Meet Wendy, a 43 year old stay at home mom from rural Wisconsin. She’s been married for 22 years, and she has three children: Dani – 23, Riley Kate – 17, and Evan – 7. She enjoys baking, reading, rubber stamping/card making and most anything crafty.
This mom’s weight loss journey is remarkable.
She reached and exceeded her weight loss goal by losing 120 pounds over the past 10 months!
I’ve known Wendy via facebook over the past several years, and I was so impressed with seeing her weight loss journey that I just wanted to share it with you all. She was gracious enough to say yes. I’m so excited for you to hear her story.
What made you decide to go on this weight loss journey?
I felt old. Every part of my body hurt. At nearly 300 pounds, it took effort just to move. My joints ached. It hurt to stand, it hurt to sit, it hurt to bend over. I was watching my life pass me by and I was too tired and overweight to participate in it. I was embarrassed of my body and how badly I had let myself go. It was taking a toll on my family and my marriage. I started isolating myself and depression had set in.
[bctt tweet= “I was watching my life pass me by and I was too tired and overweight to participate in it.”]
Honestly, though, the biggest factor was my 7 year old son, Evan. He was diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) at 18 months old. In October 2012, Evan started 3 years of intensive therapy in our home. For 3 years, I have had therapists in our home to help me care for Evan.
In January of this year I realized that I had just a few short months of help with Evan left, and it frightened me. I would be solely responsible to care for Evan during the day. Unlike typical children, Evan has no concept of danger.
My worst fear is that Evan would get away from me and I wouldn’t be able to catch him before he was injured or worse. At nearly 300 pounds, there’s no way I could have chased him, let alone catch him and keep him safe.
When did you make that decision?
Well like most people, I thought I would start my journey on New Year’s Day. Isn’t that when everyone starts? The first of January came and went.
I was still making excuses and eating the same junk and feeling crummy. On the 9th of January, I decided that it was time for me to change my life. Strangely, it wasn’t a Monday or the first of the month. The 9th of January was my day. It was the day that I decided that I was worth it. On January 9th, I told myself that I was going to lose 115# in 2015.
What steps did you take to reach these goals?
The very first thing I did is started setting goals. I grabbed a pen and paper and started with the big one: 115# in 2015. I set some daily, weekly, and monthly goals.
Next, I started tracking EVERYTHING that I put in my mouth and worked on being consistent. About a month into losing weight, I decided that I would try a gluten free diet to help with my joint pain.
I started limiting my sugar intake, and cut out breads and pasta. My joints quit hurting in less than 2 weeks after modifying my diet. I also decided that I would restrict processed foods and started eating cleaner.
From January to the end of May, I focused solely on what I was eating. I was losing steadily and my body felt so much better that I started to think exercise. I lived a very sedentary lifestyle. I walked some on the country roads where we live, but I wasn’t “loving it”.
When I was young, I loved bicycling. I decided to give it a try. It had been 25 years since I had been a bike. I wasn’t even sure I could still ride and at 240 pounds, I wasn’t sure I was physically capable. On June 3rd, I went to my friend Stacy’s house. She had an extra bike and I asked her if I could just take it out on the driveway to see if I could still ride.
Well long story short, that day she convinced me to take a short ride on the nearby trail. We rode 14 miles that day and I was hooked.
I found an exercise that I enjoyed.
My husband found me a used bike the end of June, and I began riding every chance I could get away. From June 3rd-November 2nd, I rode between 600-700 miles including one 50 mile ride.
What were some of the obstacles you faced along the way?
My first obstacle was Evan’s schedule.
His therapy required me or someone over the age of 18 to be in the house while the therapists were here. Therapy was 5 days a week for 6-8 hours a day. When therapy finished at the end of the day, Evan was tired, so going anywhere was out of the question.
Three years of being cooped up was hard on me. I gained a lot of weight during those three years (approx. 80 pounds). I knew I was doing what was best for him, but felt like I was a bit of a hostage.
During the summer months, I was able to sneak away some afternoons after my oldest daughter got home from work and drive a half hour to the nearest bike trail. It was very hard when she left to go back to college in August.
My second obstacles was carbs.
I had no idea how much my body loved carbs. In fact, when I decided to deny my body the carbs, it protested heavily. For about a week, I felt terrible. I felt so bad in fact that I started looking online for answers. I learned that I was having withdrawals. I personally feel sugar is the biggest enemy of weight loss.
Third obstacle: The Haters.
I have had some pretty negative reactions to my weight loss. I had a few good cries when I learned that some people close to me were not nearly as supportive as I thought they would be. I learned that I needed to do what was best for me and look inward(and upward) rather than outward for support.
Last obstacle: Emotional eating.
I am an emotional eater. I decided that I will no longer eat my feelings. Food is FUEL. It is not a friend. It is not comfort. It is fuel for my body and I needed to stop thinking that when something didn’t go well or I felt sad, or happy for that matter, that food was the solution.
I learned that you cannot out exercise your fork. You cannot eat badly and think that you can walk 7 consecutive hours to make up for a binge meal.
What advice would you give to someone else who is wanting to improve their health, lose weight, or become physically fit?
Weight loss is a very personal thing. You have to have the mindset that you are going to take the steps to personally improve your health and well being. No one can lose weight for you.
I have had a lot of people ask me how I lost 120# in just over 10 months. When I say by changing my diet and implementing exercise they seem disappointed.
It seems they are waiting for the name of “the magic pill”. There is no magic pill to long lasting weight loss and physical fitness. It is a personal decision to take control of your life and it is something that you need to consciously work at daily.
