Tag Archives: true weight loss stories

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.

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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 –

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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. (more…)

Jessica Rogers Lost 110 Pounds – “I Was Eating Myself to Death”

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“I’m in tears knowing that I will get a chance to encourage more people. It is my heart’s desire to help make people realize their potential, overcome fear and reach their goals.” This is the reply we received from Jessica Rogers when we told her she would be featured on our True Weight Loss segment. After losing 110 pounds, Jessica is on a mission to tell others, “It’s all about your mindset.”

One night realized I was literally eating myself to death

When Jessica was a teenager, a lack of exercise, eating a poor diet and yo-yo dieting all contributed to her weight gain. But in times of clarity, she knew that it was the way she ate, that was often the biggest problem. Even in her adult years, Jessica admits that she would often eat until she became physically ill. One day, she had a startling thought, “If I don’t make a change for the better I won’t live long enough to see my children grow.”

How she lost 35 pounds in two months
Once Jessica got herself in the right mindset, she started a two-fold approach to losing weight. She joined a commercial weight loss program to help track calories, then she bought the DVD, Walk Away the Pounds and committed to it faithfully. After losing 35 pounds in two months by utilizing these two methods, she knew she was on the right track.

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Mike Kenney Lost Almost 100 Pounds by Living the Mantra: “Eat Clean and Train Dirty.”

Michael Kenney is a father of two, and Daddy Mike is cut! It’s hard to believe that 90 pounds ago, he was pre-diabetic and experiencing crippling migraines. With hard work, miles of spinning under his smaller belt, and tracking portion sizes, Mike says he feels better than he has in years. This Father’s Day, he’ll celebrate with daughters Jamie and Jordan, and continue to set a healthy example for his girls.

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We love his mantra: Eat clean and train dirty.

More from Mike in his own words –

When did your weight struggles begin? I have always struggled with my weight. I played sports in high school, and this kept it under control but after I stopped playing sports, over the years my weight just kept increasing.

What habits specifically led you to gain weight? Definitely overeating. Portion sizes played a huge factor. It was not unusual for me to eat a whole pizza by myself. I really didn’t know how many calories I was consuming, or how many I was burning.

What caused you to realize you needed to change? Health issues. I had a routine checkup with my doctor and when my blood work came back, I was pre-diabetic. I was also suffering from frequent ocular migraines.

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Jennifer Sierra Lost 63 Pounds When She Stopped Looking for the ‘Magic Trick’

Jennifer Sierra admits to a lifelong struggle with her weight. “I have no recollection of being a thin child or person for that matter.”

At the age of 13, she began an exhausting weight loss journey that was mostly futile because she acknowledges she was looking for the, “magic trick” instead of a new way of life. After fourteen years and countless diet plans, Jennifer finally learned how to eat for life, instead of just, for now.

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When you’re uncomfortable in your own skin and desperate for an immediate solution, you don’t always think about the long term benefits and risks of a diet, you just want the extra pounds – gone! As a teenager, Jennifer tried a host of different plans including Herbal Life, Slim Fast, phentermine pills, Atkins Diet, Quick Weight Loss Center, calorie counting, short term diets, and cardio overload to name a few.

Yo-yo dieting was the norm, but long lasting results were not.

I use to focus so much on counting calories without realizing I was eating such an unbalanced diet.

After seeing an unflattering photo on a Facebook page, Jennifer decided it was time to, “fix the problem forever.” After consulting with personal trainer, Eric Lee Salazar with Flex Level Fitness, she started eating “clean” and using a macronutrient based diet. Instead of calories, she counts grams of fat, protein and carbohydrates to make sure each meal and snack has the balance her body needs. For exercise, she combines cardio with muscle-specific strength training.

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Alan Ali lost 140 Pounds, “My Weight Doesn’t Define Me or My Abilities”

At Diets In Review we meet some truly inspirational people, Alan Ali is one of them. His brave admission about his struggle with binge eating, and his encouraging attitude make him one of our favorites. We even named him best “selfie of the year.” Though he’s already lost an astonishing 140 pounds, he’s determined to lose more. Along the way, he’s also learning that his weight doesn’t define him, or his abilities.

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At 480 pounds, Alan was miserable. In 2009, he knew he’d hit rock bottom. “I found myself recently laid off from a job that I loved, I had just been diagnosed with sleep apnea, I was borderline diabetic, and my feet and legs always felt numb,” he said.

“I hated my life and I decided I wanted better for myself, I deserved better.” Overweight most of his life, Alan knew he needed to get help, not only with losing weight, but also fighting the demon that would be his biggest challenge, binge eating.

Food was my solution to all my problems and stressors in life.

Alan knew he needed a guide so he met with a registered dietitian. “I was lucky to find one that I really connected with,” he explained. “I ended up working with her for about a year. She taught me a lot about food and how to eat with balance in my life.”

When Alan admitted to himself that he suffered from a binge eating disorder, it was time to admit it to someone else. “I remember the first time I told my Mama about my binge eating, it was one of the best things I ever did,” Alan admitted. “It felt great to just get it off my chest and tell someone. I just needed to say it out loud; I needed to hear myself say it.”

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Dawn Bonavita Lost 93 Pounds After Painful Struggle with Fertility

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This Sunday, when Dawn Bonavita celebrates Mother’s Day, she will likely open homemade cards made by sticky hands and hug each child as they bound in to tell her good morning. In the decade and a half it took to have her three daughters, Dawn struggled with infertility, pregnancy loss, and weight that fluctuated wildly due to stress and bouts of depression.

After losing 93 pounds, Dawn feels blessed that she’s now the mom who can play with her kids without feeling winded, lift up her two year old with ease, and be an example of healthy living.

Just say no to cookies – This was the humiliating advice given to Dawn by a pediatrician when she was just a young girl. Heavy most of her childhood, Dawn became very active in high school and sprouted to five foot ten, which kept her trim for a few years but soon, the process of starting a family would take its toll on her waistline once again.

“My late twenties and all of my thirties were consumed with fertility issues,” Dawn explained. “We used fertility treatments to get pregnant with our first child and it worked within three months.” Unfortunately, Dawn’s second pregnancy would not be as easy. During the four years it took to conceive her second child, Dawn endured four rounds of IVF treatments and lost five pregnancies.

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