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.
After her divorce, Samantha Hillis was suddenly thrown into the role of single mother. After taking control of her lifestyle, she lost an amazing 80 pounds. Samantha is proud to lead by example and she’s now enjoying activities with her young son that she never thought would be possible.
More from Samantha in her own words –
Tell me when your weight struggles began. I have always been overweight. Growing up I was the only overweight person in my family. I had tried to lose weight many times with pills and meal replacements, but I didn’t change my diet so nothing seemed to work.
What habits specifically led you to gain weight? When I got pregnant I gained 80 pounds! I went from staying between 200 and 210 to 280. After having my son I lost about 50 pounds, but my diet still wasn’t on point. I ate fast food every day, and when I did cook at home we would eat fried foods or a ton of pasta. I would rather sit on the couch and watch the Food Network than go for a walk.
What caused you to realize you needed to change? Nothing ever fit right, and I was never able to share clothes with friends or my sisters. I hated going shopping because I didn’t want to believe that I was in a size 18/20. When I got divorced last year I went to the doctor. I almost cried when I saw the number 248 flashing on the scale in front of me. I had gained 15 pounds in ONE month. That’s when I knew I needed to get healthy for my son.
A few months ago Kimberly May-Puett contacted me. She had two goals for telling her own true weight loss story, to pay it forward and inspire others. For Kimberly, losing 57 pounds and 30 inches was a case of mind over manner. She wants others to know that they can be successful too, as long as they’re willing to make real changes.
More from Kimberly in her own words.
Tell me when your weight struggles began: At the age of 25 started traveling a lot for work, which threw off my diet and exercise routine. My weight really spiraled out of control once I became pregnant. With each baby I gained 50 – 60 pounds. I never lost all my pregnancy weight and it fluctuated for years.
What habits specifically led you to gain weight? A busy life, poor eating habits and lack of exercise. I simply did not take care of myself. My weight ballooned up to 253, which ironically was my highest pregnancy weight.
I knew in that moment I really needed to do things differently if I was going to be successful.
What caused you to realize you needed to change? I was approaching my 40th birthday. While generally happy with my life, I was miserable when I looked in the mirror. To make matters worse, blood tests from the doctor confirmed that my cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood sugar were not in healthy ranges. At the height of my frustration, I read something that said, If you change nothing, nothing changes. I’m not sure why, but it hit me like a bolt of lightning.
It’s been three years since Michele Moran tipped the scales at almost 400 pounds. Overweight as a child, Michelle adopted a habit of binge eating that only got worse when she moved out on her own. Now, with a new healthy outlook on food and a weight loss of 213 pounds, Michelle is looking forward to a bright future – and maybe even a triathlon.
More from Michelle in her own words –
Tell me when your weight struggles began. I have been bigger since childhood. When I turned 13, I was wearing a size 13. I remember someone mentioning that I seemed to be going up a pant size every year. From that moment on I was consciously aware and insecure about my weight.
“When I lived at home I binged when people were asleep. When I moved out on my own it got even worse.”
What habits specifically led you to gain weight? Lack of exercise contributed, but the main issue was binge eating. My dinner might be an entire pizza, bag of chips and a box of Hamburger Helper. I felt sick and I was in pain, but I did it every single day.
What caused you to realize you needed to change? I couldn’t fit into the largest sizes at plus size stores. I could only wear tights or elastic waist pants or dresses. I couldn’t fit into seats at the movies, sporting events, roller coasters, or even just booths in restaurants.
After years of looking for the weight loss “quick fix,” Ginnie Wade realized there was no shortcut, just hard work. Instead of joining an expensive gym or eating pricey organic food, her journey to a healthier life started with a ten dollar DVD. Now, 55 pounds lighter, Ginnie says she’s learned a lot and “really enjoyed the journey – mostly.”
Tell me when your weight struggles began. I started to put on weight when I was working as a dog groomer in my early 20’s. I didn’t get much exercise and would go home exhausted and eat whatever I could find or stop and get fast food. Then I had my first child and gained about 60 pounds. I stayed home with her and found myself around food all day. When I was bored, I would eat.
I was able to lose most of the weight at a local gym, but not long after I got to my goal weight, I started putting the weight back on. I only changed temporary things and went right back to my old lifestyle.
What caused you to realize you needed to change? One day my sister and I went shopping for a dress and nothing fit. I couldn’t understand why. That day my sister gave me painful but needed advice, “You’re fat and you need to do something about it.” I had been hearing the same thing from my doctor. After hearing it from my sister I knew I finally needed to make some changes.
How did you lose the weight? I purchased a 9.99 fitness DVD at Walmart. Even though the DVD had been there collecting dust for a year, I brushed it off and popped it in the VCR. I started slow and did what I could, aiming for three days a week. I downloaded the MyFitnessPal app on my phone. That helped me stay on track eating real food.