Weight-Loss Win is an original Yahoo Health series that shares the inspiring stories of people who have achieved healthy weight loss.
Kelly Guy is 38, 5’5”, and currently weighs 185 pounds. But in 2010, she weighed 256 pounds. This is the story of her weight-loss journey.
The Turning Point
Losing weight was always on my mind when I was severely overweight. Not a day passed when I didn’t consider a new diet plan, wonder why I wasn’t eating better, and hope for a miracle.
A perfect storm of events made me decide to join the Jenny Craig program in November 2010: A dear friend had made the decision to have weight loss surgery and I quickly saw myself having to make a similar decision if I didn’t get my weight under control. Then, on a trip to visit friends in Tennessee, we captured a picture of me standing next to a friend who was nearly six months pregnant, and I felt I looked more pregnant than she did.
I desperately needed a change, and so I did something I’d never done before in an attempt to change my life.
I joined Jenny Craig and quickly adopted the weight loss program. This meant significantly smaller portion sizes than what I’d been enjoying and the reintroduction of fruits and vegetables into my life as main staples. I often say that I took it “like a prescription.” I did what my consultant recommended with utter determination. And, much to my surprise … it worked!
My favorite lesson learned from the program is the concept of “volumizing.” Volumizing is Jenny’s term for bulking up your entrees with extra vegetables to make your meals more satisfying. I use this technique in everything I make now!
As for exercise, I never really felt up to exercising when I was overweight. It was a lot of work to climb a flight of stairs, let alone run those stairs for sport. As I lost the weight, I became more open to working out, incorporating regular exercise into my days. In 2012, I joined a gym for the first time where I actually used the membership regularly.
Of course, there were bumps in the road. There were times that I completely overindulged, got fed up, and even pouted. I totally gave up on some days, but where I succeeded was learning that I could simply restart the next day when I found my strength. The next morning brought a whole new day, and I’d start again. I had come way too far to give up completely, and this ability of mine to always pick myself back up has really paid off.
Honestly, I was surprised that the plan worked. I had thought about losing the weight for years and felt somewhat hopeless along the way. Once I adopted a plan, and once I was eating less and moving more, the weight fell off. With every pound I lost, I was more motivated and more determined.
I felt amazing. Mostly, I felt like I wasn’t being shadowed by my weight any longer. I felt like anything was possible, and I still do.
The most gratifying part was knowing that I did it. I can’t be modest and give the credit to anyone else. I own this accomplishment. I put my mind to it and made it happen. For that, I’m incredibly proud.
I also love the fact that I’ve been able to share my story with the readers of my blog NoThankstoCake.com. I am constantly amazed by the outpour of support and the emails from readers saying that they were inspired to lose weight after reading my story. I began blogging because I wanted to write about the process, and in turn, have met the most wonderful men and women on the same journey. I’m incredibly grateful for this!
I learned very quickly that maintenance is just as hard — if not harder — than losing weight! Once you’ve arrived at your finish line (or close to it), there is a thought that now you can take a break. That’s certainly not the case. I feel like as I maintain my weight, I have to work just as hard as I did when I was working to lose weight. This is most certainly a lifestyle — not just a diet.
Kelly at 256 pounds (left), and today at 185 pounds). (Photos courtesy of Kelly Guy)
As far as indulgences go, I find that eating richer, higher calorie foods make me feel miserable and almost hungover the next day, so thinking of that helps me to resist them. But even though that helps me avoid them most of the time, it doesn’t stop me from craving them. I typically satisfy my cravings by making a healthier version of something rich. (Examples: lean burgers stuffed with light cheese, lightened up biscuits and gravy, and healthier Chex Mix.) Not only do these recipes satisfy the craving, but it’s also fun for me to get creative in the kitchen.
Today, my go-to exercise is yoga. It resonates with me as I find it to be an incredible stress-reliever, while at the same time allowing me to get a great workout. Right now, however, I’m recovering from a car accident that I was in seven months ago, and unfortunately, my activity is still really limited.
I love to cook, so I really try to enjoy most meals at home. I absolutely dine out when I want to socialize, but I pack my lunch and cook at home most days. Volumizing has also been key to my success. To most recipes, I add a cup or more of additional vegetables. It keeps me satisfied, and I never feel like I’m missing out.
I’ve also become very in tune to how my body feels when I eat well, and how it feels when I eat poorly. I’ve described that feeling after a splurge as a “food hangover,” where you just feel overly full, sluggish, or not as alert. I just don’t like feeling like that. In most cases, making poor choices just aren’t worth it, so I don’t do “cheat days.”
Emotional eating has always been a struggle for me. When I’m lonely, bored, stressed, or sad, I find my appetite becomes somewhat insatiable. How I deal with it? I am an avid food planner, keeping healthy snacks on hand at all times. If I’m feeling an emotional hunger and I absolutely can’t shake it, I’ll have some raw veggies or light popcorn, instead of the fattening, carby food I crave. Most times, it will take care of it.
I also use my blog as an outlet. I find that if I can write about what’s going on and get it out of my system, I’ll be distracted from the food craving and I can emotionally release whatever’s ailing me at the moment. After I write about a topic I can either post it for all to read or file it as a wonderful outpour of emotion. If it keeps me out of the pantry, I’d call that a win.
If I really feel like I’m falling off track, I try to take a step back and focus on the big picture. In the end, I’m worth it — and my health goals are important enough to hit that reset button. And I will hit that button every single day until it sticks.
My biggest advice: You get to choose to start over any time you’d like. That can be the next morning, the next meal, the next moment. No one lives a perfect life, and no one can follow a meal/exercise plan to a T every single time. Give yourself a break, and hit that reset button. You’re worth it!
Also, losing weight continues to be the hardest and the best thing that I’ve ever done for myself. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.