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Sara Kolling Lost 85 Pounds After Leaving an Abusive Relationship

If you’ve ever been in an abusive relationship, you know how it drains you of your spirit and self-esteem. Today, our true weight loss story focuses on Sara Kolling, a woman who had the courage to leave her abuser and for the first time in a long time, devote herself to her own well being. After losing 85 pounds, Sara feels stronger than she has in years, in more ways than one.

Sara Kolling Collage

Though Sara admits she was always the girl who was picked on and teased in school about her weight, she acknowledges that the pounds really started to pack on during the first year of her marriage. Once the abuse began, Sara became an emotional eater and says she just ate, “no matter what.” After three years, Sara finally sought a divorce.

The first thing I changed was no more diet soda, and no more eating after seven p.m.

On her own again, Sara finally got serious about wanting to lose weight when she got tired of her clothes being too tight, not being able to keep up with the students she worked with, and feeling like she couldn’t do even the simplest workout routine. She started by eliminating all the sugary, processed and junk food from her diet. The book, The Eat Clean Diet, by Tosca Reno was her first guide.


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Lacey Raul Lost 100 Pounds and Completed a Half-Marathon. Weight Loss Done Right!

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When Lacey Raul was growing up, no one held her accountable for what she ate, urged her to exercise or explained the future ramifications of a sedentary lifestyle. After trying to lose weight the “wrong” way for years, Lacey shifted gears, lost 100 pounds and kept it off, the right way. In May, she completed her first half-marathon and finished with a very respectable time of 2:24.

More from Lacey in her own words -

Tell me when your weight struggles began: I’ve had weight issues my entire life. I was always the fat girl who never wore shorts, and couldn’t even run a mile in PE class. I was tormented and teased my whole childhood but never had the guidance to eat better or the push to exercise.

What habits specifically led you to gain weight? I was a fast food junky. It was always around, convenient and cheap. I knew the lifestyle was unhealthy but I was in denial. I remember specifically when I was about 25 buying a size 16 suit for work and thinking, I can make this work I don’t need to lose weight. I looked like I was in my forties. It was sad.


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Bell Smith Lost 67 Pounds – “I’ll Never Be Skinny But I Can Still Carry Weight and Be Healthy”

Bell Smith is a belly-dancing beauty who embraces her curves because she knows they belong to a healthy body. For a time in her life, Bell let stress and grief take hold and she forgot to focus on her own well-being. Not anymore. After a 67-pound weight loss and mind-shift, Bell has transformed her life and her body.

More from Bell in her own words -

Bell Smith collage

Tell me when your weight struggles began. As a child, I could eat what I wanted and get away with it, but when I lost both my parents in the span of two years and then job stress piled on, so did the weight.  I experienced out-of-control eating, excess carb intake and I really overdid the fast food.

What caused you to realize you needed to change? I saw a family picture of myself in 2009 and thought, “I’m fat.” Since my dad’s side of the family carried a lot of weight and both parents had high blood pressure and diabetes, I knew I had to take charge.

How did you lose the weight? I knew I had gained weight, yet I had been belly dancing since 2001 and my troupe accepted me as I was. I didn’t realize how much weight I’d gained. I started off by walking in the early morning with friends while it was dark so no one could see me, then signed up for a gym membership.


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Kara Allbaugh Lost 80 Pounds – “I Was a Food Addict and then Something Shifted. I’m So Glad.”

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.

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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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Travel Tips from Eli Sapharti, Author of “From Fat Boy to Fit Man”

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After conquering obesity, losing over 100 lbs, and getting in the best shape of my life, I have learned that when I am taken out of my regular daily routine and environment I can easily fall prey to old eating habits. One of the most challenging situations for me has been while traveling.

This reminds me of a particular airplane trip that I took a few years ago. One that I would soon like to forget if it weren’t for the lessons that I learned.

As I prepared to leave on a three-day business trip, I made sure I had everything I needed. Or so I thought. I had the right clothing, toothbrush, shaving blades, deodorant, and all the necessary toiletries. (I even packed extra undies.) What I didn’t prepare for were my meals that I was so used to  having ready during my regular weekly routine at home.

My first challenge was when my flight was delayed and I found myself at the airport for an unexpected extra 2 hours. I was starving. (Well, not literally, but I WAS very hungry.) Since I didn’t want to sit at a restaurant and order grilled chicken and veggies (which would have been the best choice), I grabbed what I THOUGHT was the next best choice. A prepackaged turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread. Healthy, right? WRONG! I later learned that this sandwich had more fat, more sugar and more carbs than if I had ordered a burger a a sit down restaurant. Big oops.

My next challenge was while in the air.  I don’t know about you, but I get especially hungry while traveling. Perhaps its not “real” hunger, but it seems these instances awakens my inner “snack monster”. So, I snacked. The problem was that the only snacks available were potato chips, cookies, or honey roasted peanuts. So of course I chose the peanuts—they were obviously the best option, right? Probably, but the issue was that one little bag (ok FOUR little bags) of peanuts didn’t satisfy me. So since eating FIVE bags of peanuts would have been excessive, I had a bag of chips instead. After all that saltiness I got a major sweet craving, which made me reach for a bag of chocolate chip cookies! Talk about a binge!

Luckily, after this binge I fell asleep and when I woke up, we were ready to land. Thank goodness for that or I may have been charged an extra fee for excessive snacking on-board!

The good thing about this trip was that it forced me to think and prepare before embarking on any trip, whether on a plane, a road trip with the kids, or even my honeymoon cruise which I cannot wait to go on!

Here are some rules I learned from this experience, which you too can use to avoid a travel binge:

1) Calculate how many hours you will be traveling and pack adequate meals for that time frame. For instance, pack a healthy sandwich or two that you can take with you on a plane, train, or automobile. By eating real meals you’ll reduce your in-between meal cravings.
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