TaVona Boggs spent most of her adult life on a diet. When she wasn’t on one, she was thinking she probably should be. Finally, she learned how to make peace with food and gave up on what she calls the, “all or nothing” mentality. After an 82-pound weight loss, TaVona is competing in duathlons and inspiring other women to break out of their comfort zones.
When did your weight struggles begin. As early as age 10, I remember begging my mom to buy me a thigh master. Throughout high school I kept my weight in check with physical activity, like cheer leading, volleyball and more, but once I entered an intensive physical therapy program in college, the weight crept back on.
What habits specifically led you to gain weight? I did not know how to eat properly. My solution was to eat what college kids ate and when the weight escalated, I would diet down to what I thought was an appropriate weight only to gain it back once I stopped dieting.
What prompted the change? I stepped on the scale one day and it said 224 pounds. At that point I had become so sick of dieting I couldn’t do it one more time so I said to myself, “I have to learn how to eat real food, and still enjoy myself.”
How did you lose the weight? With my mother’s encouragement, I decided to join a commercial weight loss program. With the support of the ladies in my group and my mentor, I was able to get to my goal of 155 pounds. After a while, counting points and managing my weight through exercise only got me so far. I oscillated, then got stuck and eventually saw the weight starting to come back on.
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My name is Kara, I’m from Nebraska, and I was a food addict. This was my first introduction to Kara Allbaugh, this week’s True Weight Loss Story inspiration. When I received Kara’s email I was struck by her honesty and touched by her story. This mama said, “No more. I’m worthy,” and then she put in the hard work to lose 80 pounds.
More from Kara in her own words -
Tell me when your weight struggles began. After I finished with school and settled down, it seemed like a downhill slide from there. When I got pregnant, I just gave up on how I looked. I just assumed that’s what happens.
What habits specifically led you to gain weight? I thought I needed to eat for two, and I did. Fast food became an addiction.
What caused you to realize you needed to change? Wow, so many things. My biggest reason was that I wanted to stop being miserable. I didn’t want to be trapped in a flabby body anymore. I wanted to wear anything I wanted, not search forever for something that might make my body look cute.
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A 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride, and a 26.2 mile run. These are the daunting distances that make up a full Ironman triathlon. Many superior athletes don’t even take a second look at these races because they’re simply so demanding. The training, the discipline, and the excruciating race are all just too much for most to handle. However, a new unlikely trend seems to be taking place within the Ironman. The least likely of competitors are throwing their hat in the ring and chasing that fateful moment when the announcer says, “You are an Ironman!”.
This surprising group is comprised of Biggest Loser contestants. People who entered a television reality show morbidly obese and then moved on to complete what is possibly the toughest physical feat on the planet – these elite individuals are hardly losers.
There have been five Biggest Loser contestants who have completed an Ironman, and they are Tara Costa (BL7), Hollie Self (BL4), Jay Kruger (BL5), Ali Vincent (BL5), and Matt Hoover (BL2). One theme seems to be shared among them all – finding out just how far they could push themselves drove them to take on their biggest challenge yet.
“…being on the Biggest Loser, you quickly learn that you can do so much more than what you think is possible if you just try,” said Tara Costa, a finalist in season 7.
All of the finishers say something to the effect that being on the show showed them that they were much more capable than they previously thought and once they were off the show, they needed another huge challenge to keep proving that to themselves.
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Adam Wedekind of Annapolis, Maryland was an active active child growing up, but the pressures of high school sports were enough to keep him from trying out. Instead, he turned to video games. This new, inactive lifestyle coupled with a poor diet led to severe weight gain, which left Adam the subject of frequent bullying.
To apease his parents Adam, now 22, tried to keep up his grades up so they couldn’t complain about his new hobby. He became so entranced with gaming that he drew away from all his friends and turned to people he met playing online video games for social interaction. He loved that he could be whoever he wanted online.
Post high school Adam went onto vocal college and kept up his gaming habits, which caused him to neglect his studies and eventually drop out. At that point he moved to Ohio to escape from his failures.
In 2009 Adam re-enrolled in college but still wasn’t dedicated to school and his grades suffered because of it. Despite his struggles, Adam’s mom continued to still support him. But even that encouragement left him at an all-time low.
“I hit a point where I didn’t want to leave my room.” said Adam. “I didn’t want to do anything, I played video games and I didn’t have any friends. I just sat in my room and I had no reason to leave. I was so depressed I even had suicidal thoughts.”
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Talking with people who have made drastic changes in their lives for the better is one of the most inspiring and humbling experiences I’ve encountered. Recognizing how difficult it is to lose 5, 10 and even 20 pounds myself, I sympathize with those who struggle with their weight. But after speaking with individuals who have lost more than 100 pounds in some cases, I am often left speechless.
In 2012 we shared the true weight loss stories of more than 20 remarkable individuals from around the world, and their combined total weight loss was 2,466 pounds! This an accomplishment we were truly humbled to be a part of. Though each person shares a uniquely inspiring story, we’ve gathered six of our favorites to give a glimpse into the truly amazing transformations we’ve witnessed on Diets in Review this year. Let’s start with the first true weight loss story I had the privilege of writing: Grace Goodman.
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