Weight-Loss Win is an original Yahoo series that shares the inspiring stories of people who have shed pounds healthfully.
Dawn Morales is 39, 5’11” tall, and currently weighs 179 pounds. In 2015, after struggling with her weight for her entire life, she finally found a program that worked for her. This is the story of her weight-loss journey.
The Turning Point
I can’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t overweight. My weight prohibited me from doing so many things and I wanted to get healthy so that I could participate more fully in life and experience life in a healthy body.
When I was overweight, people stared at me. I felt like they were judging me, so I spent a lot of time at home whenever I wasn’t working. I was also very tired, which made social gatherings less enjoyable.
A coworker of mine had lost a tremendous amount of weight and had begun living a completely different lifestyle thanks to Take Shape for Life, a weight-loss company that provides health coaches, meals, and a community of people focused on weight loss, and saw positive results in both health and overall wellbeing. I knew it was time for me to make a change. That was my turning point in taking control of my health and weight loss goals.
I began the program in June 2015. I saw results immediately and haven’t looked back! I was on the Take Shape For Life Optimal Weight 5 & 1 Plan that consists of eating five Fuelings (Take Shape for Life provided meals and meal replacements like bars or shakes) throughout the day, along with one additional meal of lean protein and low-carb vegetables. I lost weight more rapidly than the average person on this program and was able to lose the weight in about 15 months.
This program has taught me that being healthy isn’t just about being at a healthy weight, but making choices that lead to health in all areas of your life. I will be eternally grateful for the gift of health that the program has given me.
I was exercising a few times a week, but was not seeing any results. I started working out with a personal trainer once a week and incorporated swimming into my routine. As my journey progressed, I was able to steadily increase my workouts as my body was allowing me to do more.
An aspect of the program, which I attribute my success and motivation to, is that you’re provided with a health coach and a community of like-minded people. My coach, in addition to the entire community, was with me every step of my journey cheering me on and helping me stay on track. Since losing weight, I’ve found a new sense energy and confidence, people frequently don’t recognize me if they haven’t seen me in a while, which is always fun.
The support of my coach was extremely important to my success. When I would encounter any sort of stressful situation that I knew could be a trigger to go back to my old ways and unhealthy decisions, my health coach was there for me and helped me stay on track.
My life has transformed completely. My journey has allowed me to feel healthy for the first time ever. Now, I have so much energy — so much so, that in the beginning I had a hard time falling asleep because I didn’t expend enough energy during the day. I feel so much more lightweight now, I had no idea how heavy I actually was.
I’m also so much more social. I love going out and I look forward to being active now. My productivity has increased tremendously. I’m able to focus and keep up with my hectic lifestyle with no problem.
Many things have surprised me during my transformation journey, specifically the smaller tasks in my everyday life — having to adjust my driver’s seat in my car, buying new towels in a smaller size, and gaining a new wardrobe!
I also didn’t anticipate how my transformation would help me both mentally and emotionally. I now have the ability to manage stress in a healthy way and put that energy towards something positive, like exercise.
I follow a different plan now where I continue to eat Take Shape for Life Fuelings but eat more of the outside meals of lean protein and green vegetables along with an additional snack. This program works well with my busy lifestyle.
Now, I pay more attention to the foods that I choose to fuel myself with. I have learned the importance of balance and portion control to make smarter choices no matter where I am.
As part of incorporating healthy habits into my routine, I carry healthy Fuelings with me everywhere I go. The bars are a lifesaver for me, and I always have at least two of them in my purse. Whenever I feel like I’m in a tricky situation that could derail my health goals, I continue to check in with my health coach, as she is a great source of support when I need it.
In regards to exercise, I work out 6-7 days a week now. I take workout classes, including bootcamp, work with a personal trainer, and love to be active outside, whether it’s going for a hike, golfing, or going for a run. I try to do some sort physical activity every day.
Exercise is key. I started at a gradual pace and increased that progressively. Now my day isn’t complete until I partake in some sort of physical activity, even while I’m away from home. While traveling, I enjoy going for runs around the city or town that I’m in, as it allows me get in my sightseeing and become a healthier version of myself. Also while traveling, I use the Nike Training Club app because it allows me to get in a great workout even if I don’t have access to a gym.
My weight loss affected so many different aspects of my life. Before, whenever I felt stress or pressure, I would indulge in unhealthy meals. Now, I put that energy towards something positive, like exercise. I lace up, and either head outside or go to the gym and come back feeling stronger and able to make better decisions.
As much as I love going to social gatherings, I still struggle at them when everyone around me is indulging in drinks and unhealthy food, especially in an environment that is not appropriate for me to take out one of my bars.
While these types of situations are difficult, I am able to work through it by thinking about my progress and how far I have come. I also think about all of the people that I talk to on a daily basis about my progress and journey, and I don’t want to let them down.
Find a support system. Weight-loss goals are much easier to handle when someone is walking alongside of you. Staying in contact with someone who gives good advice and can cheer you on is vital when it’s tempting to fall into old unhealthy habits.
Set both short-term and long-term goals. Short-term goals are good for keeping you motivated when the end seems so far away. The long-term goals help shape those short-term goals to keep you on track.
All photos courtesy of Dawn Morales.
Need more inspiration? Read about our other weight-loss winners!
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