When most people start a diet, they focus on the numbers that appear on the scale, but Colleen Fields had a different sort of goal in mind, her dress size. In January 2010, Colleen weighed 304 pounds and wore a size 26 W. Her goal was to shed enough weight so that she could wear a size 12 by her 40th birthday. She knew she had just under two years to make it happen.
As a child, Colleen remembers being, “chubby” but says her real struggle with weight didn’t occur until after she had her second child. She gained 75 pounds with her son and never shed the extra weight. Then, a divorce and the demands of being a single parent caused her to gain even more.
Colleen explains, “I had a terrible marriage that left me with significant self-esteem issues. I left him shortly after my son was born and I poured myself into my kids (I also have a daughter, same father, who is three years older). I went back to school, I worked full-time, and I shuttled them to all of the normal kid activities – Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, gymnastics, baseball, soccer, dance, swimming, etc. I wanted to give them as much of a normal childhood as possible despite the fact that their father was not involved in their lives, and in the process I ignored myself. I would leave work, pick them up from day care, take them to their activities, grab fast food, get home and do homework, then put them to bed and I would do my own homework. There was no time for me and I didn’t make me a priority.”
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Call it tedious, but it worked. Jason Swenk, 35, of Atlanta, Georgia lost 50 pounds by doing nothing more than taking pictures of his food. The process started after Jason saw a considerable weight gain once graduating college and getting an office job.
Though he’d always exercised and stayed active, Jason admitted he was filling up on the wrong kinds of foods, relying on whatever was “fast and easy.” This led him to reach his highest weight of nearly 260 pounds.
But when he recognized his habits were causing a change in his energy levels, always leaving him feeling tired and moody, Jason knew it was time for a change. “I also wanted to make sure I could be active and live a long life with my kids,” he said.
To lose the weight, Jason started taking pictures of everything he ate and then recording how he felt hours later. The act of taking pictures of his food spurred an “ah-ha” moment that led Jason to approach dieting differently. “One night I went back to keep snacking and kept taking pictures of everything and it clicked,” he said. “I was eating so much food and from then on, it changed.”
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New Year’s resolutions are in full swing, most of which revolve around losing weight and getting in shape. If this describes you, how confident are you that this will be your year? New Year’s resolutions are notoriously short-lived for many reasons.
According to Dr. Jessica Bartfield, a weight loss specialist from Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery & Bariatric Care, only 20 percent of those who plan on losing weight are successful. She gives her top four reasons so many dieters fail to lose weight. We’ll give you the remedies.
1. Underestimating Calories Consumed
Dr. Bartfield: “Most people (even experts!) underestimate the number of calories they eat per day.”
Our Suggestion: If you’re the type that prefers to wing it when it comes to eating, you’re setting yourself up for failure. It’s not enough to want to lose weight. You have to prepare, plan and research what you’re going to eat.
Like Dr. Bartfield, we suggest writing down everything you eat. If you prefer an old-fashioned written food journal, that’s great. However, there many digital solutions that offer a more comprehensive experience with access to your favorite foods’ calorie count, weight tracking, and many other features.
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Jennifer Fite, 47, is a single mom and publicist living in Chicago, Illinois who kept good on her 2012 New Year’s resolution. This time last year Jen knew it was time for a change. At her heaviest weight of 283 pounds, she was unhealthy, unhappy and determined to take control of her health once and for all.
We recently had the pleasure of speaking with Jen about her amazing weight loss journey, which left her 95 pounds lighter in just under one year. It all started when she joined a local gym called Downsize Fitness.
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There seems to be a great chasm between those who workout and those who do not. But does anyone really know why that is?
Often surrounded by people who don’t love working out as much as I do (admittedly, I’m an enthusiast), I’ve asked myself this question many times but to no avail. It seems that the path to fitness is narrow and few find it, but I wish that wasn’t so as exercise is such an essential part of a long, healthy life. Not to mention it can be a blast once you find your groove!
Perhaps there are some insider secrets that ‘insiders’ wrongly assume ‘outsiders’ already know. This slideshow is my humble attempt to “crack the code” and unveil those tips, tricks and secrets so that everyone can find their way to fitness and establish a routine that truly sticks.