Almost two years ago, Deb Arneson-Suarez saw a new Planet Fitness gym in her neighborhood. She took this literal sign as a figurative sign that it was time! Time to get healthy and lose the weight that had been with her for as long as she could remember. Now, down almost 100 pounds, she credits her competitive nature for keeping her on the path to her goal.
Deb says by the time she was in the 5th grade she was already familiar with commercial weight loss programs and restrictive diets but for her, the very idea of restriction, always set her up to fail. In her twenties, Deb says “drinking and other bad lifestyle choices” contributed to her weight gain. Sadly, when she realized it was time to get clean and sober, she gained even more.
When Deb saw the “open 24 hours” logo at Planet Fitness, she knew there would be no more excuses for not treating herself better. “The city metro bus stop I used to go to work and come home was right in front of the gym,” she said. “I was sick of feeling tired, sick and miserable. I wanted to be healthy – truly healthy.”
She knew that losing weight would have to be a two-fold approach so she started going to the gym every night after work – even if it was only for 30 minutes at a time – and then adopted a predominantly vegetarian lifestyle. “I used the internet like crazy,” she explained. “If I craved something chocolate (like brownies) I would research healthier options like flourless black bean brownies. Yum!”
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I’m just throwing it out there, I adore Brigette Underwood. Today’s true weight loss story comes to us from deep in the heart of Mississippi. This southern girl knows her food triggers (fried chicken), but now instead of yo-yo dieting, she’s finding balance and a healthier relationship with food than she’s ever had before. Look at that smile. I want to sit and sip on some sweet tea with you, girl.
More from Brigette in her own words.
Tell me when your weight struggles began. I distinctly remember in 3rd grade a boy asking if I had a baby in my tummy. I was always bigger than my friends. I never felt pretty or accepted because of my weight. I would go through phases of crash dieting and starving myself but obviously none of that worked. I had a very unhealthy relationship with food.
What caused you to realize you needed to change? I realized I needed to change when I had a physical done before I started nursing school. My blood pressure was 150/91, the highest it had ever been, and I weighed a whopping 254lbs. How did I let myself get to that point? I don’t really know. But I knew I needed to change or I was going to have major health problems and I was only 19 years old.
How did you lose the weight? I started by simply down sizing my portions. I wasn’t necessarily eating better but I was eating less. Then one day I decided to join a gym and I fell in love with working out! What a great stress relief from nursing school. The more I worked out the better I wanted to eat. The better I ate, the better I felt.
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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.
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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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 -
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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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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