Shelley Napier did it, and so can you! Okay, well, maybe not. You might need to lose a little more or a little less to reach your happy weight. Details aside, read this story for inspiration! You CAN reach your goals!
(From Shelley Napier)
Hi! My name is Shelley, I am a hairstylist from Wadsworth, Ohio and I have struggled with weight my whole life. Although I was chubby as a child, and heavy as a teenager, it wasn’t until my twenties when I gained most of my weight. At my heaviest I weighed 326 pounds. Some days I felt so self-conscious that it was hard for me to even get out of bed. Just trying to find clothes and getting dressed to go out was a challenge. I always felt like people were judging me based on my weight and couldn’t see past it to see who I was inside. I was so unhappy most of the time, which I think also made me develop a bad attitude. I used food to cope and whenever I felt happy, sad, bored or lonely, I would turn to food.
Before I changed my eating habits I would eat whatever, whenever. My weaknesses were fast food and sweets. A typical day for me would be to skip breakfast (or eat a breakfast pastry), indulge in a fast food meal for lunch, and then dinner would be pizza or Chinese takeout. And when I would order fast food, it had to be with everything. If I ordered a burger, I would put bacon and heavy sauces on top. I loved heavy sauces. And I would add a super-sized fries and soda – sometimes with chicken nuggets and a frostie. I would snack on chocolate bars at night.
The turning point for me came when I was thirty-one. My twenties had flown by, and I felt that I had wasted so much of my life heavy and unhappy and I did not want to spend the rest of my life being overweight. I work in a salon, so it is very important for me to look and feel good about myself.
I had tried losing weight in the past – one time I even lost seventy-five pounds. However, it only took six months for me to put the weight back on, and it made me feel miserable. I felt worse than I had felt before I had ever lost a pound.
Then, I decided to try Slim-Fast and to start walking. I lost the first 150 pounds using the Slim-Fast plan. I stayed on it for a year and a half. I love sweets, and I liked the way it tasted, so I didn’t get tired of it. I would usually have a shake for breakfast, a bar for lunch, and then a healthy, portion-controlled dinner of fish, chicken or pasta with lots of veggies. I would add a couple of healthy snacks during the day such as boiled eggs, carrots or a couple of crackers. My nighttime snack was usually a low-calorie popsicle or something similar.
After losing 150 pounds, I switched to back to regular food and lost another fifty pounds. Today, my diet consists of oatmeal and fruit for breakfast, a salad for lunch and chicken or fish and veggies for dinner. I always snack in between on fruit and vegetables. The most important thing for me is portion control. I still enjoy food – and even splurge sometimes – but everything in moderation. When I go out for dinner, I will split dessert. I just try to make smarter choices.
When I first started with my exercise program, I started with about ten to fifteen minutes a day and kept adding minutes until I worked my way up to thirty minutes. At one point I was working out about forty or forty-five minutes, but that was hard for my to stick to, so I brought it back down to thirty. It wasn’t until I lost 100 pounds that I started running. I started slowly, and eventually I was running the full thirty minutes!
I was running thirty minutes, seven days a week for about a year, when an injury forced me to cut my workout down. Now, I have made peace with walking thirty minutes five days a week. When I first started losing weight, I was also doing weight training, but currently I do not do any weight training.
My advice is that it’s not about dieting – but rather about making permanent changes in your life. Find a program that fits your lifestyle and stick with it long enough to see some results. Plan meals in advance and always be prepared. This has been a long, difficult journey, but after losing 206 pounds, I know that it was definitely worth all of the hard work. Getting started was the hardest part. If you can just get started and believe in yourself, you can do it. Some days you might want to just pull your hair out and eat a whole bag of cookies, but it’s just not worth it. If I can do it, you can do it too.