She Has Already Done It

I find inspiration in many things, but few things are as inspiring as seeing someone reach the same kind of goal that you’re trying to reach. And Sarah has done it. She has lost 185 pounds and kept it off for over five years!

(Before)

(After)


Though I’ve never seen her face to face she has quickly become one of my favorite people. But it didn’t start that way. When I first connected with her on Twitter, I found it very hard to read some of her posts – so hard, in fact, that I quit following her for a few days. Then something clicked in my mind. She was an awesome person, but it was extraordinarily hard to read her posts because they seemed so far away from where I was – and exactly where I wanted to be.

But guess what…it took Sarah quite a bit of time to get where she is. And she works at it to stay that way. It’s not easy, but it can be done. She’s done it, and I’m half way there. I asked her to share a bit about her weight-loss, maintenance and life because she has done something phenomenal. And if you get to know her, it will be nearly impossible not to respect her.

So here are my questions and her answers. I hope you’re as inspired by her as I am. Thanks for taking time to answer my questions Sarah!

1) How long did it take you to lose 185 pounds?

The actual time that it took me to lose the weight was a little over two and half years but the process took 5.
When I lost that first 100 pounds I was going from 345 to 245. I arrived back at a weight I was familiar with (that had been my max in high school) and now that I was taller in my early twenties I felt thinner.
After losing 100 pounds in just under 18 months my body had had enough and I hit a massive plateau. It did not matter what I did, my weight was stuck. I convinced myself that 240 was my set point, the weight I was supposed to be and stopped trying to actively lose weight.
Due to some changes in my personal life ( I met the man who would become my husband) and a history of diabetes I decided in 2004 to see if I could take off the rest of it. In November of that year I hit my goal, even though it would take me a while to realize I was there.

2) Is your life different now? If so, will you share how it’s different?

My life is so different now. But at the same time I am still the same person? My life was going to change anyway. I was growing up, but I think the biggest difference is that I actively live my life now.
I think that through this process I realized that we only have one chance to make the life we want for ourselves. It’s as simple as working towards what you want and figuring out that no one else is going to do it for you. It’s cliche but nothing is worth having that you don’t have to work for.

2a) Assuming it’s different, what’s the biggest difference?
I think I pretty much covered this. But if you are looking for physical ways it is different then my weight no longer holds me back. There is no fear of planes, restaurants or airports; Walt Disney World and Six Flags are loads of fun. I get to be me without that extra layer of fear that my weight surrounded me with. I get noticed now because I am nice person with a genuine heart and also great sense of style, not because I’m twice the size of an average adult.

3) You’ve maintained this weight loss for over 5 years..how have you done it?

I credit that plateau in 2001-2002 with really helping me figure out this maintenance thing early. For once the scale was not going up or down and that was a huge accomplishment for me.
I had never really been a yo-yoer and had no intentions of becoming one. When I lost it I wanted it to last, I didn’t want to have to do it again and I knew that it had to be permanent.
I go up and down a bit– 6 pounds or so (3 on either side of 158) and a few more than that after a nasty knee surgery, but for the most part my weight has settled.
I eat around 1800 calories a day, more protein probably than most but not enough fiber. I eat 5 times a day, mostly 3 meals and two snacks, however occasionally the evening can involve two small dinners based on my husbands schedule. I drink water and iced coffee, still trying to kick the caffeine free diet coke habit, but other than that I have rule about not drinking calories.
As for exercise, you will not hear me say that I MUST exercise to keep the weight off. I’d rather not eat the donut. My knee will not tolerate 45 mins of cardio a day everyday for the rest of my life to keep off the weight. There are lots of thin people who stay thin without exercise, because of my physical limitations (pain) I have had to figure out how to become one of them.
One last thing that has helped my maintenance was learning to embrace being beautiful. I have had to learn how to take a compliment. This sounds fundamental and basic, but it was something I used to be incapable of. I never knew what I looked like under all that weight. Turns out I am a good looking girl, and embracing the woman I have become has brought me a self confidence I did not know I had.

4) What has been the hardest part of your journey to shed these pounds and maintain it?

It has to be the physical limitations that have come with my bad knee. In high school I had my ACL replaced for the first time after a skiing accident. I’d go back and say no to that now if I could. It was the beginning of the end. 11 surgeries later I am left with no ligament, chronic instability, and arthritis that pains me with every movement. When I was actively losing weight I walked 4-6 miles a day and now I try and keep up a pace of several every other day or so. I live downtown and walk as much as my knee will let me but it does limit me.

