Family Status: Single
Occupation: Bartender and Artist
Hometown: Lopatcong Township, New Jersey
Pounds or Inches Lost: I lost 40 pounds and 28.5 inches!
Starting Weight: 206 pounds
Current Weight: 166 pounds
Karen’s Weight Loss Success Story
My name is Karen and I was never thin by magazine standards, but I was always healthy, strong and fit. Then my 40th birthday passed, and my body became someone else’s. It crept up on me and I didn’t recognize myself. I couldn’t stand to look in a full-length mirror, I hated to shop anymore, and hid under big clothes from the men’s department. How did this happen? I felt horrible, it seemed like everything hurt. It was tough to go down the stairs in the morning. My hands were always falling asleep, I winded at the slightest bit of physical exertion. I was always tired. I was weak. I was miserable. It was hopeless! I had genetically inherited all the worst of my family. I looked in the mirror of my future. I was looking at weight problems, diabetes, knee and hip replacement, arthritis, heart attack! I became more and more depressed. I joined the local gym but I wasn’t getting results. I went to the gym less and less. What was the point anyway?
On the odd occasion that I did hit the gym, I would read the fitness magazines and dream about having a perfect body. I remember a before and after story of a woman that got into incredible shape after participating in a contest at her gym. I would be happy to look like her before picture, but I recognized in her story, the depression of losing herself in the body that she wasn’t comfortable with. All I needed was a contest to kick me into gear.
But there was no contest, I was never very competitive anyway…my future remained bleak. Two weeks later, flyers around the gym announced a body challenge! It was only 8 weeks. I decided that I was going to do it. Danielle, the personal trainer/dietician at the gym, took my measurements and weight. I was shocked at those numbers! I needed to do this! She then helped me figure out my workouts and showed me how to eat correctly. I kept a diet journal of everything I ate. I recorded all my workouts and how I was feeling. I hurt so much the first week, but I was so proud of myself for sticking out the pain, that it fueled my determination. Now I was interested in seeing how far I could push myself, and could I push harder than the others, and actually win this contest?
I ate lots of protein, fruits and vegetables. No more processed or fast foods. No more soda. I cooked basic food, it tasted good and I was starting to actually feel good! My diet was clean and it made all the difference. My clothes started to hang on me. My body shrank and I felt stronger. By the end of the 8 weeks, I had lost 25 lbs. and reduced my body fat by 14%! I won the contest, I got some prizes. I didn’t redeem the prize certificates for months, because the real prize was winning my life back!
I got to enjoy clothes shopping again, I felt good, no more pain in the morning! I won some personal training sessions with Danielle, and she really helped me tone up. I’m 44, and I’m still not thin by magazine standards. But I am down 40 lbs. from that desperate day that I signed up to challenge myself, and my body fat is in a healthy range. I didn’t need to shed half my total weight to feel like I lost a whole person. I did lose a whole person…the sad, unhealthy person that weighed me down. If I didn’t lose that 40 lb. “person”, I’m sure I would have continued to become bigger, unhealthier, and more depressed. I’m not sure I could’ve battled something of that size.
Karen’s Weight Loss Interview!
When did you become unhappy with your weight?
It was the summer of 2004 that I realized that I could only still fit into my sunglasses. I had to do something!
What made you decide to lose weight?
I couldn’t stand how I felt or looked anymore. I did not want to be plagued with the health problems of my mother (heart attack, bypass surgery, diabetes, bad knees and now dialysis).
What were the most important changes you made to lose weight?
I had always been physically able to get into an exercise program, but it was the drastic change in the way I ate that made a huge difference. I pretty much dropped all fast, fried, and processed foods.
What was most challenging about losing weight?
It took a lot of time at first to prepare my meals because nothing was out of a package. Finding time to burn calories with lots of cardio was a challenge as well.
How long did it take you to start to see results?
I saw results on the scale in just one week, but it was about three to four weeks to see a difference in the mirror and the way my clothes fit.
How long did it take for you to reach your current weight?
About eight months.
How long have you maintained your weight loss and how do you do it?
I did have a relapse of some weight gain this past winter. Some tough times and some losses of loved ones had me seeking comfort in too many carbs. I knew I could not keep that up for long so I went back on my program and lost what I gained in six weeks.
How has your life changed now that you’ve lost weight?
I feel better. I look better. I know that my mothers state of health does not need to be my future.
Karen’s Weight Loss Tips!
Weight loss tip #1:
Weight loss tip #2:
Drink lots of water.
Weight loss tip #3:
Weight loss tip #4:
Weight loss tip #5:
Take photos to see results.
Karen’s Weight Loss Eating Plan!
Protein pancakes or oatmeal.
Chicken or fish with salad or vegetables.
Chicken or fish with salad or vegetables.
Snacks or Mini Meals:
Yogurt, almonds, protein bars, protein shakes with fruit and beef jerky.
Karen’s Weight Loss Workouts!
I went to the gym mostly 5 times a week and did 3 sets of two to three exercises per body part. I would exercise two body parts per day with abs every other day.
35 to 60 minutes of treadmill with incline!