I am so proud, happy, and excited for you for taking the step in joining our office’s Biggest Loser (TBL) competition. This could be a great first step in changing your life for the better, permanently. I know how all of you feel because I was where you are. Many of you remember me during my heavier years. As a child welfare professional, I, like all of you, know what it is like to prioritize my paperwork, clients, and my own children before taking care of myself. I used to have every excuse in the book to eat unhealthy foods and avoid exercise. The secondary trauma associated with our work can easily allow us to use food as a way to cope with the horrible events we witness day in and day out.
As a 5’5”’ woman who used to weigh somewhere between 230 and 240 pounds, I remember what it was like to feel winded after walking from my car to the elevator, to hear people ask me if I was expecting a baby (when I was not), and one horrible occasion when the back seam of my dress ripped while I was in court. For a long time, I never wore jeans to work because I was too embarrassed to walk into a plus-size store. My wardrobe mainly consisted of leggings underneath dresses or sweatpants.
October, 2000 (My surprise bridal shower)
November, 2006 (Me and my son – 4 months old)
In 2008, I joined the Biggest Loser competition in my workplace. My participation in this competition coincided with the early months of my current weight loss journey. At that time, while the money would have been very nice, I was more focused on winning my battle with obesity. I cared more about getting healthy and staying healthy. I really had to be honest with myself that the millions of “diets” I tried did not work.
In my case, it took me 8 years to lose the weight (noting I hit 2 plateaus that lasted for 2 years each). Before I took action, I decided to put on my social work hat and make a plan. The first thing I did was think about everything I was doing during times in my life when my body was in a healthier place. Next, I made a list of all of the habit changes I could see myself doing forever. I came up with the following list:
- Cooking my food in the healthiest way possible
- Bringing all of my meals and snacks with me to work
- Drinking enough water each day
- Measuring my portions
- Eating out only on special occasions while being conscious of my menu choices
- Getting up early in the morning to work out (and/or walking during my breaks at work)
- Buying a treadmill to supplement my workout DVD collection
- Making sure I get enough sleep
- Trying to be as perfect as possible with nutrition during the work week with occasional treats on the weekends and vacations
Finally, I put the above plan into action. Over the years, my habits became a part of me. Since 2008, I lost somewhere between 90 and 100 pounds. I knew before I started this journey, I would need to continue with the healthy eating and regular exercising even after I reached my goal weight. I also noticed many physically fit people always watched what they ate and exercised regularly for their health. In the present day, I know if I slip back into old habits, my health will be greatly compromised and the weight will pile back on. To be honest, I have no wish to live that way again as I love the active mom I have become!
Very recently, there were some articles, which revealed a painful truth that the contestants from the Biggest Loser television show gained all of their weight back. After they got home from the show, their metabolisms slowed down to the point where they had to practically starve (800 calories per day!) to prevent weight gain. This article stressed the importance of approaching weight loss in a different way. The contestants from TBL show lost huge amounts of weight very quickly. My weight came off very slowly over 8 years (including a pregnancy during that time period). The contestants on the show had an extremely intensive workout regimen for several hours per day. I exercise in the early morning for 30 minutes 3-5 days per week, plus my walking breaks at work which average between 2 to 3 miles each day. In addition, I love finding fun ways to exercise with my family.
2016 (Me and my daughter – 6 years old)
I want all of you to think hard about your goals as you embark on this competition. If your goal is to win the money by losing as much weight as you can in a short time period, you would be better off working overtime for the extra coin. If you commit yourself to the process for the rest of your lives, you will have no choice but reach and conquer your goals. When I played TBL at work in 2008, a very respected coworker of mine was victorious in the competition. However, I feel as if I won the grand prize.
Many of my earlier blogs share tips on exercise, food preparation, and ways to keep this lifestyle going. I am here to answer any questions and to be of support to you. Congratulations for embarking on this journey. It will be completely life changing in more ways than you can imagine! You will be so excited when you start seeing your mind and body change over time!
I am very excited for all of you and will be here right beside you cheering you on!