceivable.

After 3 months, I weighed 180 lbs and lost 40 of the 50 pounds I gained:

Eating healthy was my biggest challenge by far. Working out is always a task, but choosing the right things to eat is a different ballpark for me. I made the ultimate decision of no candy and no soda because of my love of sweets, but also because I wanted to see if I really needed those treats to satisfy my craving. Turns out, I don’t!  I also was told long ago by my sister that eating after 8 pm is not a wise idea. I decided to put that to the test as well and see if it really makes that much of a difference. I had my doubts at the beginning, as it was EXTREMELY tough to squeeze in dinner before 8 with a family and being a working mom, but I did it and I saw big results. Turns out she was right all along!

As winter came to a close, and summer came quickly, I stepped up my workouts to 3 times a week and at least one of the workouts running outdoors. I have never enjoyed running, but I have also never really been in great shape to run. After one workout with my husband running outdoors, I was hooked. With the great weather, and my baby boy loving his stroller, to get an even better workout, I would push the stroller while running. It sure looks easy, but it is anything but! It is such a great workout for all parts of the body, even the mind. I found myself to think clearer and focus on the end goal of being a M.I.L.F. (haha) It also helped by making it a family activity every week, which eventually led us to run outside twice a week. Running was KEY to my success and finding peace in running was an even greater success.

With the warm weather and beautiful sunshine, I spent majority of my time outdoors last summer. We had a wonderful neighborhood with great friends which made it all the better to stay active. With bikini season around the corner, I found a new self-confidence I had never had. So I set a goal that if I got below my pre-pregnancy weight, I could flaunt it in a new bikini. So sure enough, with more hard work, running, eating whole grains, drinking 48 oz of water a day, and plenty of fruits and vegetables at every meal and snack, within another 3 months, I had lost all my pre-baby weight and then some. I weighed 160 lbs and proud of it!

Look at that tiny waist:

After 6 straight months of losing the weight, eating fruits, grains, veggies, oatmeal, skim milk, and lean meats, I treated myself to soda, fries, and a burger. I’ll admit, it tasted SO greasy and the soda was way too sweet for my taste buds. I never thought I would see the day, but I did and it felt so good. Even though I had met my goal of loosing all the baby weight, I found myself wanting to challenge myself even more.

Soon enough, I started a challenge called “Feeling Great in 8” with my co-workers since I knew that the task of losing 30 more pounds would be an even greater challenge, so I would need all the more support. It was a great start to motivate me and stay on the path to being at my ultimate weight goal of 130 pounds.

The challenge included very strict rules of no eating after 8 pm, drinking 64 oz of water per day, being active for anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes per day, eating at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day, at least 10 “good foods” each day, (whole wheat, skim milk, white cheese, tuna, chicken, fruits & veggies, spinach, almonds, etc.) at least 15 minutes of personal time each day, and journal writing every day. It went by a point system as well and for every “bad food” eaten, you would deduct 2 points per food (not serving.) I also made sure to weigh in only once a week on Saturday mornings. It sounds like a challenge doesn’t it? (haha)

It was one of the toughest regimens I have ever followed for 8 straight weeks! It was so incredible to have such great support and having each other would help us to push one another. I highly recommend following strict rules while teaming up with a friend. I had success and you can too! At the end of the 8 week challenge, I lost another 15 pounds of my 30 lb goal, weighing in at 145 pounds. That was the smallest I had weighed in 6 years and the best part is how I felt, HEALTHY and STRONG.

After all was said and done, a year sped by and before I knew it, I had accomplished an incredible amount. I had not only given life to a son, I had given life to myself. Loosing weight was more than just physical, it was emotional. At the end of a crazy year, with a wedding, a sudden move, husband getting laid off, drastic health scares, and my son’s 1st birthday, I am currently healthy, happy, fit, and emotionally stronger than ever, weighing in at 135 pounds. Life is always a working progress, so BRING IT ON I say.

My sister was beautiful before, her curves are to die for.  But now she is seriously a force to be reckoned with...ONE HOT MAMA!!!

1 comment:

Summer said...

So happy for your sister, Suzette. She looks amazing! Weight loss is something to be proud of and I agree with Nicole that it makes you a stronger person in lots of ways. So happy for her new and improved sense of self. :)