Family Status: Single
Hometown: Washington, D.C.
Pounds or Inches Lost: I lost 120 pounds!
Starting Weight: 280 pounds
Current Weight: 160 pounds
Taisha’s Weight Loss Story!
When did you become unhappy with your weight?
I have been overweight and or obese, to use medical terminology for nearly all of my youth. I was the chubby one in grade school into junior high school, and as I put on more weight I became the obese girl through high school and into college. Reaching my largest weight during my sophomore year of college, when my dorm was further from the main campus and I began to walk less and use 4-RIDE (campus transportation) more. Fortunately I was also blessed with a great parents who instilled me with a strong sense of self-worth and self-esteem. Accordingly, though I occasionally made plans to lose weight, I never felt that I was unattractive, or less worthy as a result of my weight. Actually it was more my interest in fashion and modeling that led me to focus on my weight as an issue as early as junior high school. I have tried to lose weight in many different ways in my youth. I just never fully committed to making a life change. I always saw it as a diet plan or short-term goal. And as a result whenever the results were not coming quickly enough to satisfy me, I would promptly give up, until I heard about or came up with another get thin fast plan. In the past I failed to lose the weight and begin my new lifestyle, whether I used an ignorant starvation plan, or used the traditional workout, eat right plan. Like the time in junior high school, when I decided to only eat an orange a day to “jump start” my weight loss. Somehow I was able to make it through the week with only an orange a day, but the moment the week was over I went back to my normal way of eating and I gained all of the weight back. Or the time, also in junior high school, when I began working out daily, using the “step” and a workout tape, and eating a reduced calorie diet. I lost 5 pounds in a week and my mother even gave me a greeting card to show me how proud she was of me at the end of the first week. Sadly, that only lasted one week, as I was not in the correct mind frame to continue with that lifestyle at that time. There were definitely times before and after that, when I attempted to work out regularly, but I was never motivated enough to maintain that lifestyle long enough or consistently enough to make a difference. I have even had good friends try to motivate me, but it has been my experience that no one can give you motivation. You have to locate it within yourself, in order to succeed in the long-term. And you have to come to terms with the facts. Once you accept what it takes to lose the weight and make that commitment to yourself to do the work and make the appropriate lifestyle changes to make the weight loss last forever, you are halfway there.
What made you decide to lose weight?
My motivation began with the constant news coverage of weight loss via Gastric Bypass, and all of the resulting success stories. Accordingly, I was very much aware that it is a life threatening surgery and that there are complications and side effects associated with the surgery. However, I was definite in my need and want to lose the weight and my goal of living a more healthy lifestyle. I then finally, came to the realization that the only guaranteed way to lose the weight and keep it off without resorting to surgery was to workout and watch my caloric intake.
What were the most important changes you made to lose weight?
I selected a workout that I believed I could handle and the I believed would hold my interest, and I committed to doing it, every day. I started with the 30 minute Tae-Boe Tape, which was a short time commitment and I found it interesting because it tapped into my previous experience in a self defense class. The key was finding an exercise that I can make time for and enjoy. And as I progressed I varied it accordingly, as my aptitude and interests changed, so did my workouts. Next I knew I would have to look at my eating habits, but as I loved good food and I did not feel ready for any drastic changes, I decided to begin by cutting one thing. I cut out all liquid calories. I completely switched over to water, but when I realized that I missed flavored drinks, I incorporated unsweetened Raspberry Green Tea. The green tea curbed my cravings for flavored drinks and it added many health benefits to my life. As I saw results, it became easier to focus on calories. I began being aware of my calories and allowing myself to still enjoy the foods I love. I still enjoyed pizza, and fried chicken in moderation. To gauge how many calories I needed to reach my goal weight I visited the Self website. So for example if I knew I wanted pizza, I would log on to the restaurant’s website and I would see exactly how many calories are in the pizza I wanted to eat, then I would balance the rest of my meals for that day accordingly. I learned that you need to take an interest in the labels of the food that you take into your body. Know how many calories are in your food. Know the fiber content and watch for trans fat. I switched over to Olive Oil for everything. And I have made Fiber a staple in my daily meals. My main point is that I took it slow and I started with the changes I was most comfortable making. The changes I knew I could stick with because this was a lifestyle change, not a diet, and as my motivation and commitment grew, so did my efforts and my knowledge base. The key is not trying to do everything all at once, the all or nothing mentality will only lead to failure. Most importantly I began this journey as the beginning of a new healthier lifestyle. I did not begin anything as a short-term endeavor. And as a result, I slowly created a lifestyle that I could live with and I have found it to be very successful for me.
