We get so many inspiring emails from readers, and this week we’re finally sharing them with you! Read on for Stephanie Betts’ inspiring success story. And feel free to share yours!
Success doesn’t come on the scale, from my clothes fitting or from feeling great after working out. My success comes from an inner sense of calm. It’s not a panicked, concentrated or intense feeling that I have any more about weight-loss, but a wonderful life balance.
It sounds like you might be looking for drastic stories of gain, loss and people getting their lives back. But I feel like it’s the non-drastic stories that never get told.
I feel like I’ve struggled with weight my entire life. In reality, I’ve been steadily 10 pounds overweight, but in my mind it was more than that. Two years ago, I inched up to 20 pounds overweight and could not deal with it. (I’m short at 5’1″, so 10 pounds makes a big difference in how I look.) I drew a line in the sand for myself. I could NOT let myself get any bigger, or I would feel worse than I did at that moment. I could see my face was larger at my jaw line, my fat pants felt tight, and I HATED looking at pictures of myself. That was it.
Doing no research at all on steps I should take, I pledged to work out EVERY DAY for a month. After three weeks, my endurance had dramatically improved, but I had not lost a single pound. I was devastated and ended up doing a kilometer of squats around a track to prove to myself that my body had changed somehow; that all the work had not been for nothing. I don’t know how I didn’t injure myself.
After a mourning period of the failed attempt at the exercise equivalent of a crash diet, I tried to get back on the horse. Inspired by some weight-loss TV shows (in Canada, we have shows called X-Weighted and The Last 10 Pounds Bootcampthat really motivated me), I actually started looking at what I ate. I did not see myself as someone who would ever want to, or be able to, eat healthy. I even made jokes about how I was the “carb queen.” But this time, I had hit a wall, where my brain would not accept any more weight gain. I was ready to do what needed to be done. Calorie counting was now on the menu.
I felt great. When I lost the first 10 pounds, I bought myself a pedicure. This loss, however, is not my success. My brain was obsessed with what I was eating, what I was doing at the gym, and it’s all I could think about. It was all I wanted to talk about with people! This was not balanced, and even though I was doing all of the “right” things, it was not sustainable. My goal was to take off 20, but somewhere around 15, I lost my motivation. As happens after a period into a weight-loss journey, I stopped caring as much. I stopped counting calories, and my knee hurt, so I couldn’t exercise as much.
So I gained back a couple of pounds and settled in about 2 pounds less than the weight I had always maintained—about 8 pounds over my BMI “healthy” zone. So close, yet seemingly so far away.
But this post is about success, right? Right! Because I feel successful! I eat delicious, healthy food! My lifestyle is more active and I have fitness goals for the future! I’ve turned into a great and healthy cook! I don’t want to look at the scale; I want to live my life. The life I see for myself is the one I am now living—how much more successful can you get than that? My brain isn’t weight-loss crazy, and I can think of things to talk about with people other than nutrition, exercise and weight-loss. It feels balanced. Pounds will come off eventually, but it’s not about how much I weigh or what size I wear. The sort of life I want for myself is the one I’m finally living.
It may not sound amazing, but this is the story of my journey, of which I am very proud of my success. —Stephanie Betts
Sometimes the best success stories aren’t the ones of drastic losses—they’re about living healthy! This success story is like music to our ears. Thanks for sharing! —Erin