Every week I’m inspired by men and women who take charge of their health and improve their lives. Losing a significant amount of weight isn’t easy. Even when you think you have all the tools in place and the determination of a warrior, the body can put road blocks in your path to success.
Today’s story focuses on Erin Ball, a wife and mother of two whose weight gain and loss were both affected by a serious health condition – Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). The condition is characterized by a hormonal imbalance, and often leads to the production of excess insulin resulting in obesity.
How Erin fought back
Erin lost 70 pounds when she figured out how PCOS affected her body, and then took steps to counter the attack.
Heavy since her teens, Erin admits that inactivity and eating a poor diet were just as much to blame for her weight gain as her health condition. When she gave birth to her second son, she remembers topping the scales at 268 pounds and knew she needed to make a change. “I realized I needed to be a mom who could keep up with these boys, and a mom that they’d be proud of,” she said. “I didn’t want to be a sideline mommy.”
Devising a PCOS diet strategy
Knowing the insulin resistance would be a challenge, she met with nutritionist, Greg Hottinger, who helped her create a new diet that would work for her body. Taking his advice, Erin started by making sure that carbohydrates were only 10% of her daily caloric intake. She also read the book, “Coach Yourself Thin,” co-authored by Hottinger. “Ive never been a big fan of bread, pasta or red meat . So it came down to eating more,” she said. “I was making the right choices just about 1000 calories under my BMR needed.”
Playground workouts are always more fun
For exercise, Erin started walking and being more involved with her son’s outdoor playtime. “I started playing on the play ground with my eldest son going up the slide, then chasing him around and going up again.” Now she walks four to five times a week and pumps iron for strength training.
Biggest Struggle: Realizing how hard it would be to stay away from sweets, and giving up milk.
Biggest Triumph: Eating more veggies than ever.
Though she has more weight to lose, Erin says she focuses on just 10 pounds at a time so she doesn’t get overwhelmed. She also uses a Fitbit device to track her activity, and a food journal to keep her accountable. “It shows you everything you put in your mouth,” she explained. “You’d be surprised how many times it has changed my mind about what I was about to eat.”