Down 143 Pounds, Ann Shares Her Story*

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Editor's Note: EMMABE1 has lost 143 pounds and counting with SparkPeople. Ann, who is from Australia, recently answered ~INDYGIRL's questions via email.
~INDYGIRL: What was your a-ha moment when you decided to finally lose the weight?
EMMABE1: As far as one single a-ha moment – I really didn’t have one! It sort of snuck up on me.  There was a huge media blitz on "healthy living" and this maybe had some effect. I was also having problems with osteoarthritis in my knees and ankles, so my doctor was talking "knee replacement."  The risks were too high at that weight; however I knew that one day the time would come.  With weight loss, healthy eating and exercise, I have managed to stop all pain in my knees and at this time, replacement is definitely "off" indefinitely!

~INDYGIRL: How much weight have you lost?
EMMABE1: 65 kg (143 lb approx.) I had lost 35 kg (77 lb approx.) in the 7 yrs before joining SparkPeople, but was just "fiddling about" reducing the amount of food and calories I was eating, but not changing my lifestyle.  Consequently I was still wearing the same size clothes despite the weight loss, and because of this I was totally fed up with what I viewed as yet another failed attempt. Then in 2009, I was pointed towards SparkPeople.  In the last 2 1/2 yrs I have lost 30kg (66 lb approx.) but also I have lost a total of 70" off my body from changing my lifestyle.

~INDYGIRL: What made this time different in your mind?
EMMABE1: At first it wasn’t! I was very skeptical that this would work after a lifetime of failed attempts.  The mental change was gradual. At first I hated disturbing my day by getting up and moving, staggering through one exercise in pain, but then the inches started falling off, and as they did the support from the site members increased.  Gradually, "I can’t" became "maybe," then "I will."

~INDYGIRL: What did you do differently this time?

Exercise has never figured in any of the many weight loss programs I have attempted before; they all worked on lowering calories and starving.
Track my foods
Planning in advance and tracking to ensure that the macronutrients and calories are balanced works well for me.  

Increase the amount of vegetables we eat, particularly green leafy veggies and low carbohydrate vegetables.
Portion Control
At the start I was amazed by how little a portion was, having gotten used to large meals. These days I use small plate for meals and find the amount I eat is plenty to keep me full.

~INDYGIRL: How did SparkPeople help?
EMMABE1: The myriad of articles, weight loss tools, information and support available and freely given has made it easy.

~INDYGIRL: Were there any tools that were especially helpful?
EMMABE1: The Nutrition Tracker – I always plan meals for the next day on the day before, though I plan our main meals up to a month ahead. By planning in advance, I can save a lot of money and ensure they are balanced within my calorie allowance – after all, it’s too late after you have eaten the food and then discover you are over calories or unbalanced!

~INDYGIRL: What foods are your go to foods now?
Water – if I am hungry or late preparing a meal, I will have a glass of water. That often takes me to the next planned meal or gives me time to prepare food.
Canned tuna – always in the pantry – use for salads, and a great tasting and very quick Tuna Curry.
Healthy muffins are often in the freezer – my favorite ones – Savory Muffins.

~INDYGIRL: What exercises are your favorites?
EMMABE1: Zumba – I love the rhythm, and because I can do it! I do it at Curves, but also have a DVD set I use at home. I use Chair Exercises often too.  I do Chair Yoga 3 or so times a week, and often get up early and do a Chair Dance DVD before I start the day. I go to Curves 3 times a week now, but for 18 months I only did Chair Exercises, and it is from doing them that I am now able to cope with Curves and do Zumba.

~INDYGIRL: I know you run the Chair Exercise Team, can you tell me more about that?

EMMABE1: There are a plethora of great exercise video links on SparkPeople, however there are a section of society who are unable to use those exercises for many reasons.

Anyone who is handicapped by physical problems, or who is very obese has particular problems with mobility that often prevents any form of standing or walking exercise.

Also people who are excessively overweight have mostly been living a sedentary life often for a time, and the idea of exercise, even of moving much at all, can be totally daunting.
Because the leaders have all been obese, and have physical problems of their own they understand these problems so they can gently guide the members and encourage regular movement that can be done seated, in the safety of their home. That can vary from stretches, through strength, to Chair Dancing and Chair Yoga.

In many cases members start with Chair Exercises and then continue on to "main stream" exercises because the Chair exercises have given them the mobility and flexibility to be able to cope with other forms of exercise.  Others find they get a great workout from Chair Exercises and don’t need other exercise!  Having said this, we have a number of other members too, who find that Chair Exercises solve their exercise requirements, maybe for exercise they can do at their desk, or in their lunch time, or while the children are asleep, or even with the children who love dancing along to the music, as well.

~INDYGIRL:  What advice do you have for those out there wanting to lose weight?

EMMABE1:  To do it! Don’t put it off, thinking you will start next week or next year, waiting for "the right time" because the "right" time never comes – life always gets in the way! Do it for yourself, for your own reasons, but know that once you have made the change to healthy living you will never look back and you will always wonder why you didn’t do it earlier!
Have you put off losing weight for "The right time?"

*Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program. 

