Angela lost an amazing 120 pounds.
Now 44 years old, Angela says with her improved health she feels like she’s 24.
It was a long two and half year journey, a journey kicked off by an unfortunate injury and a visit to the doctor.
Angela says that she “was a professional yo-yo dieter.”
She had struggled with her weight her whole life and dealt with negative feelings about how she looked.
The start of Angela’s amazing and successful 120 pound weight loss began when she injured her Achilles.
“I went to see an orthopedist,” says Angela.
Her doctor laid out her choices.
“He told me that I needed to decide if I was going to be fit or fat and that I couldn’t be both, that my body was not going to sustain the amount of weight and pressure that I was putting on it.
He told me if I was going to be fortunate enough to have this injury heal without surgery then I needed to something about it.”
“I was already exercising but I didn’t have the diet to go along with it,” Angela explains how a change to healthier eating contributed most to her weight loss.
“When people say it’s a lifestyle it truly is a lifestyle, it’s everything you do, and it starts with what you put in your mouth because that’s 23 hours.
The one hour that you spend at the gym, that’s a very small part of it, so you’ve got to be able to control what you’re doing outside of the gym.”
“Learning how to put the correct food on my plate, the right amount of protein, eating vegetables with every meal changed my world, I called it, eating across the rainbow.
I made sure I had a red vegetable, a yellow vegetable, an orange vegetable and a green vegetable and just to make it very filling and to make sure I got all my vitamins and then I always allowed myself a carb.”
“People say no carbs, but I’m going to say there are good carbs.
There are sweet potatoes, there’s brown rice, there are things that you can do that you still get those carbs in there, because if you’re not feeding your body with that you’re going to go into craving mode.”
To help her stay on track, Angela turned to Jenny Craig.
“I did go to Jenny Craig,” says Angela.
“I needed them more for counseling more so than the food.
I don’t know if you know a lot about Jenny Craig, they do offer food but they also offer support and talking about why I made the choices to eat what I ate, talking about the struggles that I had, because half of our social calendar is built around a table with food on it and learning how to manage that.”
“It was really, really important,” she adds.
“If you don’t have a trainer or a coach walking along with you you’ll find a lot of excuses really fast, so I did add that on to it.”
Angela talks about how managing her weight is about making choices every day.
“I mean, I still have days where I want ice cream,” she says.
“But, instead of ice cream I’ll go for a tart yogurt with some fruit or some dark chocolate in it.”
“I don’t beat myself up but I don’t do it every day, whereas when I was overweight I would have those habits every day.
Now it’s just, hey, I’m really wanting this, my body’s really wanting it, I’m going to have it and I don’t beat myself up and I just start over the next day.”
“I constantly work out,” says Angela about its importance in keeping at her desired weight.
“I walk and I try to hit 10,000 steps a day and measure that with a pedometer or a Fit Bit whatever you have and I just keep moving.”
Stress can often become an obstacle.
Angela talks about how she deals with stress, “when I’m stressed I talk about it.
I don’t let it build up inside of me and I don’t eat my stress.
Learning how to manage all that has really helped.
Again, not beating myself up on a day where I had something sweet because I’ve worked hard and we’re all human, and again it has to be a lifestyle.
We’re not going to live in a bubble so it’s never going to be perfect.”
Angela recognizes stress leads to feeding those temptations, so she developed habits to deal with stress.
“The best advice that I had and I still use it today,” she says about stress and eating.
“I will drink a glass of water when I feel like I’m wanting something, because usually if you’re really, really hungry a glass of water’s not going to fill you up, but usually if it’s a stress or something it’s going to calm your stomach a little bit.”
“The other thing I’ll do if I’m really, really super stressed, I’ll take a walk around the block or when I was working at the office complex I would walk around the building, just getting some fresh air or a just a change of scenery helped me refocus.”
Another strategy Angela has for controlling how much she eats is to focus on eating.
“The other thing I am very, very adamant about is,” Angela says. “I never eat lunch in front of anything with a screen, that means my computer, my TV or anything like that.
“Lunch is lunch and food is part visual, so if you’re not focused in on the food that you’re eating and you’re watching TV you’ll end up eating more or you’ll end up working more.
That’s part of the stress thing because you need to take time away to just refocus, reset and by the doing that it’s made a huge difference.
