'I am so thrilled to have finally become the success story': Young woman shares her journey to losing 73 pounds

Wellness Wins is an original Yahoo series that shares the inspiring stories of people who have shed pounds healthfully.

Maggie Kane is 5’5” tall, and currently weighs 149 pounds. In 2018, after struggling with her weight for years, she was inspired to do something about it when her weight-related anxiety became unbearable.

The Turning Point

I have struggled with my weight since I was a child. I remember weighing 160 pounds at a physical in fifth grade. After the physical, I did not have any intentions of telling my family members about the incident in the room. My older sibling is six years older than I am, so this means that during this visit, he had to have been around 16 years old. When we all got into the car after the visit, he said that he weighed 165 pounds. I can recall the hairs on my neck standing up and my stomach feeling like an endless pit. What? How could that be? He’s a sophomore in high school! I vaguely remember looking out the window the rest of the car ride home. I did not want to speak. I thought life was completely unfair.

I graduated high school in 2015 and felt I was on top of the world. However, my obesity was still there. I continued to suffer physical symptoms and anxiety about my weight. In January 2018, I was told I had high blood pressure at only 20 years old. I had a panic attack and tried to convince myself it was not true.

It was time to make a change. I was no longer going to be held prisoner to my obesity, and I was done with the mental torture. The one positive side effect of my anxiety is it usually pushes me, and it pushed me to sign up for Weight Watchers for the third and final time.

Maggie Kane before her weight loss journey. Photo by: Maggie Kane
Maggie Kane before her weight loss journey. Photo by: Maggie Kane

The Changes

Once I logged into my Weight Watchers app, I immediately became overwhelmed. It was not that the program was overwhelming, but I was always afraid of change in my life. However, I knew I had to give this a chance if I wanted to change my life for the better. After coming to terms with the fact I was 222 pounds, I began to follow Weight Watchers Freestyle.

I ate everything, but I just counted my points for it. I was a complete foodie before Weight Watchers and loved going out to eat, so I came up with a plan. Weight Watchers gives every person daily points they can eat each day, and a set of weekly points that individuals can use throughout the week on any foods they want. Once a week, I would splurge and eat my weeklies at one of my favorite restaurants. I was so scared that this plan would not work, but it did. Each week, the scale was dropping, and I was looking forward to my one splurge meal a week.

I always heard people say, “You do not need to exercise to lose weight!” But I wanted to become a runner. I worked my way up with running, and I now run about 12 miles a week. Running has become such a freeing activity that I love.

When I first began making changes, I was petrified. I basically wanted to be healthy and thin, but I did not want to forfeit my horrendous eating habits. Once I saw the scale dropping each week, I felt more and more motivated. I could not believe I was actually losing weight! One Weight Watcher member once said, “Do not give up. You’ll thank yourself in six months.” Whenever I feel like throwing in the towel, his voice echoes in my head. Thank you to the stranger who said that because I can honestly credit some of my success to your wise and true words.

Maggie Kane before and after her weight loss. Photo by: Maggie Kane
Maggie Kane before and after her weight loss. Photo by: Maggie Kane

The After

Losing weight has brought absolutely nothing but positive changes to my life. I can physically keep up with my three-year-old niece as she runs around the playground, and I walk long miles with friends without trying to hide the fact that I’m out of breath. I feel empowered when I complete a run, and I love the feeling after I finish planks. My anxiety about health issues has diminished. I no longer fear having diseases linked to obesity, and it is nice to see my doctor, friends, and family praise me for my healthy habits. Instead of being the girl who was looking for inspiration while researching weight loss success stories, I am so thrilled to have finally become the success story.

This may sound silly, but after weight loss, I am always cold. Since I have lost over 70 pounds, the winter months are brutal. Whenever I go to work or to a restaurant, I find myself always carrying a small jacket in my hand. This may seem like a hassle, but honestly, I’d rather carry that tiny jacket anywhere I go instead of dealing with the anxiety of being overweight and unhealthy.

Maggie Kane currently weighs 149 pounds. Photo by: Maggie Kane
Maggie Kane currently weighs 149 pounds. Photo by: Maggie Kane

The Maintenance

These days I still keep up with my Weight Watchers eating method: Stick to dailies each day and use my weeklies on one splurge meal a week. I make pancakes using a protein powder every morning, and I try to create different versions of pancakes: Oreo pancakes, M&M pancakes, lemon blueberry pancakes, raspberry pancakes, peanut butter pancakes. Some people are surprised at how little points I can use on my pancakes. For lunch and dinner, I try to research recipes since I love trying new foods. But Weight Watchers is great because if you do not feel like cooking such an elaborate meal that is not an issue. I can simply throw together a chicken sandwich, or I can meet up with friends and grab my favorite 9 smart point Chipotle bowl.

Over the last year and a half, I have grown to absolutely love exercise. I still run 12 miles a week, and I do other exercises such as planks, sit-ups, jumping jacks, burpees, high knees, and some lifting.

I never deprive myself. If I want a piece of cake, I will either find a low point recipe for a cake, or I will save my points. If I did not treat myself, I would fall off my plan, and I do not want to become that obese girl who suffered so much. I also always try to exercise immediately when I wake up in the morning.

I love looking at other people’s success stories. Even after losing 70 pounds, I still look to others for inspiration. I also enjoy taking progress pictures of myself and looking at them for motivation. Sometimes, people need a reminder of how far they have come, and those pictures really keep me going.

The Struggles

After 21 years of my life, I still struggle with facing my enemy: the scale. I have such a love/hate relationship with the scale because I know it is a powerful tool that has guided me towards success, but it really hurts me when the scale does not always show my hard work. There have been weeks where I have run so many miles, walked all around the city, drank an amount of water that could fill up the Atlantic Ocean, measured all my food precisely, and the scale still has the audacity to say I gained weight. Whenever the scale taunts me with a gain, I work through it by thinking about how far I have come. I look at progress pictures, and I remind myself that the number does not matter as much as my happiness and health. I have created a healthy lifestyle for myself, and I will not allow a number to hinder my hard work.

Advice

Losing weight is definitely an overwhelming process, especially at first, so take it step by step. Trust me, I know how many of you may feel. It’s frustrating to think that you may not be able to always eat those cheese fries, you might have to cut up vegetables tonight instead of ordering Chinese takeout, or you will have to spend time on the Stairmaster instead of the couch. Take this journey one day a time. You will be OK if you do not eat that massive brownie one night. You will be able to enjoy the foods you love – you just need to plan accordingly, eat them in moderation, and always hop right back on task after a splurge. Furthermore, you will survive that tough workout. Take exercise one step at a time; try to avoid pushing yourself too far. Do what makes you comfortable and work at your own pace.

Need more inspiration? Read about our other wellness winners!

Wellness Wins is authored by Andie Mitchell, who underwent a transformative, 135-pound weight loss of her own.

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