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.”
Kerry Ann King of New York City was never a willowy, lanky child, and instead carried a short and stout build. Being involved in ballet where tiny and petite were the norm left her feeling like a square peg in a round hole.
To make matters worse, the ballet school Kerry attended encouraged dieting even at a young age to keep a slim physique. Kerry, now 44, recalls dancing 10-12 hours days on nothing but a few pieces of fruit. But when she quit dancing at age 15, her less active lifestyle and confused metabolism led to quick and steady weight gain. When she ventured into other sports she eventually injured her knee, which led to a cycle of rehab/recovery/re-injury that only further piled on the weight.
It wasn’t until Kerry became pregnant that she realized permanent changes to the way she ate and treated her body were necessary. During her first pregnancy Kerry found benefit in reading the classic pregnancy book, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” Read Full Post >
When did your weight struggles begin? The truth of the matter is I was always a heavy kid. There was never an inciting incident that made me gain weight. From the time I started elementary school I was overweight and it got progressively more out of hand.
Where did your your bad eating habits come from? My mom has told me before she wishes she’d have known or she’d have taken the bagel out of my hand, butit’s hard to tell your kid no. I agree with her. I think I would have very much resented my family for doing that. Read Full Post >
Betsy Talbot, 42, and her husband Warren, 41, are healthy, happily married, world travelers these days, but that hasn’t always been the case. The couple who used to be overweight, unhappy and tied to office jobs now travels the world “full-time,” living out their dreams.
At their heaviest, Betsy and Warren weighed 210 and 178 pounds, respectively. But today, Betsy is a trim 160 pounds (just 10 pounds shy of her goal weight) and Warren has already reached his goal weight of 145 pounds. We had the pleasure of speaking with this adventurous pair recently about their weight loss journey as a couple. Here’s what they had to say.
Tell me when your weight struggles began. Our weight struggles really began in adulthood when we began sitting for our jobs and our entertainment instead of being active. And we “over-busied” ourselves into thinking we had to eat fast and cram meals in instead of planning and enjoying them. This is a deadly combination for weight gain that most people can relate to. Read Full Post >
It was around the age of 9 that Dr. Jason Cleveland of Lake Worth, Florida, started to develop a weight problem. Eating too much and choosing poor quality food were his primary downfalls – a result of poor eating habits he learned from his parents. Cleveland, now 42, doesn’t necessarily fault his parents. However, he does admit they simply didn’t know much about proper nutrition for kids – a problem that’s becoming more and more prevalent in today’s society.
This poor nutritional foundation ultimately resulted in Cleveland reaching his highest weight of nearly 250 pounds. It wasn’t until attending a wedding in May 2010 that he realized it was time for a change. “I had to have my entire tuxedo enlarged to wear. I am a wellness practitioner, and I could not believe how far I had fallen,” he said.” The next day I started my quest.”
To lose the weight, Cleveland adopted an 80% diet-20% exercise motto – a plan he created years earlier for patients at his practice. “I do not start any of my clients on exercise until they have lost a significant amount of weight for fear of injury,” he said. After losing the first 40 pounds, Cleveland began cardio only – something as simple as jumping rope. Read Full Post >