[bctt tweet= “There is no magic pill to long lasting weight loss and physical fitness.”]
You need to be willing to make changes and try something different. You put more limitations on yourself than anyone else. You will be amazed what you are capable of if you mentally jump over those boundaries you have set for yourself.
When I was asked by one woman I gave her this list:
To lose weight and keep going during those times when I wasn’t seeing much progress, I needed a complete personal, emotional, and mental overhaul.
I needed to become my friend.
I would never say to my friends what I was saying to myself. All those negative little voices swirling around in my head that would tell me how wasn’t strong enough or smart enough or good enough were controlled by me.
I started with writing down the things I liked about me and using a lot more positive self talk.
I became my own cheerleader and filled my head with “good things”. I learned that the more I liked me the easier it was to treat me well.
For the first time in 43 years, I am coexisting better with myself AND that makes me easier to coexist with. I smile more. I’m happier. People respond better to me. I had to heal and become well on the inside to transform the outside.
I did it. I told myself on day one that I was going to lose the weight. I didn’t do it for anyone else.
I did this for me.
I wanted to prove to myself that I was worth it and I am enough.
Wow. I just love Wendy’s story! I hope you are as inspired as I was reading this. If there’s a change you’ve been wanting to make for yourself, know that you CAN do it!
Want some help getting started on your journey?
I’ve got a free pdf download with 2 different quick workouts you can do right at home! No equipment necessary.
Congratulations on your weight loss and on your choice to love and take care of yourself!
I have struggled with eating issues and my weight my whole life…especially emotional eating through a 34 year verbally abusive marriage. I finally got serious about keeping the weight off long-term after I had gained most of my weight back while caring for my mother during her battle with cancer. I couldn’t stand how I looked or felt and my arthritis was hurting so bad.
I went from 215 down to 154. I have stayed between 155-160 but mostly due to my very physical job of cleaning hotel rooms and working in laundry.
In 2013 I left my marriage and came to TX. Then I cared for my mother for 7 months until she passed away. I have lived alone for the past 15 months and now I am experiencing another big life change…moving to GA to care for an elderly aunt. I fear that without my physical job and not having a consistent diet that I will balloon right back up. I already am seeing some old habits of emotional eating taking over with all the stress of getting ready for the move.
I will definitely need to make more adjustments and like you I will need to find an exercise that I love.
Thanks again for sharing your story!
Thank you! Good luck with your move and don’t forget to take some time for you mentally, physically, and spiritually. It really is important to have that time to relax and unwind.
Thank you so much! One perk of moving back is that I will be there when my first grandchild is born next April.
I need to learn to relax and laugh more. I take life way too seriously!
Brenda, your story is amazing as well! I know you can do it – and definitely being aware of the need for changes and adjustments as you go into a new setting is beneficial. I’ll be cheering for you!
Thank you, Esther. I have been chatting with God about my fears and weaknesses. He has brought me this far. I need to trust Him for the next part of my journey!
Wendy- your story is inspiring. I have had a constant battle with my weight for most of my 48 years and have covered the range from being obese on the BMI chart to a multi year battle with bulimia to anorexia (,y solution to bulima was simply to stop eating in general) and everything in between. I recently started a new healthy eating and exercise plan (which I know is the only real, long term solution) for a combination of reasons- mostly because my clothes don’t fit and I am having some physical pain- which I’ve never experienced before. It has been so hard to stay on top of it and not resort to falling into old patterns of thinking…
Thank you for sharing your story- i feel like this post came at a great time for me. Great job to you and I hope you enjoy chasing after your son!
So glad this was helpful to you Elesia! I’m here cheering you on in the steps you’re taking now – you CAN do it!
Thank you! Evan is doing his best to insure that I stay fit. He never stops! 🙂
I have had weight issues my whole life too. It’s hard work learning a new skill let alone a whole new lifestyle. Sometimes, I slip, but I refuse to fall.
What an inspiring story!! I eat my feelings far too often. I’m definitely pinning this.
So glad this was inspiring to you! I love her tips that she shared and I think they can be helpful to anyone making changes in their health.
She looks radiant, healthy and beautiful! Well done. I always find these stories inspiring and the people courageous!
Awesome!!! I workout regularly (although I have an injured foot right now). I think either you like it or you don’t but just like you tried the bike and its what works for you that’s what more people need to do. Find that one activity that you like, that you can accomplish by yourself so there’s no excuses.
I did a 30 month clean eating challenge and was amazed that even though I always worked out eating better made the two a complete fit. My pants felt different and I could SEE the results. That was only 30 days. I love sweet tea, desserts, and um anything else sweet. I exchanged sweet things for smoothies, granola and other substitutes. I was allowed a cheap meal every week and that was the best thing EVER!!
I’m saddened that you didn’t have 100% supporters all around. I’m sure you feel better and so therefore your doing great. You keep doing you! Great job and I applaud you, your determination,motivation and accomplishments!
Wow this is so inspirational. I love all her advice! She is so right 80% what you eat 20% exercise!
This is one of the best weight loss stories I’ve ever read! Wendy is an amazing, courageous woman. I can totally relate to her fears of not being there for her son. I’m so happy she’s accomplished this amazing goal and I love how she says’ there is no magic pill, only the need to believe in yourself.
Yes, that was my favorite part too! I constantly see people looking for the shortcut, but she is right – it’s about believing in yourself and then taking the steps to make the changes.