April 23, 2009

One day I was standing in front of my closet and I realized I had nothing to wear. Oh, sure, I had plenty of clothes, but nothing fit me because I weighed almost 200 pounds. I had participated in sports all my life, but as I had gotten older, there was less time to exercise. I also wasn't eating properly, so I'd ended up gaining weight. It was then that I realized I didn't want to see the scale tip past 200 pounds, and I decided to lose weight.

I joined a commercial weight-loss program, which was hard because I was admitting I was overweight. I kept a diary of what I ate, and I drank eight glasses of water a day. I planned my menus based on recommendations from the USDA Food Guide Pyramid and I added low-fat and low-calorie cooking methods. I also started doing aerobics at the YMCA three days a week. Over the next few months, I lost 20 pounds and quit the commercial weight-loss program, trying to lose the rest of the weight on my own.

I kept up with the food diary, knowing that portion control was key to keeping my calorie intake in check, and I continued exercising. As I slowly lost the pounds, I treated myself to things like new clothes or my favorite foods, like pizza. Other people noticed my weight loss, and their compliments kept me motivated to eat healthfully and exercise.

As I became comfortable exercising, I decided to try running. My husband is a runner, and when I cheered him on from the sidelines, I always thought about how exciting it would be to run in the race myself. I started by running half a mile around a nearby park and increased my distance each time I ran. Eventually I signed up for a 5k, and my husband and I congratulated each other for finishing.

Soon I bought in-line skates so I could skate with my friends, and I started going on bike rides with my husband. Working out with others made exercise much more enjoyable and not so much of a chore. Eventually, I participated in a triathlon. It was quite a challenge, but I was proud to finish. I've also became an aerobics instructor, and I teach two classes a week. It's a great way to help and encourage others who want to lose weight since I've been where they are.

It takes time to lose weight the right way, but perseverance pays off. Exercise is great, not only because it helps you lose weight. It also makes you healthy, strong and full of energy.