What motivates you more than anything? What really gets you in the mood to eat right and exercise? Well, the Sisterhood has come to the conclusion that Success Stories are probably one of the best motivators EVAH. Who doesn’t want to hear someone’s story? Their tale from beginning until now. How they conquered their weight, their eating, their exercise aversion? How they became a master Shrinker? You do! Of course you do!
So we’ve decided to tap some of our successful Shrinkers and pelt them with endless questions and picture requests. These Sisters are not done with their weight loss journeies, but they’ve come far enough to know that they’ll make it!
This week we bring you April from My Life at Thirty. April is amazing!! Her story is so similar to mine, it seems like we’ve lived parallel Shrinking lives! We’re about the same age, started out around the same weight, and had a similar weight loss journey. I just don’t have any parrots. Other than that, you seriously couldn’t tell us apart 🙂 To think it all started when we met on Twitter and I twisted her arm until she joined us!
So here is my interview with April. Grab a tall, cold glass of water and a healthy snack as you get to know one of your fellow Sisters.
Height: 5’3″ Starting Weight: 206 lbs Current Weight: 151 lbs
Pounds Lost: 55 lbs (21 to go!)
April, at her heaviest, in July of 2007
How long have you been overweight and what made you decide to take action?
My weight has fluctuated most of my adult life. I’ve tried Slim Fast, Atkins (which just left me feeling angry. I need carbs), and even let myself be a sucker and tried a “magic pill”. Yeah, that worked. Every time I’d come off of one of those diets, I’d of course gain it all back plus more. Every time I’d go up a size, I’d think, oh, I can lose this anytime I want. Then one day, I said screw it, and just didn’t care any more. I think my “wake-up” call was when my aunt (who is also overweight) called me fat at a family reunion. In front of the whole family.
Do you follow a specific program or are there certain websites that you love?
I call myself a student of Jillian Michaels (one of the trainers from the Biggest Loser). I’m currently reading one of her books, I’ve listened to her weekly radio show for over a year now, and I would pay good money to have her scream at me for an hour while I’m working out. So I’m a calorie counter. I’m going to be honest, at first it sucks. Journaling EVERYTHING, looking up calories on EVERYTHING, just to make sure I didn’t go over the calorie limit I set for myself. (I set my calorie limit based on my Basal Metabolic Rate, or BMR. I had to find out how many calories I was burning each day in order to create a deficit.) But now, I find that I just know how many calories foods have in them and can keep a “mental track” of how much I eat. Also, for a year now, I eat as much organic and all natural foods as possible and as little processed foods as possible. This is just a personal choice for me. You can certainly eat healthy and count calories without eating organically.
How soon did you begin adding exercise?
Immediately. In fact, I started exercising before I even thought about changing my diet. I was in denial that my diet was really crappy. I always thought, as long as I exercise, I can eat what I want, right?? Wrong.
April in March of 2008, 40 pounds lighter (holding her brand new nephew!)
Describe your workout plan. I’m a work out at home kind of girl, so I work out to DVDs. I like the gym, but I find that this works better for my schedule, and as long as I do my work out before I sit down when I get home, I’m good. If I sit, I’m done. I’ve tried the Biggest Loser, P90X, Turbo Jam, Get Ripped DVDs. I’ve also done everything from cardio to yoga. (hate yoga, by the way. To all of you yoga lovers, I think that’s great, but it’s just not something I can do a ton of.) I also like to mix it up with the DVDS and am always trying new ones. This keeps me from getting bored. Right now, I work out 4 to 5 times a week. For cardio, I’ve been doing Turbo Jam’s Cardio Party 3 times a week and for strength training I do either the Biggest Loser’s Power Sculpt or one of the Get
Ripped work outs 1 or 2 times a week. I have been known to exercise 6 times a week. Yes, it’s a little crazy, and I can’t do that all the time. I also bowl in a league once a week. (I used to tell people “yes I bowl; no I’m not good” but I just placed 3rd out of 78 bowlers in a tournament, so I don’t know how that phrase applies anymore. So, let’s say I’m improving my average.) Bowling actually burns more calories than you’d think. :o)
What is a typical meal plan for your day?
Boring. I’m single, so simple and easy is how I roll. I eat 3 meals and 1 snack a day. A light breakfast works best for me. Nature’s Valley granola bars are my favorite. A typical lunch is a turkey and cheese sandwich and raw carrots and/or snow peas. (Raw veggies are free foods!) Sometimes I’ll add a serving of baked chips. My snack is usually a cereal bar or protein bar. For dinner I try to mix it up. I eat a lot of grilled chicken. I try to have fish once a week. (I’m not a huge fan of fish, but it’s really good for you, so I can manage it if I smother it in salsa.) Once a month I’ll have red meat. I’ll either make a huge salad or brown rice with some sort of green veggie.
