Family Status: Single
Hometown: Asheville, North Carolina
Starting Weight: 265 pounds
Current Weight: 155 pounds
Current Waist Size: Size 6
Beverly’s Weight Loss Interview!
How much did you lose?
I have lost 110 pounds and 20 pants sizes!
When did you become unhappy with your weight?
I was always a little chubby. I didn’t start being unhappy with my weight until I reached my twenties. I spent all of my twenties and most of my thirties being obese.
What made you decide to lose weight?
After having my last son I decided to lose weight. I got pregnant with my last child when my second son was 18 years old. I decided that it was time to lose the weight so that I could properly raise my youngest son. I felt like I was too big to raise him and I was also having health problems at the time. My blood pressure was always high (190/110) and I was always having heart palpitations along with a little sleep apnea. I felt like I couldn’t raise my son with all of those health problems and that I needed to be there for him so I decided to do something about it and chose to live a healthier lifestyle.
What were the most important changes you made to lose weight?
The most important changes that I made during my weight loss journey were:
#1. Portion Control: It is so important to learn how much to eat at each meal. In America, our plate sizes are huge and we tend to fill our plates without measuring or knowing what a true portion size really is. So the first thing I learned was how much to eat. I also learned how to read nutrition labels and measure my food to learn what a true portion size was. When eating out, if the portion is large, I like to immediately put half of my food in a to-go box and save it for later and then fill up on water and unsweetened tea. I save the other half for when I get hungry later.
#2. Eating Clean: I learned how to eat clean during my journey. I’m a Southern girl, so I was used to fatback grease in my vegetables. I was used to fried chicken, fried pork chops, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn bread and biscuits. I had to learn how to prepare my food healthier and make it taste as “Southern” as I could. So when I make my vegetables, instead of frying fatback or using any kind of bacon grease to put in it, I use olive oil and a little bit of garlic. I no longer fry anything in my house. I bake all of my meat. I have cut back on meat, but when I decide to have it, I only eat chicken, turkey or fish. I work for a restaurant where the concept is “farm-to-table” or “soil-to-city”. They are always coming up with fantastic ways to fix fresh produce. I always ask for tips on how to cook healthier dishes.
#3. Finding My Fitness: During my first visit to the gym I thought that I was going to die! My little sister took me to a spin class at the local gym and I literally wanted to kill her by the time the class was over 🙂 They also have other classes like boot camp and Zumba and weight lifting. I decided to join a boot camp class and it was that class that made me who I am today. I learned so much from that hardcore class but I thought that I would give up. The instructor would not allow me to give up. I eventually fell in love with fitness! I started doing everything from weight lifting to yoga. I even became a licensed Zumba Instructor. I kept it moving, got active and never stopped!
What was the most challenging thing you had to deal with during your weight loss journey?
I would honestly have to say that negativity from other people was my most challenging thing to deal with. People don’t like what they don’t understand and no one understood why I wanted to lose weight.
How long did it take you to start to see results?
I started to see results in about 6 weeks. I was a cashier at a local drug store when I first started my journey, so many of my customers noticed a change before I did. I noticed that my work pants were getting looser. I would track my progress by the holes I used in my belt.
How long did it take for you to reach your current weight?
It has taken me 5 years to reach my current weight. It took me 1 year to lose 75 pounds. Of course I hit many plateaus, but I wouldn’t stop. After the initial year it took me another 4 years to lose 35 pounds slowly. I took my time to learn my body and work through my plateaus.
Did you have any issues with loose skin after losing the weight? If so, how did you deal with it (surgery, etc)?
I do have loose skin around my stomach because my stomach was really big. I also have loose skin under my arms which I call my “bat wings”, but with strength training I’ve slowly been able to shrink some of that loose skin. I will not have surgery to fix any loose skin mainly because I’m afraid to go under the knife, but by the time I am finished building the body that I want I don’t think that I will have too much of a problem with any more loose skin. I plan to keep strength training to get leaner so hopefully my skin will tighten up as I go along.
How long have you maintained your weight loss and what are the most important factors for keeping it off?
I have maintained my weight loss for about 5 years. Again, it took me 1 year to lose 75 pounds and over the course of the next 4 years I lost an additional 35 pounds. The important factor for keeping the weight off is to never stop working out. Try to workout at least 3-4 times a week. 45 minutes to an hour is all you need. I also eat as clean as I can. Of course I allow myself to have treats, but in moderation. It’s pretty easy to go workout, but the difficult thing is controlling what we put on our plates.
What keeps you motivated to continue your weight loss success?
3 years ago, I started a group on Facebook called “We Walk”. This group started with 3 women (including myself), and now the group is 515 people strong. These are the people who keep me motivated. They are the people who also keep me inspired because I keep them inspired and motivated as well. I post tips, videos and other fun things to keep us all motivated to live healthier lifestyles. We also do challenges every month. You have to surround yourself with like-minded people. These are people who want to live a healthier lifestyle and want to change their unhealthy habits. My son also motivates me to continue on my journey because I want to see him grow up and have a family so he can give me grandchildren. My love for health and fitness alone keeps me motivated.
