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Another NOT the Biggest Loser…

Fri, Jan 28, 2011

Guest Posts

I am grateful to Coco for making the time to share her experience. She we tweeted after my Not the Biggest Loser blog post and I asked her to share her thoughts here.

I was overweight all my life and have the chubby baby pictures and painful child memories to prove it.

I was a size 12 high school, and although I might have gotten down to a size 8 for a few minutes in college, I pretty much was a size 12 throughout my 20s, including before and after having my two children. My weight crept up further during law school and studying for the bar exam, and I reached the 14/16 ranges.

Since I am 5’1” when I stand up straight, it was hard to find “petite” clothes that would fit.

My wake-up call came with a yearly physical, where my doctor said that I had to get my blood pressure down or I would have to start taking blood pressure medication. At 32, I thought I was too young to start taking pills I would need to take for the rest of my life.

I started by following a Slim-Fast® plan—you know, “one for breakfast, one for lunch, and then a sensible dinner.” Needless to say, I was miserable.

While I didn’t mind the taste of the shakes, I felt deprived with my liquid meals. Then a friend had great success on the Atkins’ Diet, so I decided to try that. It was amazing. I lost weight every day and didn’t feel hungry with all the bacon and eggs, ham and cheese and pork rinds I could eat.

By December I had lost 20 pounds, but couldn’t resist Christmas cookies or all the other baked goods that are forbidden on Atkins. I fell off the wagon, but noticed how much more energy I had with carbs back in my life, so I wasn’t eager to climb back on.

Come New Year’s, I started a food exchange plan that was in Woman’s Day magazine.

It was a well-balanced plan and, while the weight came off more gradually, it was something I could follow. By Easter I had lost at total of 40 lbs, and was a size 2-something I had never even imagined!

But, all was not well. I lost the weight without exercising and think I must have lost every ounce of muscle that might have kept my metabolism going. I had to follow a strict 1200 calorie plan, or the scale would jump up.

I was frustrated and getting desperate, but found a great on-line support group on eDiets.com. With my fellow “Maintainiacs,” I learned to make exercise part of my daily routine. That helped stabilize my weight, but I struggled with emotional eating. I would eat 100% on-plan all day, and then come home and bury my stress in a package of Oreos or box of cereal, or both, easily adding 500 calories or more to my day’s tally.

It’s taken me 10 years to get that monkey off my back, but I managed to keep my weight relatively stable throughout the process, mostly by kicking up the exercise.

In the era of The Biggest Loser, my 40 lb weight loss hardly merits a mention, but I did have to change my life to keep the weight off.

The changes to my eating habits are almost too boring to list-I basically enjoy a super foods-focused diet with an emphasis on whole grains, lean protein and lots or fruits and veggies, but I indulge daily in dark chocolate. The more important changes relate to my emotional health.

I had to find healthy outlets for my stress and coping mechanisms that weren’t so self-destructive.

I learned to stand up for myself, to express my needs, and to set boundaries.

I learned to “put on my own oxygen mask first” and realized that I can take care of myself without sacrificing my family’s well-being or giving up success at work.

I know that losing weight didn’t solve all my problems, but I am much happier with my life than I ever was before. I have more energy and get more enjoyment from everyday activities, and when I can’t find jeans that fit right, I blame the designers, not my curves.

Now that’s a good feeling!




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20 Responses to “Another NOT the Biggest Loser…”

  1. Mallory says:

    Congratz and what a wonderful story! I have about 40-50 total to lose, but am sticking to my 25 by 25 goal at the moment. Trying to get away from law school as an excuse and accept the fact that my chosen prgession is a lot of sitting on my arse. No excuse not to get up and move for a hour each day.

    Thanks for the inspiration. I’m on my second trip to losing it, SO nice to know you CAN keep it off too!

  2. Sheri says:

    Great story! You’ve been around the block like I have like most of us have. I’m so happy you succeeded you look great and strong!

  3. Reen says:

    Great post and thank you to Coco for sharing. It is still so inspiring to me to hear other people’s stories. Although I have lost 75 pounds and have maintained it for a year and a half, it’s still a benefit for me to hear everyone’s stories.

  4. JustDaisy says:

    This is such an inspiring story. So true to life, and so much like my own it’s actually a bit scary. However, my journey is only mid-way to my ultimate goal.

    It’s nice to hear that a reasonable goal is most definitely achievable and maintainable as long as we find the right balance of food and fitness.

    Thank you for sharing your story Coco.

  5. Coco says:

    A big thanks to MizFit for letting me share my “not the biggest loser” story here. :-D

    If there’s one “lesson” I would want others to take from it, it would be to NEVER GIVE UP. You can see that I followed several different “diets” to lose the weight, and I kept at when emotional/stress eating threatened to sabotage my efforts.

