“I feel like I’ve struggled with my weight forever,” says Lynn K., 66, from Langley, British Columbia. “I tried all sorts of fad diets and weight loss programs, but every time I lost a little, I’d get sick of sticking to the plan and gain it all back plus a little extra.” It didn’t help that Lynn worked a sedentary desk job, didn’t exercise at all, and loved salty, carb-heavy dishes. “My husband and I love to eat out for Chinese, burgers, pizza, you name it,” she says. “Sometimes we would go to restaurants three times a day!”
But weighing 210 pounds at just 5’3”, Lynn wasn’t happy with how things were going. “I was on medicine for high blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes,” she says. “Right around that time I was retiring from my job and decided that I wanted things to change!” But what would work? “My daughter struggled with weight as well and got a Fitbit tracker about five years ago—she started telling me how motivating it was,” says Lynn. “I like a little competition and it sounded like it might really work for me.” That year for her birthday, Lynn’s three children went in together to get her a Fitbit One.
“I immediately started wearing it all the time,” she says. “My goal was 5,000 steps in a day and to exercise four or five days a week—even though now that sounds easy, it was tough to hit those goals at first.” But she tried her hardest and immediately started losing weight. “I gradually upped my steps and started exercising every single day,” she says. “Now I try to get in five to seven miles a day!” Lynn even walks while running errands—her car will often sit unused for weeks.
Once she started dropping pounds and feeling good, Lynn also started tweaking her meals. “I’m really careful with my carbs now—I’ll get a turkey burger with no bun instead of a cheeseburger and have a side salad with dinner instead of potatoes,” she says. Before she knew it, Lynn had hit her goal of weighing 150 pounds. “I reset my goal to 130 pounds, hit that, and now weigh 120 pounds!” she says.
So why was this time so different for Lynn? It comes down to the challenges. “My daughter had a group of people who challenged and supported each other through the Fitbit app and they invited me to join them,” she says. “We do weekly challenges and I always try to be number one. I’ve only done that once or twice, but I’m usually right up there in the top two or three. The challenges are really motivating to me—everybody makes little comments supporting each other and cheering you on when you reach your goal for the day.
As for her goal to get off all her medication, Lynn is well on her way. “I’m down from eight different medications to just three,” she says. “I don’t have high blood pressure anymore, and my doctor thinks I’ll probably be able to go off my diabetes medicine this year.” She’s also got a lot more energy these days. “We went to Disneyland with our grandkids and I went on all the rides they wanted me to go on,” she says. “I never would have done that before!”
Lynn’s Advice for Others:
Decide on your order ahead of time. “I review menus online before I go to the restaurants and see what smart choices they have,” says Lynn. “It’s easier to stick with my decision if I do it that way than if I looked at the menu while hungry.”
Don’t let weather get in your way. “I bought myself rain pants and a good umbrella so that I can exercise every day, rain or shine,” says Lynn.
Front load your steps. “I try to have 75 percent of my steps done before noon,” she says. “It’s easy to make it up to 10,000 the rest of the day, and then after dinner I always go for a walk—I say I’m going out for my bonus steps.”
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. 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.