From That’s Fit…
Name: Janet M. Samp
Height: 5 feet, 1 inch
Before Weight: 337 pounds
How I Gained It: All my life I struggled with my weight — I have lived with being the butt of the fat jokes. I would lose weight and even keep it off for a while, then I would gain it all back, as well as additional pounds. I’m pretty sure I have tried every diet that has ever been invented.
Breaking Point: My breaking point came when I had a very big wake-up call. My mother passed away at the age of 62, and I realized that I didn’t want to follow in her footsteps. I wanted to live and be free of the burden of carrying all that weight around. I wanted to be healthy. I would do it for the right reasons.
How I Lost It: I started by developing a diet of healthy foods I would allow myself to eat. I bought a treadmill, which I planned on actually using. I began with the commitment that I would be honest with myself about the food I ate and promised myself to give exercise a try. I also journaled each step I took and each mouth of food that I ate.
The first time I walked on the treadmill, I could walk for only five minutes. It might not seem like much, but for me, it was a very proud five minutes. Every day I added a few minutes. It was hard but so very rewarding to know I was doing something that I had never thought I would be able to do. It wasn’t long before I was walking three miles a day. I put 3,000 miles on my treadmill over the course of two years before it gave out on me. I’ve never been so excited about buying a new piece of furniture as I was to buy my next treadmill! I even bought a sleeker, newer model.
By the time the treadmill had given out, I had lost 100 pounds. Life was good, and I felt great. I felt skinny at 235 pounds — I wasn’t even concerned about losing any more weight. For the first time, I felt that I could eat what I wanted as long as I was reasonable with portion size. By not denying myself anything, I wasn’t feeling deprived, and I didn’t feel like I had to eat all of the good stuff in one sitting. I did eliminate fried foods and fast food from my life, however. They just don’t contribute anything to my healthy lifestyle.
I devoted the next two years to maintaining and exercising more, but then came a true test of my willpower. My husband and I decided to sell our home and build a new one. It took one whole long and stressful year and by the time we had moved into our new home I was fighting to keep my weight off. It also made me realize that I shouldn’t stop at 235 pounds — I wanted to take even more off my small frame.
I was feeling panicked and desperate, and I decided that only one drastic step could help: I was going to have weight loss surgery. I made an appointment with my doctor for a physical and to discuss my options with him. He suggested that I try the Medifast diet before resorting to surgery. I was up for it — after all, I had only weight to lose. He said he would monitor me closely and offer all the support I needed. My intention was to try the diet for a month or so and see what happened; but that month turned into 12, and I lost another 120 pounds. That was one of the happiest years of my life. The feeling of losing weight I never expected to lose was very overwhelming to me.
But the outside was changing so rapidly that my inside feelings weren’t able to keep up — I still felt like the fat person everyone would make rude comments about. In fact, I still have to remind myself that when someone looks at me that it isn’t because I’m the fattest person in the room.
After losing 120 pounds, I was down to 115 pounds. I never even dreamed it was possible to weigh so little. However, it wasn’t a weight I could maintain. I gained 20 pounds quickly after I started to eat normal food again. But that was OK with me; my goal was never to be skinny, as it was all about being healthy right from the beginning.
Because health was my primary focus, the first thing I did when I was off the diet was hire a personal trainer. He has pushed me, encouraged me and listened to all my complaints, and it’s worked. I’m happy to say I have never been physically stronger than I am at this moment in my life. I’m also working on eating only a clean, healthy diet.
Through all my weight loss, the one thing I’ve discovered is that you may be what you eat, but you are also what you think. If I felt like a failure, I was going to fail. But now, when I start having negative thoughts, I remind myself that even when I slip up a little, I am a success, and I will always be a success story.
After Weight: 135 pounds
Janet continues to maintain her weight loss, and encouragement from her personal trainer always helps.