On paper, Moira M., a 54-year-old writer in Plymouth, MA, sounds like she’s always been really healthy. “I’ve been an athlete all my life,” she says. “I’m an expert skier and a tennis player who wins club championships.” But the reality was, Moira was overweight. “I lived in denial because I was still so active, but I could tell I was moving slower, not feeling great, and not sleeping as well,” she says. “I just didn’t have the edge I wanted to have.”
Her weight struggle began 18 years ago, when her daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. “I threw myself into taking care of her,” she says. “I did a great job, but along the way I stopped taking good care of myself.” It didn’t help that to soothe herself when she got worried about her daughter, Moira turned to food. As the years went by, she got up to a size 22/24—and stayed there.
It was during a shopping trip two years ago that Moira knew enough was enough. “I tried on the largest women’s ski clothes I could find and they didn’t fit,” she says. “I had to go to the men’s department and try to find an outfit that looked kind of feminine—it was so disheartening.” Six months later, Moira’s husband gave her a Fitbit Flex for her birthday. “A lot of people think that sounds uncaring, but it was the perfect gift,” she says.
The challenges and daily goals in the Fitbit app helped Moira finally find motivation to be healthier. “I started getting in 10,000 steps a day and I realized how easy it is to fit activity into my life and how good it made me feel,” she says. “If I hadn’t reached my goal yet at night, I’d jog in place while watching TV.” Moira started working out in other ways too: She tried yoga, got back in the pool, and signed up for sessions with a trainer. “Four weeks into it, I knew I wanted to start eating better because of how good I was feeling,” she says. She took simple steps, like cutting down on refined carbs and making sure she ate breakfast every single day, instead of skipping it. “It was amazing how good it felt to eat right,” she says. “I didn’t miss my old eating habits at all!”
The weight quickly began to come off and Moira’s clothing size went down. “I’m not the weepy type, but when I was able to go shopping in the regular clothes section, instead of the plus-size section, I was in disbelief,” she says. “It had been 15 years since I could fit in regular clothes!” While Moira isn’t done with her journey, she knows she’s going to get there. “My goal isn’t a weight, it’s a feeling,” she says. “I’ll know when I’m at my goal when I feel good in my skin.”
Moira’s Advice for Others:
Plan to cheat
“I allow myself to have a night once a week where I can eat anything I want,” she says. “It’s usually Friday night when I go out with my husband and I don’t feel any guilt about it.”
Scale back on weighing yourself
“In the beginning, it was fun to get on a scale, but once the weight loss slowed down I had to stop weighing myself so often,” she says. “I needed to stop worrying as much about the number and focus instead on how I felt and how my clothes fit me.”
Toss your fat clothes
“I took everything in my closet that was too big and donated it to charity,” she says. “I didn’t want to allow myself to slide backwards and if the clothes stayed in my closet, I could.”
This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.