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What an incredible story and transformation. Thank you so much for sharing!!! Report
This is an incredible inspiration! Thank you do much for sharing your story and wisdom!!! Report
Congratulations on your succesful weight-loss! Keep up the good work!! Report
Wow, you do yourself proud!!! When I see what others have accomplished, I feel encouraged. I am new to SparkPeople, but am looking forward to being one of YOU! Ladyslipper8 Report
Good job!!! Keep it up! Report
Wonderful! Thank you for the inspiration! Report
Great job!! You're an inspiration and living proof that anything is possible. You can follow my weight loss on my blog at Report
what a great story,keep up the good work,I know your story motivated alot of people,you are going great,good luck on your wieght lose. Report
Awesome work! Thanks for sharing
I am happy I found your blog - I am recently recommitted to changing my lifestyle and it gives me the hope and inspiration I need to move.
Congratulations on your success. Report
Very encouraging! Keep up the good work! Report
Wow Ann, you are such a strong and inspiring woman. What is truly exceptional is not only that you lost the weight and changed your lifestyle, but that you lead others to do the same and believe they can... Report
Wow, that was such an inspiration. Thank you so much for sharing your story!! Well done... Report
Such an inspiration. Report
Keep on sparkin...........You are an inspiration. Report
you are incredible! thank you for your inspiration and sharing your story! Report
You have inspired so many peoples with your story even me. I am so proud of you. Keep it up. God Bless you and keep you with the strenght you need each day. I am going to put you as my friend. Report
Very Inspirational!!! I can relate to the ankles and knees issues. I am going back to check out your page. Report
We LOVE EMMABE1. She is a true spirit andI am so grateful to have come across her spark page. Go get 'em EMMABE1! We stand behind you in awe! Report
Thank you so much for sharing! You give me that push I need to continue on. Good for you for staying with it! Thanks for all the hints. Report
I'm so proud of you! Your story is so inspiring and motivating! Thanks Ann & Indygirl for sharing it with us! Bless you! Report
Great story I love the stories of success. It encourage many people. spark really opened a door of support for millions. So happy I came across this I have shared it with someone that is dear to me and our journey has begun. thank you for your story. Report
Thank you Anne, your story inspired me to continue on with my weight loss battle. I am not one for exercise but today I walked the dog for an hour and ate a healthy breakfast. I am going to save your blog and look at it when I am struggling. Thank you again.. Report
A great blog that inspires and gives helpful information. Thank you! I am on the brink of starting Zumba and this blog encourages me--I've gotten past the hump of not exercising at all using a bike. Report
Wow! I love this uplifting story!
Woohoo Ann! Fantastic that SP has acknowledged your amazing achievement. I am so proud of you!

You can 'hit' me as many times as you like now :)
x Report
WooHoo! Awesome Ann for being in the spotlight and for sharing your story. You deserve the credit, you are an inspiration to us all. Report

Thank you so much for this blog. I can honestly say that after only a 40 pound loss I feel great. I can identify with many of the things that are in your blog. We do not realize how much we truly eat and now I am satisfied with the smaller portions and if I get 'full' I feel as though I have eaten way too much. It's funny how just a short year ago I would have laughed at the amount of food I now eat in a day. It would have been closer to only one meal. lol I sit here with tears in my eyes because I know that my mental idea of food is slowly changing and I rarely worry about what I am missing, or at least, not near as often as I used to. The beginning is the hardest time because you truly do not want the responsibility and dedication to losing the weight and changing your life. I know, I was there, and I have finally went from "I can't" to "I can and I DO! EVERYDAY!!!" Thank you so much for this blog. It and others continue to remind me that I am never alone in my struggle to lose weight.

Tammy Report
Very impressive and encouraging! Keep up the good work. Report
Oooops! Didn't mean to press twice. Couldn't delete so edited it. Still proud of your achievements! Report
Congratulations again to my friend down under! You're such an inspiration to people all over the world, Ann. Another benefit of your hard work. Have a g'day. Report
Wow! You've motivated me!! I'm going to save this, and read it when I'm feeling lazy. I love doing Zumba @ Curves too, but can't get there very often because I work when most of the classes are held. :(
Thank you for sharing your journey with us. You inspire and motivate us with you 'I will' attitude. Great story. Report
I am totally inspired! Way to go!!!!! Report
I've found Emmabe to be inspiring already, but seeing her photo before and after makes her yet more of an inspiration to me. Her advice is solid. She's a great resource and works tirelessly to make Chair Exercise Team successful!

Thank you, Emmabe. Report
You are so AWESOME, I'm so glad I read your story. You are so inspiring for someone like me. Thank you. Report
That is awesome, that truly is an inspirational story! Report
Hats off to you!!! All my admiration for you!! Report
Thank you so much for sharing your story. This really encouraged me today! Report
Well Done, Inspirational Story !!!! Report
What an amazing story of determination and fortitude.
Thank you for being such an inspiration to others .
I know from personal experience how hard it is to exercise with aches and pains.
The chair exercises are wonderful for people with limited mobility.
That's how I started out. Now I am doing regular ones.
Stay strong and positive and never give up.
Tisha Report
AWESOME..Ann, You truly inspire me. I have twenty pounds to lose, and keep putting it off. Now reading your story..I know I can do so much better, than I do. God bless you. Report
You are an inspiration to all of us. Go girl go!!!! Aren't you glad you didn't give up?
Sharon Report
I think this can be an inspiration for all age groups. No more excuses that I'm too old, or I have less energy than everyone else! I don't know how it is to be old, but I know what it feels like to be over weight, and weight loss can be accomplished through persistence and work! Great job! Report
Congratulation's You Look Beautiful !!!!
Keep up the good work.
Thank You, for for the wonderful story.. Report
I love that a glass of water is your "go to" food. Way to go! Report
Congratulations! I am so excited for you. Thank you sharing your story. Do you know if there is a video on chair excercise? I would love to share the excercises with my mother but DVD would be better than internet for her. Report
what you have accomplished is amazing!!!!! You are a true inspiration. I, too, do Chair Yoga (Trudie Styler) because of a foot problem I am currently dealing with. I LOVE it!!!! The best to you. I'm adding you as a friend. Report
Congratulations Ann you are an inspiration! Report