When Lysa headed to a family reunion over the holidays, she figured her newly-svelte appearance would elicit some surprise and delight from all those she hadn’t seen in several months. But she didn’t anticipate having to walk by multiple times before her own mother recognized her. Then again, even her biggest cheerleaders were stunned by the nearly 50-pound weight loss – accomplished over the course of six months.
“I feel so much better physically and mentally,” said Lysa. “I’m sleeping better, I’m more productive at work, my skin is clear and I feel great.”
Lysa’s weight loss journey began in the spring. Tired of shopping at plus-size stores and concerned about her health, she began attending a local “fitness boot camp” headed by ex-military personnel and certified personal trainers.
“My family has a history of high blood pressure and high cholesterol. My father has had over four heart attacks and I have lost relatives to heart disease and diabetes. My weight had been consistently going in an upward direction and I felt tired all the time. I just didn’t want that anymore.”
In addition to pushups, lunges and running, Lysa began counting calories and eliminating high-fat, sugary treats. She cut out fried foods, pork and beef and crossed sweets off the menu. Now, instead of eating three big meals each day, she eats four to five smaller ones. And rather than grabbing Chinese food with friends on her lunch break, or picking up takeout on the way home from the office, she makes her own healthy meals for the week.
“I’ll buy a pound of ground turkey, divide it into patties and eat turkey burgers for the week. I’m cooking and using the George Foreman Grill and learning how much salt and pepper and lemon juice to add to foods. I’ve definitely moved into a healthy, low-calorie diet, especially considering my original meal plan consisted of fast food and high-fat snacks!”
On a typical day, Lysa has a banana and oatmeal in the morning, followed by a breadless turkey burger for lunch. And she works in healthy snacks several times per day. Around dinner, she might have tuna fish and a grapefruit. She tries not to eat after 6 p.m., drinks five or six bottles of water a day and fits in about an hour of cardio four to five days a week. At the same time, she still allows herself the occasional splurges, going to restaurants with friends and enjoying french fries or plates of pasta every few weeks.
Thanks to this combination of strenuous exercise and low-calorie foods, and a “don’t rush to lose lots of weight at once” approach, Lysa has lost nearly 50 pounds in just six months. She was even the “biggest loser” of the year in the boot camp program offered by her local fitness center. Pretty amazing for a yo-yo dieter who had previously tried every trick in the book to lose weight, including Atkins, the lemonade diet and the cabbage soup diet!
Lysa said the Internet has been a key to her weight loss efforts. She religiously maintains an online food diary and chats with an online support group dedicated to low-calorie eating and exercise that includes several of her former boot camp colleagues.
“The food journal has helped because I finally saw what I was really eating. I had to write down what I ate and how often I ate. I realized I was eating my meals too close together.”
Although she no longer attends boot camp at the gym, Lysa continues to exercise regularly and plans to shed another 10 to 15 pounds from her nearly six-foot frame. On top of hitting her target weight, Lysa is also determined to run in the annual 10K event held in her hometown.
“When I first started boot camp, it took me 46 minutes to run two miles. On my last day, it took me 26 minutes. This really has been a lifestyle change for me.”