Almost two years ago, Deb Arneson-Suarez saw a new Planet Fitness gym in her neighborhood. She took this literal sign as a figurative sign that it was time! Time to get healthy and lose the weight that had been with her for as long as she could remember. Now, down almost 100 pounds, she credits her competitive nature for keeping her on the path to her goal.
Deb says by the time she was in the 5th grade she was already familiar with commercial weight loss programs and restrictive diets but for her, the very idea of restriction, always set her up to fail. In her twenties, Deb says “drinking and other bad lifestyle choices” contributed to her weight gain. Sadly, when she realized it was time to get clean and sober, she gained even more.
When Deb saw the “open 24 hours” logo at Planet Fitness, she knew there would be no more excuses for not treating herself better. “The city metro bus stop I used to go to work and come home was right in front of the gym,” she said. “I was sick of feeling tired, sick and miserable. I wanted to be healthy – truly healthy.”
She knew that losing weight would have to be a two-fold approach so she started going to the gym every night after work – even if it was only for 30 minutes at a time – and then adopted a predominantly vegetarian lifestyle. “I used the internet like crazy,” she explained. “If I craved something chocolate (like brownies) I would research healthier options like flourless black bean brownies. Yum!”
Feeling a little impatient at the beginning of her journey, Deb struggled with a common feeling of wanting the weight off immediately, “yesterday,” she said. She was tempted to have surgery but knew she didn’t have the money for the procedure or the aftercare it requires so she just pushed forward telling herself that little changes would eventually make a big difference, and they did.
“I tend to be competitive and since I had nobody else helping me out I also used apps.” Deb knew if she had a series of finish lines or challenges, she could tap into her competitive spirit and the weight loss would seem more like a sport than a diet. “I would track my workouts on CardioTrainer,” she explained. “I loved seeing how far I had traveled on their map, especially at the end of the year.”
Though she’s down almost 100 pounds, she feels like she’s only to the halfway point. When that thought gets her down, she remembers all the benefits she’s reaping from her new lifestyle like breathing easier, feeling better, and having more confidence, especially in all those smaller clothes.
Advice she’d give others: “Workouts don’t have to be torture. MOVE. If I can – YOU can. Try and have fun – SMILE. It makes a difference, to you and those around you.