Name: Kim Phelan
Amount of weight lost: 95 pounds
Hometown: Richboro, PA
While growing up, Kim played many different sports including soccer, softball and volleyball. In high school, she weighed 140 pounds. At the time, she felt overweight because most of the girls she knew weighed 120 pounds or less. When Kim started college, she weighed 155 pounds. Over the years, she kept gaining more and more weight until she reached 250 pounds. By that point she had stopped playing sports and stayed inside most of the time because she felt out of breath constantly and hated the way she looked. Unfortunately, she also didn't like herself enough to do anything about it.
Once Kim's doctor warned her that she had high blood pressure, which put her at risk for having a stroke, she knew she had to do something about her weight. Kim decided to do whatever it took to lose weight and be a healthier person. Learn how she accomplished so much more in the process.
Tell us a bit about your weight-loss journey: When I first decided I wanted to lose weight, I changed my eating habits right away. I stopped eating fatty foods and ate more vegetables. At first, I didn't do much exercise besides walking. As I started losing weight from making healthier choices, I decided I needed to do more exercise. I tried yoga, Pilates, Zumba, cardio kickboxing and running 5k races. The more weight I lost, the better I felt about myself. I gained confidenc, but I also stopped caring what anyone thought about me in the exercise classes. Everyone was there for their own reasons, the same way I was there for myself.
Did you encounter any obstacles during your journey and, if so, how did you deal with them? There were many obstacles such as wanting to give up and having other people comment all the time about what I was doing and not doing with my weight loss. When I wanted to give up, I looked at how far I had already come. How could I give up and be unhealthy again? When I felt really down, I would look at the pictures of myself when I weighed 250 pounds. I hated the way I looked and it helped keep me on track. Many people asked me questions and made comments constantly about my weight loss. A few times I even had to ask people to stop saying certain things such as "oh you can eat that" or "just have one." I didn't want the confrontation, but I was tired of people acting as if the only thing they were interested in about me was my weight loss. People always have an opinion and they will make comments no matter what I do. I just need to keep doing what I want for me!
What tools did you find most helpful to keep you motivated? I write down my exercise in my calendar. When I see I have class at 7pm on Thursday night, I treat it like an appointment instead of an exercise class. I wouldn't cancel a doctor's appointment, so I treat my exercise the same way. I use the Spark trackers to record my exercise and food. When I was first losing weight, I used the reward system to keep me motivated. It really helped me reach my goals. When I get the chance, I like to look at the SparkPages of other members! Their stories really help keep me on track!
Did you ever slip up or hit a plateau? If so, how did you overcome it? For a long time I was weighing in around 160 pounds. I just couldn't get to my goal weight of 155 pounds. I didn't give up though! I kept doing what I was doing, and I finally reached my goal weight. I fluctuate on the scale every week, but I still keep up the best I can with my routines. Food wise, it seems like I "slip up" every other day. Instead of having cheat meals, I will eat what I want if I REALLY want it. If I completely told myself "no" to every single "bad" food, I would fail and gain all the weight back. When I really want some chips and guacamole, I will have some. To make sure I keep myself moving in the right direction, I track the "bad" food. I know some people have to completely cut out some junk food, but I don't feel like I have to do that. I already cut out eating red meat and dairy products.
What is your typical exercise routine like? When it's not tax season, I do my best to train for 5K races. I have done about 10 so far, and I can't wait to do more! I don't like to run on a treadmill, so I run outside while listening to music. Usually I take a yoga or other exercise class two or three nights a week. It is nice to get out of the house every once in a while. When I don't have the time or money to get to a class, I watch SparkPeople Videos and do some ab, leg and arm work.
How would you describe your typical diet now as compared to before your weight loss? I used to eat anything greasy, fried or cheesy such as cheesesteaks, cheeseburgers and lots of potato chips. Now, I don't eat red meat, and I cut out as much dairy as I can. No more cheese, butter or milk for me because it was upsetting my stomach. Before I starting losing weight, I only ate breakfasts on Sundays and they were huge! I used to eat bacon, sausage, eggs, pancakes and toast all in one meal. Now, I eat some kind of small breakfast every day. I will have no-sugar added oatmeal or cereal with almond or coconut milk. When I can, I track my food on the Spark tracker to keep myself in check. I still eat large portions of food, but I have more vegetables instead of more chicken or pasta.
What advice would you give to someone just beginning a weight loss program? Do as much research as you can, and do your best to alter your program to your own lifestyle. Adding exercise and changing your daily eating habits are difficult because you are so used to a certain routine. Try to change your routine at your own pace. Be realistic with your goals, change them if you have to, and don't put yourself down if you don't reach a goal right away. Deadlines can be pushed back as long as you are doing your best overall. There are good days and bad days for everyone. As long as you are moving in the right direction most of the time, you will reach your goals! Remember that what works for one person may not work for you. It sounds silly, but give yourself a pep talk every once in a while. You are a great person, and you using SparkPeople for your own reasons. Eating healthier and exercising will help your body function better and any physical change is just a bonus! Also, drink lots and lots of water!
Did you experience any other benefits in addition to losing weight? My blood pressure is normal again without medication. I no longer have to worry about a stroke due to high blood pressure! I used to get sick almost twice a month. If I do get a cold now, it will only last a day or two and they aren't as intense as they used to be. My confidence level is much higher now. I feel like a better person mentally and physically. Since I feel better about myself, my relationships have gotten both stronger and weaker on purpose. With my family and close friends, I have a better relationship with all of them. I can voice my opinion and speak up more now. On the other hand, I try to stay away from those people who are extremely negative. Life is too short to be held back by those who won't love me for who I am.
How has your life changed since losing weight and improving your health? My life has improved so much over the past two and a half years. I never wanted to look at myself in the mirror because I hated what I saw. I didn't even have to see myself to know how bad I felt. There are barely any pictures of me from my overweight days because I was so mad at myself for gaining so much weight. Now, I don't get embarrassed about being in public. I am still a bit shy in certain situations, but it is not because of my weight anymore. I actually feel like a new, better person. Even though I am not going to forget the past, the positive feelings I have about my life now definitely help me to keep moving forward. I don't even feel like I lost 95 pounds anymore unless I see a picture of myself or when someone mentions it to me. I live in the now and do my best to stay healthy and positive!
Congratulations Kim on finding your keys to success!
*Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.
Have you lost weight and kept it off using SparkPeople.com? We'd love to share your story. Email us: sparkpeoplesuccess (at) gmail (dot) com
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