Meet Michele. She is a registered dietitian and knows what it’s like to struggle with weight. She will be contributing her knowledge to the blog, but I thought it would be important for you to get to know her a little better. She has a pretty incredible story.
As a child I was average size with tons of energy, but I was born with a hole in my heart. At age 8 I had open heart surgery to repair the hole. In order for my ribs to properly heal I was not allowed to run/jump for 3 months. This was the start of my weight gain. My weight went from 56lbs to 83lbs and my metabolism went in the toilet. And a lifetime of dieting began! What 8 yr old takes an orange to a birthday party to have instead of cake?
Through school I tried many diets including weight watchers and slim fast. At times I would even get into working out; I would do Jane Fonda workouts before school and run/walk the track after school. My self image was all wrapped up in my body and I saw myself much larger then I actually was. Along with the yo-yo dieting my weight fluctuated a lot during the school years. I found myself constantly reading about health and diet. My cousin Lisa was in college to become a dietitian. I asked her what a dietitian does and she made it sound very simple. But all I was reading about was health and diet. Soon I was asking her what courses I should take.
In college the excuses really began, reasons to allow myself to eat junk, to eat in excess, to eat whatever. As I was trying to find myself, learning to be an independent adult I ate more and more for things other than hunger. With this came guilt, especially since my major was dietetics/nutrition. This was the time when my weight started to really increase. By age 19, I was up to 220lbs.
The spiral downward continued through my 20’s! As I was continuing my education and trying to live on my own the excuses to eat poorly took on a life of its own. It took me some years to identify the core reasons of why I was doing this. I ate when I was bored, lonely, or frustrated. Food solves none of these issues! But it was a really bad habit and habits are hard to break.
I am a creature of habit, always determined or stubborn (I am Italian) depending how you look at it! It took me many years with a few life interruptions to complete my bachelors’ degree. While working on my masters and completing my internship I became a little more focused on diet and exercise, but not truly for the right reason. Who is going to listen to a registered dietitian who now weighs over 260lbs? I lost about 15-20 lbs but that didn’t last for long.
Fast forward a few years to 2009. My life was starting to become settled. My career was moving forward and the excuses to eat poorly were gone. Exercise was still something I only did on an occasional basis. My weight was at an all time high. This was my rock bottom, a number I’d never thought I would get up to. Although it wasn’t until months later when co-workers mentioned bootcamp that I would truly do something about it.
Bootcamp was the key and I was hooked from the first class. I became strict with my diet. Bootcamp is tough and challenging, I did not want to have any extra calories to burn. Being a dietitian I certainly know how to eat right. I lost 194 lbs by consuming 1300-1500 calories. My diet was moderate in carbs, high protein, and low in fat. I almost always stay within my calorie level, this is very important. I also make sure to take in plenty of fluids and keep my diet high in fiber. The weight started to fall off, which also increased my confidence and helped fueled me forward. I hate hate hate plateaus! This was usually a sign to increase my workouts. I started doing bootcamp 3x/wk. Along the way I have gradually increased to 6 days/wk up to 2 hrs/day.
Bootcamp was a major key to the puzzle but it was also me setting rewards for myself along the way. Such as going to Myrtle beach, SC at 100lbs lost and to New Orleans, LA when my BMI was below obese range. I started to learn to accept all the encouragement and compliments. Another big push to my weight loss, I started running. Love an endorphin rush!! I can now do a 5K in 29 minutes. Being fit, thin, and strong feels Fabulous! I will never never go back to where I was. From the ultimate couch potato who lived for TV to someone who’s second home is the gym. Once a size 26/28 I am now a size 4. I have truly transformed!