It’s amazing what 30 minutes refocusing a day will do for you.”
“I would say the biggest obstacle was my mind,” says Angela about exercise and the obstacles she had to overcome.
“In my mind I felt like because I was overweight I couldn’t do the exercises that were being asked of me, but the truth is I think that was a little bit of an excuse.
I did have an injury, the Achilles injury that I was dealing with and I still deal with to today, and I pushed past it because a lot of that is mental and knowing that I can do it.”
“If I physically can’t do it and I’ve given it the good old college try, then I ask for a modification, and then just knowing that I may not be able to do a 36 inch box jump but I can do a 24 inch.
When I first started I couldn’t even do a six inch box jump.
I mean, [ laughs ] it was crazy but I had to go and mentally reset my mind to be like, you can do this, you’ve just got to get your head out of your way.
So, I would say my biggest obstacle was my head. [ laughs ]”
For exercise, Angela prefers to do a wide variety of cardio and body weight exercises that she can do anywhere.
“I always do some type of 30 minute cardio,” she says.
“Whether that would be running or we have the Percy Priest Dam here in Nashville, Tennessee which is a high elevation hill and I will go and run that about 10 times.”
“I will run stairs, do stair jumps and I love a good jump rope and I keep a jump rope in my car.
If there’s a lot of traffic I’ll pull myself over in a parking lot and I’ll jump rope.
I do a lot of squats, lots of planks, I probably need to incorporate additional weights, that’s a goal that I have for the future, but for now I like using my own body weight because no matter where I’m at I’ve always got that with me so I can do that workout anywhere.”
Angela goes into detail about her daily eating plan.
“When I get up in the morning for breakfast I will have a whole wheat English muffin with a little bit of feta cheese, a little bit of spinach and I will put that in the toaster oven.
I’ll have half of a banana and if I want some caffeine I’ll have that or I may have a small glass of chocolate milk just because it’s in the morning and I kind of like it.”
She also says that if she wants a snack, Angela’s snacks usually consist of some of the following: half of a protein bar, a glass of milk, string cheese or almonds.
“For lunch I love salad,” continues Angela.
“So, I’ll make up several salads at the beginning of the week because I do some meal prep.
I’ll have a salad with chicken or fish, a protein on it, sometimes I’ll use like ground chicken and make like a taco salad or my version of it and throw some Greek yogurt on it.”
“For dinner I usually do like either a sweet potato, brown rice, some type of veggie, green beans, asparagus, and broccoli, something green and something orange.
I usually will dice up a little bit of a red pepper and throw that in there for some color.
I like raw squash so I may throw that in there as well and then I’ll have a protein with that.”
When she needs a late night snack, Angela says her guilty pleasure is to take a Greek yogurt cup, freeze it and mix it in with a little bit of sugar free pudding mix.
Angela’s husband, Tim, has benefitted from her healthy eating plan.
He’s lost 80 pounds.
Much of the healthy eating is the result of smart substitutions.
“I also do what I would call some healthy hacks,” she says about modifying recipes.
“If he wants brownies I’ll take a Betty Crocker brownie mix and I’ll make it with pumpkin dre, super good and he has no clue what’s in it.
He’s like, why are these so chewy, and I’m thinking, if you only knew you probably wouldn’t be eating them.”
“People that have children can disguise what they put in the food, it’s the same with Tim.
We’ll make a baked taco dish which has black beans and ground chicken and he thinks it is ground beef.
I’ll put in some salsa, onions, green peppers, but it doesn’t have any tortilla chips.
Then I will slice up a little bit of avocado which he used to not eat.
It’s just getting him past the, try it you might like it thing.”
Most importantly, other than starting her journey sooner, Angela would have reached out for support.
“I would probably have done it sooner,” she says.
“[I] would have done it better. I wouldn’t have done more of the yo-yo, I would have sought assistance sooner.
I would have gotten a nutritionist, a trainer, somebody to walk through it with me.
I think too often I tried to start on my own and just didn’t have enough will power to push myself through to where I could get to the point where I was mentally strong.”
By the way, if you stumble in your efforts to get healthy, just get back up.
What happened yesterday, doesn’t matter. Just get back on track and keep moving forward.