    Thanks to all of you who are up early and have commented so far. I wasn’t expecting such nice comments directed to me-I don’t know what I was expecting, actually. This was one of those gut reaction, take the plunge, put it out there things!

    Mallory - LOL, being an attorney is a stresful, a$$-sitting job indeed! That’s one reason that exercise is so important to me- I need those endorphins to get through the day.

    JustDaisy - As I “meet” more people on-line, I am finding so many people with stories that resonante with my own. Congratulations on making so much progress towards your goal. Every step closer is worth celebrating.

  6. KCLAnderson (Karen) says:

    Whoo hoo! Coco’s in MizFit’s house! :-)

    Thanks for sharing your story so eloquently Coco!

    One thing I want to add is that I’ve “known” Coco through eDiets for several years now. She is one of the most supportive, consistent, persistent people I know.

  7. Hanlie says:

    Well done Coco! I loved reading your story. Thanks for the inspiration!

  8. Peggy says:

    I love your story. You are right on, it’s not about how much you can loose and how fast you can loose it. It is about feeling good and making the kind of lifestyle choices that will keep you healthy for the long haul.

  9. charlotte says:

    Great story - I’m so glad you shared it here! It’s nice to hear about people’s after after story you know? I always wonder what happens after the “after” photo is taken and they have to move into maintenance. Thanks you for this!

  10. Alyssa says:

    Thank you for sharing your story!
    TBL has put such a damper on regular peoples’ success. 40 pounds lost and kept off is nothing to sneeze at!

  11. Coco says:

    Thanks again, everyone. And thanks, Karen, for the extra shout-out. You have been a great friend through this journey too, and while we have taken different paths, our journeys have been amazingly in synch!

  12. Jody - Fit at 53 says:

    Loved this & than you so much for sharing & helping others! Losing weight is not a one package thing. We all have to find what works for us & often we have to find it more than once! I know I have!

    I LOVE Carla for sharing these stories! I lost 40 pounds way back when I have had a small up & down story, a story of doing things wrong & learning the right in my 30′s & 40′s but still keeping thew weight off the wrong way.

    I honor those that have lost tons of weight but I think those of us that have lost 25, 30, 35 or 40 pounds get sort of pushed to the side as a story that is is not enough in thus day & age to share…. and for those of us that have kept if off for years & years, I do think that is a story to tell.

    Thank you for sharing - both of you!

  13. Patrick says:

    Excellent message in here about the importance that exercise plays in our ability to maintain our weight. Any of losing a bunch now who think when we hit goal that we can knock down the exercise ought to think different.

  14. christieo says:

    wow your story is so much like mine, with the 5’1 and everything. i really *love* your “put my oxygen mask on first” metaphor, it is exactly true and right. It takes so much to get there, thanks so much for sharing your amazing journey. It doesn’t have to be more than 100 pounds to make the journey amazing, no matter what it’s still a soul-searching one and NOT easy. Congratulations!

  15. Dr. J says:

    Thanks for a very honest story! In the end, losing weight isn’t exciting just plain smart!

  16. Coco says:

    Again, I am overwhlemd by your kind comments!

    Jody, yes, keeping the weight off is another story, and isn’t as exhilerating as watching the pounds drop and your clothes get too big, but its an important part of the process that most of the weight loss industry ignores.

    Partrick, I don’t think I learned how to be healthy until I learned to make exercise part of my life.

    Christie, Dr. J, thank you!

  17. Lisa says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. I find so much to relate to in what you have written. I am a huge fan of the Biggest Loser, but I “only” had 50 pounds to lose when I started my healthy living journey and although the contestants are inspiring, I don’t see myself in their journeys so much. Your story inspires me because you seem more like me. Also, the longer I am on this journey the more I realize that the mental/emotional aspect of the process is at least as important as the food and exercise aspects. Thanks again for sharing your story.

  18. Wifey says:

    What a GREAT story! Thanks for sharing and inspiring.

    Winks & Smiles,

  19. Nina says:

    Congratulations Coco! I also found that I ate for many emotional reasons and the fear of people. It was a way to isolate and shut down. I have been recovered from emotional eating and all eating disorders for several years now and I love helping others do the same. It is possible to recover and make peace with food and your weight. I hardly ever think about food today and basically eat what I want without my weight fluctuating at all. I would definitely consider myself an intuitive eater today.


  1. Tweets that mention Another NOT the Biggest Loser… | MizFitOnline -- Topsy.com - January 28, 2011

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Joyce Cherrier, carla birnberg and Gretchen Glasscock, Gretchen Glasscock. Gretchen Glasscock said: Another NOT the Biggest Loser…: I am grateful to Coco for making the time to share her experience. She we tweete… http://bit.ly/eqTDjO [...]

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