Photos courtesy of Pamela Jackson
Name: Pamela Jackson
Location: Los Angeles
Before: 260 lbs.
After: 147 lbs.
What was the turning point that prompted you to lose weight?
One day, at the age of 41, I walked past a mirror and thought, “I do not recognize myself anymore.” My healthy and happy self was trapped inside of a body that I wanted out of.
When did you start trying to lose weight?
The first time I remember trying to lose weight was in junior high. I was able to slim down by drinking weight-loss shakes or skipping meals. However, I soon gained the weight back plus more – by my mid-twenties, I was up to 260 pounds. I would try to lose 10 pounds for an event by using fad diets (lemonade cleanse, cabbage soup, or no-carb diets), but I would always gain the weight back right after the event. In August 2011, I decided to try again and not give up this time. I realized that losing and maintaining weight is a lifestyle change, not just a temporary diet.
How did you get started?
I decided to not go on another fad diet and instead educated myself on proper nutrition. I also decided that instead of staying in the office on my lunch break, I would get up and take a nice walk. At first, I could only walk for a block or two before feeling out of breath. By April 2013, I completed a 5k walk for autism!
What was your biggest challenge?
Portion control. In the past I would eat until I was really full and didn’t pay attention to how many calories I was consuming. Learning proper portion control and keeping a list of how many calories I was eating each day played a big part in my weight loss.
Were there any times when you wanted to quit or give up? How did you stay motivated?
I wanted to give up almost every day for the first month or two! My sugar cravings were pretty hard to overcome at the beginning. Every day I would have sugar withdrawals. At first I didn’t know what to do; I would have a piece of hard candy to help. But I quickly learned that a healthy snack like an apple with a small amount of peanut butter worked perfect. When I wanted to give up, I thought about how many times I had given up in the past and knew that I did not want to give up again.
If you reached a weight loss plateau, how did you break out of the rut?
I would take longer walks or change my calorie intake. If I adjusted my calorie intake, I would make sure I did not go below the amount recommended for my height and current weight.
What’s your current exercise routine?
I enjoy walking and jogging. I continue to walk on my lunch break or after work. On weekends I walk and jog. I would love to start taking Zumba classes.
What’s your daily diet look like?
I love a high-protein breakfast (egg whites and lean meat) and a granola bar for my morning snack. For lunch I usually have a salad or a hearty soup. Greek yogurt and fruit is my favorite afternoon snack. Lean meat and veggies with a small amount of steamed rice or a baked potato is always a nice and easy dinner. I also make over my favorite recipes into healthier ones that I can cook at home.
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What’s your favorite healthy snack and meal?
My favorite snack is a KIND bar, and I love Cajun food; my family is from Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
How has losing weight changed your life?
It changed everything – from being able to breathe better to feeling better about myself. Because of my unhealthy weight and poor eating habits, I was placed on blood-pressure and heart-rate medication. As I lost the weight, the medicine was decreased and as of today, I’m off both medicines!
Related: 10 Ways to Cut 100 Calories
Do you have any advice for those trying to lose weight?
Yes! It does not matter how many times you have failed before, you only have to be successful once. Maintaining, however, is something you have to do for a lifetime – but success and happiness are much sweeter than any cupcake!
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This article originally appeared on EverydayHealth.com: 113 Pounds Lost: Pamela Kicked the Extra Pounds – and Her Meds – to the Curb