What food can you not live without?
I think I would die a slow and painful death if I had to live without Mexican food. I’m not kidding. I HAVE to have it once a month at least. And beer. I don’t drink a ton of it except on special occasions, but I like trying different kinds of beers and sometimes the darker the better. Oh, and coffee. I LOVE me some coffee. :o)
April in October 2008, 50 pounds lighter
Do you ever splurge?
Good lord, yes. If we deny ourselves things that we love, then we are setting ourselves up for failure. The thing to remember is that you can have what you love, but make it your treat instead of the norm. I’ve also learned how to take my favorite recipes and make them healthier. You can cut calories in so many ways. And there are just going to be days when I just blow the day completely off and just go nuts. Every now and then, that’s just going to happen. ;o)
What was the hardest thing to give up?
I haven’t really given up anything. I hate when people ask how my diet is going. I don’t think of my diet as something that I’m on, rather it’s how I eat. I choose to have a healthy diet. Also, I’ve learned that if I’m craving something, I might as well give it to myself because if I don’t then the craving is just going to get worse. I’ve figured out, though, how to keep from going too insane. I give myself one “bad” meal a week. Anything I want. As long as I know that I have that one meal, I’m able to have better control over what I eat the rest of the week.
Does your entire family eat healthier?
I’m single and live alone, but I do have dinner with my family once a week. My mom and I try out at least one healthy recipe a week. Sometimes the rest of the family goes for it, sometimes they don’t. But honestly, they’ve never had big weight issues. I mean, they all go through phases of gaining 10 lbs here or there, but they’ve always been able to take it off quickly. Makes me sick.
I love chips and salsa. My favorite chips are the ones made by Guiltless Gourmet. (only 120 calories for 18 chips!)
Are we talking like exercise activity or just in general? If we’re talking exercise, I have to say I LOVE plyometrics, or jump training. I know I’m crazy, but it’s a killer work out. I also like playing sports. In general, my favorite thing to do is to spend time with my 11 month old nephew. I’ve made it my life’s mission to spoil him rotten and I think I’m doing a great job. :o) And I love hanging out with my friends. I cherish the time we get to spend together. I’m also a nerd and love video games.
How do you maintain your weightloss?
It’s just my lifestyle now. I had to completely change my way of eating, exercising, and thinking. I don’t love eating healthy or working out, but I love the way it makes my body feel. I love being four sizes smaller than I was a little over a year ago. So, that’s why I do it.
Any goals for the future?
Win the lottery. :o) I like taking things day by day, especially when it comes to living healthier. But my goal is to lose the last 21 lbs. Losing 25 lbs and under is a whole different ball game than losing 50 or more and I’m having to re-figure how many calories I need, what types of exercises to do. Your body wants to hang on to those last stubborn pounds. That’s its instinct to do that, so it’s almost like starting over again.
What is your favorite thing about your “new” body?
This question kind of cracks me up. Not because of the question, but because of my immediate answer. To this day, I will still look in the mirror and think, wow, that is not pretty. I’m a chick, and that’s just how us chicks think. But then I look again and I see muscles! Real muscles! I FELT these muscles when I started all of this but I couldn’t see them. Now I’m starting to see them and it’s great! Also, I LOVE getting compliments about how much I’ve lost. When I got down 20 lbs or so, I still wasn’t getting compliments and I thought, what the heck is wrong with you people? Can’t you see I’m losing weight? Now, I get at least one compliment a week and I just love it!
Anything else you would like to share with the Shrinking Jeans readers?
Losing weight can be frustrating, annoying, tedious, and just a pain in the ass sometimes. BUT it can be done! I’m proof of that. I can be incredibly lazy, so if I can do it, YOU can do it! I gained that weight slowly, so taking it off isn’t going to happen overnight. I like to think of it as a marathon. There are going to be times when we fall off pace. Things are going to happen in our lives and this is just going to happen. Sure we’re going to be disappointed for “getting out of the habit”, and that’s fine, but we can’t linger in that disappointment. We have to get to a point where we know how we fell off pace, we let ourselves be okay with it, and then we try our hardest to get back on pace. If you do that, then you’ll realize how much better you feel.
April today!! Doesn’t she look amazing!?
So there you have it! I was right, wasn’t I? She’s amazing and she’s traveled a long road to get where she is today.
Keep up the hard work, April! I’m certain you’ll drop those last 21 pounds faster than you think. Thank you so much for sharing your story with me, and thank you for being part of the Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans!
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Thirty-nine year-old wife and mom to BJ (11) and Mia (7). I’m the editor at the Sisterhood, and I really love to run (really), read, cook amazing things, and photography is my fledging passion. My motivation is motivating other people to realize they can do this whole weight-loss and exercise thing. I’m living proof!