How has your life changed now that you have lost weight?
Oh goodness, where do I start! First, my health is 10 times better. I am no longer taking 4 blood pressure medications. I do still take them but only two low-dosage pills. I no longer snore and my A1C levels are normal. I even quit smoking! After 20 years of smoking, I decided to quit! My cholesterol levels are down as well. I have so much energy that I wonder where it comes from sometimes! My knees and back no longer hurt.
Do you have any advice for others who are trying to lose weight?
You have to make a total lifestyle change! Don’t diet and don’t take pills. Learn how to eat clean and learn how to feed your body good food. You have to be determined to be healthy. Don’t give up! Reach out for advice and help from support groups because they really do help!
How did ShapeFit help you reach your weight loss goals?
ShapeFit.com has awesome articles and testimonials! This website is great for nutrition information and fitness facts. I couldn’t afford a personal trainer, so several websites like ShapeFit helped me to learn how to be healthy!
Beverly’s Weight Loss Tips!
Weight Loss Tip #1:
Take your time and lose weight the right way. Take baby steps! It’s hard to jump from eating Whoppers to tofu overnight! So make small changes in your eating habits (notice I didn’t say diet). Instead of white bread and pastas, try whole wheat or whole grain. Instead of white sugar, try sugar in the raw, honey, or agave nectar. You have to try new things in order to know whether or not you like them. I now know that I hate eggplant, but I love kale. I had to try them because I never had any of that as a child. Learn how to feed your body nutritious food!
Weight Loss Tip #2:
Find your fitness! You must move! Even if you start with a 10 minute walk 3 times a day, at least you are doing something! With all of the different fitness option out there, you are bound to find something that may interest you. Find something fun. If you like being outside, take a nice hike and if you like to dance, try Zumba! Don’t be afraid of exercise. Of course it won’t feel good at first. Yes, you will be tired and you will be sweaty, but if you keep going your body will begin to enjoy it!
Weight Loss Tip #3:
Keep track of your progress! I cannot tell you how many before and after photos are in my phone! I post so many in my fitness group on Facebook and on Instagram! I mainly do them to show myself what can be accomplished. I was in awe of the transformation my body was going through. In hindsight, I wish that I would have blogged more, but never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that fitness would have taken me this far. Be proud of those before and after photos! Blog your journey because you just never know who you are inspiring!
Weight Loss Tip #4:
Lift weights! I was afraid at first to start strength training. I thought if I lifted weights I would bulk up. I was told by a personal trainer that I wouldn’t bulk up and that adding weights to my regimen would make me leaner. She was right! When I added weights to my workouts I noticed more inches being lost. I noticed how tone my legs and butt were getting, so I kept going! Adding weights is an amazing way to transform your body!
Weight Loss Tip #5:
Never give up! You can’t expect to lose 50 pounds in 1 month. You must not get discouraged when you don’t see a drop on the scale. Don’t throw in the towel when you see a rise in the numbers. Just stay your course and know that you are doing this for yourself so keep going. Remember, it’s a total lifestyle change so make it habit and you will see results and keep it off!
Beverly’s Weight Loss Eating Plan!
What do you normally eat for breakfast?
I have breakfast in two phases on most days. I have to be at work at 5am, so I’ll have a bowl of oatmeal with some fruit first thing in the morning. I will have eggs about 2 hours later (7am), usually scrambled. Sometimes I’ll have a piece of toast. The protein holds me over until lunch.
What do you normally eat for lunch?
I’ll usually have a salad and some grilled chicken for lunch (nothing too heavy). If they have mashed potatoes in the cafeteria at work, I’ll sneak a serving but I keep close watch on my carbs.
What do you normally eat for dinner?
Dinner usually consists of baked chicken or salmon. Sometimes I won’t have any meat and will substitute it with beans. I love black beans and red beans. I’ll also have veggies. I don’t have any starchy carbs for dinner.
What do you normally eat for snacks?
I love nuts and sunflower seeds! I love to snack on apples and use Greek yogurt and honey as a dip. Popcorn is my favorite, but I watch my portions. I love cucumbers and balsamic for a snack as well.
What type of nutritional supplements do you take?
I take One a Day Women’s vitamins and a calcium supplement.
Beverly’s Weight Loss Workouts!
What do you do for weight training?
For legs and butt, I love squats and lunges. I go to Planet Fitness and they have awesome leg equipment. For my upper body, I do lots of rows and pulldowns along with lots of work with dumbbells and barbells, especially for biceps and triceps. For abs, I like doing crunches, reverse crunches and lots of core exercises like planks which are my favorite. I also like using the kettlebells.
What do you do for cardio training?
If it’s nice outside, I will walk up to 6 miles and do that for my cardio workout. If I’m in the gym, I like to run on the treadmill for about 2-3 miles before I lift weights.