What was most challenging about losing weight?
Maintaining my commitment, without visual results. When you have more than 100 pounds to lose, it can take months before you see a big difference. Your friends and family will see it before you and people who see you daily may not see it for a while as well. So in the beginning you need to pull from the inside and take it one day at a time. I focused on keeping my commitment to workout daily, and I did not watch the scale. If you use your clothing size to gauge success, you will be much happier and it is a more valid gauge. Never focus on the scale – with water weight and muscle weighing more than fat, it is not at all helpful. One should only weigh sporadically to be aware of the number.
How long did it take you to start to see results?
A few months. But I watched my size go down and that provided results early.
How long did it take for you to reach your current weight?
1 year to lose 100 pounds. And I have lost the last 20 gradually over the rest of the time, as I was happy after losing 100 pounds.
How long have you maintained your weight loss and how do you do it?
3 years. And it is honestly not an issue nor a struggle. I can’t imagine regaining 120 pounds. And it certainly can’t sneak up on you. And as someone who use to hate and avoid exercise and who loves and celebrates food, I understand the struggle to find balance. I have made a commitment and I have truly learned the secret to loving exercise. I have acquired an appreciation for healthy food, but don’t confuse things, I love food and I will never give up my favorites, I just work out enough and balance my meals to live a happy comfortable life and easily maintain my weight. Health is my priority, not weight, so I would begin to feel sluggish from lack of exercise and poor eating prior to regaining 120 pounds. Additionally, I can always tell if I am at a comfortable healthy weight if I am able to skip workouts for a few weeks without repercussion.
How has your life changed now that you’ve lost weight?
My life has changed in countless ways since my weight loss. I have more energy and I actually feel physically lighter. Carrying around 120 extra pounds takes a huge toll on the body. And I can still remember the first time I ran across the street and felt lighter. Before I loved air-conditioning and I now find that I get cold very easily and that was obviously a result of the extra weight. I have more freedom to shop, as I am no longer regulated to plus sized stores, which generally required doing all of my shopping in one store. And though I always saw myself as a beautiful confident woman, I felt even more confidence. In the past, I was always told I had a beautiful face and that I always dressed very well and now I am complimented on my face, clothes and body and I receive a lot more attention from men. Before, I always avoided sweating, taking the stairs and exercise but I now seek out physical activity. I love to work out, I take the stairs whenever possible, and I actually think hiking is fun. But most importantly making this change has taught me and everyone who knows me that I can do anything I set my mind to, and that there is no challenge to large. It has definitely changed me for the better, especially because it has allowed me to become a resource to help others achieve the same goals.
Taisha’s Weight Loss Tips!
Weight loss tip #1:
Believe you can learn to love exercise & make exercise a priority.
Weight loss tip #2:
Cut out all liquid calories. And add unsweetened (raspberry is my favorite) Green Tea.
Weight loss tip #3:
Eating 6 meals a day speeds up the metabolism in a healthy way. Automate your meals. Removing choices can stabilize calories.
Weight loss tip #4:
Weight Train – It builds muscle which burns calories while at rest.
Weight loss tip #5:
Find a workout partner and share your goal with others – It’s a great motivator! And it holds you accountable!
Taisha’s Weight Loss Eating Plan!
Whole wheat toast with egg and sausage. Or an egg or sausage McMuffin without cheese or butter.
A whole grain wrap, with lean ham, Swiss cheese, red onions and arugula. Or a Tyson’s chicken breast with either arugula, or green beans and marinara, for a quick chicken catchatori (and the green beans will simulate pasta if you use french cut).
This is generally my free meal so it varies – I just try to incorporate a whole grain carb, veggies and a meat. But I also allow my self to choose take-out for this meal.
Snacks or Mini Meals:
Pistachios, bananas, apples, reduced fat cheese sticks, peanut butter filled pretzels, popcorn, and meal replacement bars.
Taisha’s Weight Loss Workouts!
I love weight training! I have 9 pound free weights at home and I use them every other day. I love how you can see a difference in muscle tone, and who doesn’t love the fact that muscle burns calories while we rest!
In the beginning 30 minutes of Tae-Boe everyday. And I would take long (1 to 2 hour) walks on the weekends. And now I do 45 minutes – and hour or more of various types of cardio (I’m loving the stair climber now!).