What Was Your Turning Point?
I was a college student at the time that "IT happened". I was tired of being obese. I was tired of being laughed at by young and old alike. I was tired of the rude remarks from friends, family and complete strangers. My legs and my back ached all of the time. As a matter of fact, I ended up in the hospital for over a week once because my back just quit. My body was telling me that it could no longer support my increasing weight. Vascular and heart disease as well as diabetes run rampant in both sides of my family tree, and I had seen the effects of obesity in several of my relatives over the years, so I was also quite afraid for my future health as well.
I could not do the things that I wanted to. I couldn't run, or ride a horse or even a bicycle. I was so embarrassed that I would not stand up to go to the washroom in a restaurant because I didn't want anyone to look at me. In short, I couldn't live a decent life.
I didn't have a defining moment, or a defining event that pushed me over the edge. It was more of a slowly growing unhappiness about the condition that I had gotten myself into, as well as knowing that if I continued down the path that I was, I would surely end up with circulatory and blood sugar disorders.
How Did You Make The Change?
Well, as I mentioned, when I decided to lose the weight, I was a college student in 2002, so money was very tight. My college did not have a fitness center and joining a gym was financially out of reach for me.
So, using an old, out of date Weight Watcher's system that my sister gave me, and went for walks and counted points. After graduation, I joined a small local gym and started with a very VERY beginner's circuit training and cardio routine.
It nearly killed me, but I had a good, upbeat trainer and a whole lot of desire. I slowly moved out of the circuit training and progressed into 4 and 5 day splits. But at that point, I had been at it for 2 years and had said good-bye to 116 pounds.
I then had to move across the country from Ontario to Alberta for work. By this time I was bored with my training and struggling to keep the weight off.
Quite by accident, I ran into a bodybuilding trainer and signed on with him. He and his wife (a competitive BB'er and trainer herself). Over the next year, they helped me to increase my muscle mass and shed another 15 pounds to hit the stage at my first show in 2005 at 125 pounds. This made for a total weight loss of 131 pounds over a period of 3 years.
What Is Your Current Diet Plan?
With a few slight variations, my diet stays the same for most days.
- Breakfast - 1 cup liquid egg whites, 1 slice fat free cheese, 1.25 ounces whole grain cereal (low sugar), 3/4 cup skimmed milk.
- AM Snack - 1 piece of fruit, 4 ounces of fat free cottage cheese.
- Lunch - 2 low carb tortillas, 7 ounces of chicken breast or lean beef, 3 ounces of mixed raw veggies.
- Afternoon Snack - 2 scoops whey protein powder, 3 ounces mixed raw veggies.
- Dinner - 3 ounces baked potato, 6 ounces chicken breast, lean beef or fish, 3 ounces of mixed raw veggies.
- PM Snack - 1.5 scoops whey protein powder, 1.25 ounces whole grain cereal (low sugar), 1/2 cup skimmed milk.
What Supplements Did Your Use?
During the initial weight loss, I used a daily multivitamin/mineral supplement. That's all. Later on, when I began training for a show, I began using some fat burners, protein powders, CLA, BCAAs, L-Glutamine, as well as creatine in the off-season.
How Do You Currently Train?
|Monday - Chest|
|Chin Up||20-30 minutes|
|Seated Cable Row or T-Bar Row||5||6 to 12|
|One Arm Dumbbell Row||3||10|
|Lat Pull Down||4||10|
|Standing Barbell Curl||7||8 to 12|
|Alternate Standing Dumbbell Curl||3||8 to 12|
|Upper Cable Curl or Preacher Curl||5||12|
|Monday - Chest|
|Barbell Bench Press||7||6 to 10|
|Incline Bench Press||4||6 to 10|
|Dumbbell Flys or Pec Dec||3||10|
|Tricep Extension or Skullcrushers||7||8 to 12|
|Tricep Pushdowns||5||8 to 12|
|Tricep Extension with Rope||3||12|
|Monday - Chest|
|Leg Press||7||6 to 10|
|Hack Squat||4||6 to 10|
|Seated Calf Raise||5||10 to 15|
|Standing Calf Raise||5||10 to 15|
|Monday - Chest|
|Stiff Leg Deadlift||7||8 to 12|
|Leg Curl||5||8 to 12|
|Seated Leg Curl||4||8 to 12|
|Shoulder Press||5||8 to 12|
|Bent Over Rear Laterals or Cable Rear Laterals||4||10|
I am currently changing my cardio from machines to functional training. I am employing Scott Abel's MET training for this purpose, and plan to replace more of my resistance training with MET.
Advice For Others
If you are looking at a large amount of weight loss, break it into small segments in your mind and it won't feel so bad. Set a goal, and then hire the best trainer that you can afford that specializes in, and has a passion for that same goal. Cut yourself some slack, and realize that there will be set backs and unexpected events in your life. You can't control them… just hang on and enjoy the ride as much as you can.
Develop a support group of like-minded individuals, and ditch those people from your life who are negative or who hold you back in any way. Work on developing a strong, quiet resolve… it will get you where you want to go.
In hindsight, the biggest tip that I can share is to avoid so-called 'extreme diets', low calorie diets or diets that exclude entire food groups for long periods of time. Diets like this can do permanent damage to your metabolism, and doom you to a future of fatness.
Barb, you are an inspiration!!!
I am at the before stage and have just had the moment that makes me want to get my body back to its best.
Thanx for telling your story.
What an amazing transformation!
Thanks for the advice and keep up the fabulous work! You are an inspiration!