Name: Rebecca Grafton
Start Date: January 2014
Starting Weight: 246 pounds
Current Weight: 142 pounds
What was the turning point that made you want to lose weight?
I had gotten so heavy that I stopped being able to recognize myself in photos. I booked a vacation to Jamaica in May of 2014 and didn't want to look back on the pictures from my trip and not be able to remember how much fun I had because all I could see was how fat I was.
Had you tried losing weight in the past?
Like any girl, I had tried to diet countless times before. Eventually I would screw up and decide to just throw in the towel. The one thing that changed this time around was I decided to always stay committed to getting back on track no matter how many times I screwed up.
What's one habit that had the biggest effect?
Deciding to start every Monday fresh. There were many, many weekends along my journey where I ate more than I should have, but I never let a weekend off track prevent me from starting over and recommitting every week.
How did your diet change when you were trying to lose weight?
I had to change the types of foods I cooked as well as learn portion control. I learned how to make food taste good without coating it in cheese or cooking it with heavy cream. I also learned how to use fresh ingredients and seasonings to make real food taste good.
How did you feel when you first started working out?
It was hard. I remember my rolls jiggling along with me as I ran on the treadmill and Jillian Michaels screaming at me when I woke up early on Friday mornings before work to struggle through one of her workout videos. It was hard at the beginning, but it eventually got easier. It's gotten to the point now that exercise isn't a chore. It's something I genuinely enjoy doing.
How did your fitness level change when you were trying to lose weight?
I went from being a 246-pound girl who couldn't even run for 30 seconds straight to being able to run 10 miles without stopping. I was very slow in the beginning, but now I've completed two half marathons.
Sometimes turning down the pizza at the office really sucks, but so does being 246 pounds and crying in a dressing room when size 18 pants won't fit anymore.
Did you have gym intimidation?
I found a workout I enjoyed and decided to just say "screw it" and not care what others thought. I went to a ton of Zumba classes when I first started working out. I wasn't the most coordinated in the class and I certainly wasn't the most fit, but it was a workout I enjoyed. I got a great calorie burn and didn't worry about what other people in class were thinking about me — I just shook my booty and had a good time.
What does your fitness routine look now?
I try to work out every day if possible, so I like to switch things up. I run twice a week — one long run — around 10 miles — and one shorter run. I go to a weekly barre class every Friday and go to the gym around 3 times a week to do cardio and some weight machines. I also do some workout DVDs at home.
Give us an example of what your meals and snacks look like throughout the day.
I eat a lot of protein!
Breakfast: My breakfast normally involves an egg white scramble with spinach and sautéed Brussels sprouts topped with low-fat cheese and some kind of carb as a side, like toast or an English muffin.
Lunch: Lately I've been making big salads with mango salsa, chicken strips, and a Greek yogurt dressing.
Dinner: There's a lot of variety when it comes to my dinners, but they normally involve lean protein like chicken with veggies. I like to bake chicken that's topped with goat cheese and apples and serve it with a side of garlic roasted Brussels sprouts, or make fish tacos with baked tilapia and serve it with a cabbage slaw and Greek yogurt lime crema.
Snack: I snack on protein bars, Greek yogurt, turkey jerky, and fresh fruit.
How do you keep yourself motivated when you feel like giving up?
Sometimes turning down the pizza at the office really sucks, but so does being 246 pounds and crying in a dressing room when size 18 pants won't fit anymore. I had to decide what was worth it: temporary splurges, or making sacrifices for a healthy lifestyle.
What's one thing you still struggle with?
Wine. I love wine. And I like to drink a lot of it. I had to completely cut alcohol out during the weeks when I was losing the bulk of my weight, and I only drank on the weekends. I'm not as strict on myself now — I just don't have a glass every single night because often drinking can lead to poor eating choices.
What tips do you have for people who don't know where to start when it comes to losing weight?
At the end of the day, weight loss is very basic. There's no secret formula and no hidden pill that'll make you skinny. If you eat right and exercise, you'll lose weight. It may not happen as fast as you'd like, but if you stick to a healthy living plan long enough, you'll see results. Keep it simple and stay dedicated long enough to see change.