Iron Warrior – Karen

Karen quit her habit of consuming sugary snacks every day and learned that making even just one “small” change at a time can add up to big results. Here’s her story…

For some of us the idea of changing from a fat lifestyle to a fit lifestyle is overwhelming. It is not just changing a diet or workout program, it’s changing everything. “I need to start working out and eating better. I need to stop smoking. I need to cut out caffeine.” I need to……. UGH, it becomes such a daunting task that nothing is done.

I wasn’t always this way. Before I had three children I worked out an hour a day 5 days a week. I never ate great. I love, love, love junk food, but was blessed with a great metabolism so I didn’t sweat it. Sure I went up a size when I hit my 30’s but who doesn’t after 3 kids, right?

OK, yeah I went up another size but hey, I hit 40, things change, no biggie. I wasn’t thrilled but I’m 6 feet tall so I wasn’t ‘big’. Then my clothes started getting tight. All those cute black dresses, no they didn’t fit anymore. Oh all my summer shorts, nope those didn’t fit either. Bummer.

Even with all these signs I wasn’t willing to make a change. It’s too hard, I don’t have time, and every other excuse you could think of. Then my fiancé and I decided to get married. Nothing will give you a little motivation like fitting into a wedding dress.

Instead of trying to do it “all” Kalai suggested I make one change as a starting point. Now, given my love for junk food that seemed a good place to start. Sitting down every night and eating half a box of cookies was nothing for me. So my decision was to cut out refined white sugar. No cookies, no candy, no ‘healthy’ granola bars. All of it out the window.

I’ll admit the first week was hard. My body craved sugar, but I was determined. The first week when the cravings were too much to take I would substitute organic strawberries. They satisfied the need for something sweet. I found the second week I didn’t have the craving anymore. What shocked me was losing 5 pounds in two weeks. I noticed I started to physically feel better.

I stuck with my plan and 3 months later I had lost 15 pounds, just from this small change! My wedding dress looked great, I fit into my cute black dresses and it was awesome! I even had to buy new pants since my old pants were literally falling off.

Now to be honest, I fell off the wagon for a couple of weeks recently. With the pressure of the wedding off I started slipping into old habits. I blame it on Girl Scout cookie season 😉 I wasn’t packing the pounds back on, but how I felt mentally was what got me back on track. I didn’t feel good about my choices and decided instead of beating myself up I just needed to stop making those decisions. Now I allow myself an occasional ‘cheat’ so it doesn’t become about depriving myself and setting myself up for a big binge. Also, it helps if you have a friend who is supportive and has the similar goals. Getting support and encouragement is a lifesaver. Thanks Kalai!

The other revelation during this process for me was that instead of trying to tackle everything at once, I realized I am the sort of person that needs to take baby steps on the path to a better lifestyle. This was the first step and I have made a few other changes since: I cut my caffeine intake by 2/3 (trust me this is a big deal for someone who drank ten Diet Pepsis a day!) and started taking vitamins since I know I am not getting enough vegetables everyday. I plan on setting smaller goals over the year, which will hopefully add up to big changes by the end of 2011!

– Karen