While some people struggle to get in the recommended amount of activity every day, that was never a problem for Becky P., from Waupaca, WI. “For the past 14 years I’ve taught fitness classes and I own a Taekwondo school,” she says. “I also run half-marathons and obstacle races.” But even though she was consistently working out, she always felt like she was about 20 pounds overweight. “I was 5’9”, 165 pounds, and wore a size 12 in clothes,” she says. “I just assumed I was big boned and accepted that was the size I was destined to be.”
In April 2015, Becky had a 40th birthday looming and decided that she didn’t want to be over the hill, she wanted to conquer it. “Right around that time, someone at my gym asked me if I wanted a Fitbit tracker and I quickly dismissed it,” she says. “I thought it was all about increasing your activity level, and I just didn’t see how I could possibly fit more exercise into my day.” That changed when she heard there were models that could also track heart rate. “I wanted to see how hard I was pushing myself during workouts and I love challenges, so I thought it would be interesting to have numbers back up my activities,” she says. When her 40th birthday hit, she celebrated by getting a Fitbit Charge HR.
While Becky thought it was fun to see how many calories she was burning, the biggest shock came when she started inputting her food. “I always just ate until I was full because I figured that since I was working out all the time, I could eat whatever I wanted,” she says. “Some days I’d be healthy and eat salads, but others I’d have a few bowls of cereal for breakfast, a cheeseburger for lunch, spaghetti for dinner, and would eat dessert once or twice a day.” All that changed when she started logging her food. “I couldn’t believe how many calories I was eating,” she says. “It was such a wake-up call that I immediately changed everything. I increased my protein intake, cut down on carbs, and totally cut out cookies and cake.”
Those changes helped Becky accomplish something she didn’t know was possible: She lost 20 pounds. “I’ve always been this size my whole life,” she says. “I couldn’t believe it when my pants got big and I kept going down. Now I’m a size six and realize I wasn’t destined to look the way I did.”
Becky’s Advice for Others:
Give sugar the boot
“I knew I needed to make eating dessert something special and not an everyday thing, but I loved them,” she says. “I came up with a goal of going 21 days with no sugar or sugar substitutes whatsoever. It was enough to break me of my habit, and now dessert is yogurt with real fruit.”
Keep your mouth busy
“I was so used to reaching for something sweet after a meal that it was hard to not crave something sweet,” she says. “Now I chew sugar-free gum and it signals the end of a meal.”
Make sure you measure
“I like creamer in my coffee, but used to just dump it in,” she says. “I started measuring out a few teaspoons so that I know exactly how much I was consuming. Now I don’t have to measure everything, but you need to at first so you recognize what a single serving of something is.”
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.