Weight-Loss Win is an original Yahoo series that shares the inspiring stories of people who have shed pounds healthfully.
Amy Cothran is 44 years old and currently weighs 155 pounds. In 2014, after undergoing several serious medical procedures resulting from weight-related issues, she was determined to lose weight and take control of her health. This is the story of her weight-loss journey.
The turning point
I had been overweight since I was a teenager. As an adult, my weight began to cause several serious health problems. I eventually needed a hysterectomy to solve some weight-related medical issues. In a span of five years, I had six surgeries and almost all of them were related to my weight. That was my turning point.
I started by taking Plexus (a dietary supplement that purports to aid in weight loss) and walking around the track by my house. My knees hurt so badly that I would cry, but I would rest and then keep going.
Once I lost some weight, I changed the way I was eating. At first, I watched my sugar intake, then I slowly started learning how to eat better overall. I would eat oatmeal in the morning; snack on Greek yogurt with chia seeds; have a salad for lunch with tuna, chicken, or chickpeas; snack on two rice cakes in the afternoon; eat meat and veggies for dinner; and have a 100-calorie snack before bed. I ate 1,200 calories a day, which worked out to 300 calories for breakfast, 300 calories for lunch, 300 calories for dinner, and three 100-calorie snacks. I also tried to eat every two to three hours to keep my metabolism moving.
The changes were hard, but I wasn’t willing to give up. In my mind, I had too much to lose. I was afraid I wasn’t going to be here for my children, or that I was going to be let go from my job because of all my surgeries and health complications. So I kept going.
I feel fantastic. I love being able to go into any store and buy an outfit or shirt, but more than that, I think my mental and emotional state has changed. I’m more confident, and I just feel so much younger.
My children once told me I was obsessed because I refused to eat even a cookie, but what they didn’t understand is that if I ate a cookie, it would easily turn into 10 cookies. My husband had started this journey with me, but after losing 100 pounds, he went back to his old habits. But this past January, he decided to make a change and get back onboard. He has lost 85 pounds in six months. Him being back on track helps a lot.
The way I eat is pretty much the same every day. l am on a carbohydrate-cycling diet, which is a way of eating in which you alternate between low-carb and high-carb days. You can space out your days however you want, but I do three low-carb days, and on the third day, I have a high-carbohydrate dinner. I eat fruit before I work out so that I can burn the sugar off right away. In the morning, I have eggs and vegetables or a protein shake. Then I snack on a protein bar or pumpkin, and I eat tuna with veggies and sunflower seeds for lunch. I snack on beef jerky, then I have some type of meat and vegetables for dinner. On my carbohydrate night, I eat only good carbohydrates, like overnight oats with a banana and a sweet potato with cinnamon or sometimes peanut butter balls or Halo Top or Arctic Zero ice cream, both of which are better for me than the real deal.
My favorite indulgence is pizza. I love pizza! I have found a few ways to make it healthier, like using a butternut squash or cauliflower crust. I also had a friend recommend Mellow Mushroom restaurant for pizza, which is better for me as well.
I exercise six to seven days a week, with a mix of lifting weights and cardio. I believe I am addicted to it or afraid to not exercise.
I decided that I would have to exercise and eat right for the rest of my life to stay healthy. It is too easy to go back to old habits, and the next thing you know, you have 50 pounds to lose and you become overwhelmed. I never want to go through that struggle again! Stay on track, and only go off track for very special occasions. Also, don’t let loved ones, or anyone else for that matter, sabotage you! And they will. You will have to avoid your triggers. If your family is eating cake, take a walk, leave the house, or go to the park — do anything to stay away from that temptation.
Do not look at how much you have to lose. You have to take it day by day, pound by pound. This is a life change.
All photos courtesy of Amy Cothran.
Need more inspiration? Read about our other weight-loss winners!
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