5) Are you happy with your body now that it’s much smaller? Will you elaborate?

Yes! Yes! Yes! omg Yes! I love being small. I hesitate to use the word tiny, but I weigh 13 pounds less than half my highest weight.
When you have carried more fat around than what you weight now, I don’t think you can’t help but be happy with your body. It is so resilient and so functional.

The skin is what it is. I lived with it for years and skirts and dresses went a long way to camouflage problem areas. That being said I did finally have some plastic surgery last summer and will again this May. It took me a several years after reaching goal to make peace with the idea. 11 knee surgeries has made me scalpel shy, but after a great deal of thought I went ahead and had a panniculectomy (for below the belly button) and abdomniplasty (for above the belly button) last summer. I am artificially flat but again, so happy with the results despite the complications involved in my healing process. The novelty has not worn off.

6) On an average day, what makes you happy?

Getting up and living life. I know many people who are heavy are out there doing their thing. And I was too, but not to the extent that I could have been. On a regular day looking in the mirror and liking what I see makes me happy. Hugs from my husband when his arms go all the way around me and then some make me happy. Letting other people know that great change is possible also makes me happy.

7) Any advice for people who are struggling to lose or struggling to get started?

If you have already started… do not give up. There will always be another tomorrow, but the only way to get to where you want to be in the future is to be working at it in the present. If you have a bad day, take it back immediately. Don’t wait. If you haven’t gotten started there is no time like right now. This is a process– try not to get overwhelmed by how long it will take. The weight didn’t come over night it is not going to come off over night either. These last 10 years that I have been on this journey have felt like a lifetime, but have felt like no time has passed either.

Wow Sarah….thanks for taking time to give us such honest and thoughtful answers. You can connect read her blog by clicking here.

Though most of us are on a similar journey, each of us will experience it differently. But Sarah is a source absolute and unwavering proof that we can reach our goals and become the person we want to be. And I’m glad she took time to remind us of that today.

You Might Also Like

9 Comments

  • Reply
    Superwoman Spirit
    March 18, 2010 at 4:09 am

    Wow that is just amazing! Thanks for sharing Sara's story with us Kenz she looks just fabulous! She is right change is possible 🙂
    Shannon

    0
  • Reply
    Ex Yo-Yo Dieter Debbie
    March 18, 2010 at 5:21 am

    Stories like Sarah's give me hope that permanent weight loss IS possible.

    She didn't just disappear into the sunset when she reached her goal…a blog like hers is what I need to motivate me to MAINTAIN the weight loss, once I finish losing.

    Thanks for the post, Kenz!

    0
  • Reply
    ::kacy::
    March 18, 2010 at 8:40 am

    that is very inspiring! i hope you get to where you want to be…and i really think you can because you seem quite dedicated. you can do it!

    0
  • Reply
    Seth
    March 18, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    That's awesome

    0
  • Reply
    Barb
    March 18, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    I'm so impressed by her honesty. She did not say it was easy, and it's not! But, she did say that it was worth it, and that's what I need to hear on a daily basis! Thanks for posting her story Kenz, you are also an inspiration to me!

    Barb

    0
  • Reply
    Rettakat
    July 7, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    Thank you so much for linking to this post about Sarah from your blog today. I really appreciated her honesty, her realness.

    And it was very encouraging to me to read of her success in spite of not being able to do tons of exercise. I don't hear that too much, so I found it very encouraging to me.

    Loretta
    =^..^=

    0
  • Reply
    Reader Questions: Extra Skin?
    June 21, 2011 at 12:06 am

    […] has lost  about 185 pounds and kept it off for the last 6 years.  You can read more about her here. She had surgery to remove skin shortly before I saw her last year.  I saw her again last week, […]

    0
  • Reply
    Nancy
    June 21, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    Thank you Kenz, for posting Sarah’s answers to your questions. You are SO GOOD at interviewing, are you a journalist? It did my heart good to know Sarajh has exercised (as much as her knee will allow) and still was able to lose an enormaous amount of weight without many hours of exercise a day. I have a knee and back problem and even though I lost a lot of weight many times, and have felt discouraged at this point in my life (heavier than I’ve ever been) to stick with it long enough to lose an enormous amount of weight.
    N~

    0
  • Reply
    Lisa
    July 27, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    WOW she looks so wonderful! What an inspiring story. 🙂

    0
  • Leave a Reply

    %d bloggers like this: