January 30, 2015
Before (1998): 235 lbs
After (2012): 130 lbs
One small purchase changed Ellen Brenneman’s life. The 42-year-old painter from South Bend, IN, shares her secrets to amazing weight loss.
My weight issues began in collegeI had a difficult time adjusting to the lifestyle and pressures. I started overeating as a way to deal with my insecurities and the stress of fitting in with other students. I soothed my emotions with food and mindlessly snacked late at night. By the time I graduated, I was officially overweight, and the number on the scale went up from there as I started my life in the real world.
My father was heavy and died in 1998 from type 2 diabetes complications. At the funeral, people who hadn’t seen me in years looked stunned at how big I was. Then it hit me: At 5’2″ and 235 pounds, I was larger than I realized. I became afraid that I would develop diabetes and die young if I didn’t make some lifestyle changes soon.
A month after my dad’s death, I made a $12 impulse buy: a pedometer. I’d read that you should do 10,000 steps a day to maintain a healthy weight, so I made it my mission to reach that goal. A few months after I began walking, I started eating more fruits, veggies and whole grains and limited my sweets to only one or two small treats a week.
Success! By 2005, I reached a healthy weight of 130 pounds. Instead of setting out to lose a certain amount by a certain time, I adopted healthier habits slowly, which made them feel more like second nature.
In September 2010, I started a blog (FatGirlWearingThin.com) to meet other health-minded people and keep myself accountable.
I’ve maintained my weight over the past seven years with regular exercise and a diet full of veggie burgers, Greek yogurt, fruit, tofu, hummus, chicken, high-fiber cereal, whole-wheat pasta, couscous and almond milk. Today I feel strong and confidenttwo words I never thought I would use to describe myself. Above all else, I’m proud that I’m healthy and no longer at high risk of developing diabetes like my father.
The more traditional forms of fitness, like running and going to the gym, didn’t appeal to me, so I made a point of trying new things. I learned how to kayak and ride a bicycle for the first time at 41! If you make exercise fun, you’ll look forward to it.
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Last modified: January 30, 2015
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