After photo by Bonnie Manning, Feature Photographer Losing weight is difficult. Many people resort to fad diets and quick fixes for a solution, only to put the weight back on when they go off the diet. Time and time again, we hear that a combination of healthful eating and exercising regularly is the only way to achieve sustainable weightless goals, but anyone who has tried certainly knows it is easier said than done.
Nichole Roberts Weight Lost: 67 pounds
The year 2012 was a dark year for Nichole Roberts, morning radio personality on 97.3 WMEE. Her marriage was on the rocks, she lost both paternal grandparents and her weight was topping 205 pounds.
“I was tired all of the time, unhappy with my body, and tired of going to the store and not fitting into the outfits I wanted to wear,” Roberts explains. “I wanted to be happy again, and my desire to no longer live in an angry bubble helped me make the changes I never knew I could.”
That same year, Roberts was given the opportunity to work with Metabolic Research Center through her work. They were looking for a new voice in the community and she fit the bill. She lost 20 pounds the first six weeks by learning how to shop for and cook nutritious food.
“Nutrition was the key to my transformation,” she says. “I was never on a diet; I was embarking on a lifestyle change.”
To date, Nichole has lost over 67 pounds and has never felt better.
“Losing weight and being healthy is easy once you decide it’s for you,” Roberts says. “If you don’t want to do it, you wont. But if you put your entire focus on it, it’s the best feeling in the world.”
Her advice: “You didn’t gain the weight overnight; you won’t lose it overnight. It takes time, but you won’t see change without making changes. And the biggest change you can make is how you eat.”
Kim Truesdell Weight Lost: 120 pounds
Kim Truesdell lost her mom in 2009 due to complications from super morbid obesity. At time of death, her mom weighed over 600 pounds.
“I was angry and frustrated that she died because it could have been prevented had she taken responsibility for herself and her health,” Truesdell recalls. “As I worked through my emotions, I realized I couldn’t be angry with her, because I was not taking care of myself the way I should. I weighed close to 200 pounds at the time.”
That summer, she joined Weight Watchers and adopted her mom’s Siberian Husky puppy. She was committed to being a good dog owner and knew that regular exercise was key. She started walking with him and the more she walked, the more she thought it would be more efficient to run. She started the Couch 2 5K running program and hasn’t stopped running since.
“Running has been instrumental in my weight loss and maintenance,” Truesdell says. “I began with the Couch 2 5K program and eventually began to train for longer distances. To date, I have completed two full marathons, 10 half marathons, a 16-mile trail race and dozens of other events.”
Truesdell has struggled her entire life with weight, wearing a size 22 and weighing 245 pounds at her heaviest. Since she began her journey, she has lost 120 pounds and now runs four times a week.
“I thought I was destined to be fat,” she says. “My mom was morbidly obese, and my grandma battled weight. I had accepted that being overweight was in my DNA. But, I wasn’t happy with it. And I changed more than I ever thought. I want people to know that they don’t have to set limits for themselves.”
Her advice: “Don’t look at the whole picture. It’s easy to get focused – and overwhelmed – by the need or desire to lose a significant weight. So much so that it becomes debilitating, slowing progress and eventually stopping it. I always tell people to start with one thing that you want to change. Stop drinking soda for a week. When that becomes less of a challenge, take on another goal.”
Maddie Shine Weight Lost: 45 pounds
In 2012, Maddie Shine found herself in a place she had never been before; she wasn’t happy with how her body looked. She knew she needed to make a change, so she went for it. She began working out at the YMCA, going to spin classes and trying various aerobics. She started eating differently, and kicked it into full gear in 2013 when she became a group exercise and cycling instructor at the Jorgensen YMCA. After that, she got involved in Cross Fit, and it has changed her life.
“I have learned there is no such thing as a quick fix,” Shine says. “No diet pill, wraps, nor shakes will help you meet your goals. You may lose weight, but it’s not healthy, and it won’t stay off. You have to be disciplined and allow yourself to eat properly.” Shine sticks to the paleo diet during the week and says that nutrition has been the key to her weight loss.
“Your body needs real, healthy food in order to produce results. Exercise plays a key role as well, but without the proper nutrition, your fitness goals won’t excel as much,” she says.
So far, Shine has lost 47 pounds, and she says there’s no turning back now. She is healthy and strong and feels continuing her Cross Fit training will be the best thing she does for herself. And, because she now knows how to feed herself properly, it has become a part of her life that comes naturally.
“I am the strongest and most in shape I’ve ever been,” Shine says. “I don’t feel sick anymore and I am able to carry myself with confidence knowing I did it.
“Surround yourself with supportive people. Find what works best for you, whatever form of exercise that may be. Don’t let something intimidate you because you think you can’t do it, because I guarantee you CAN do it, and you WILL succeed. We all start somewhere, whether you’re 20 pounds overweight, or struggling with obesity, you can reach your goals. You just have to realize the battle is against yourself, and it’s up to you if you’re willing to put up the fight.”
Kim Wagner Weight Lost: 70 pounds
At 27, Kim Wagner was unhappy and didn’t want to live an unhealthy lifestyle anymore. She was getting sick often and her back and knees hurt all the time. She decided to buy an elliptical machine, an exercise ball, and some low-weight dumbbells and started exercising three times per week.
“When I first started, I could go only 10 to 12 minutes on the elliptical before being completely winded,” she says. “When I finally got to 20 minutes, I felt like Superwoman!”
That spring, she added walking to her regime and ended up losing 50 pounds in seven months.
“I started by joining Weight Watchers,” Wagner says. “I like their program because it allows me to eat food I can buy at any grocery store. I also learned how to portion my food throughout the day.”
Today, she is committed to fitness and works out at least three times per week, though five is ideal. When it comes to nutrition, she simply watches what she eats. Over the past seven years, she’s found a balance that works for her, and she has great support from family and friends.
“Losing weight has definitely made me more confident and energetic,” Wagner says. “I have done things in past seven years that I probably would have never dreamed of before. I would have never thought I would go zip lining or climb rock walls because I would have been afraid I would hurt myself physically; I wasn’t strong enough to do it.”
Her advice: “Some people lose weight more quickly than others; some people can lift heavier weights than I can; and some people have more willpower to resist temptation when it comes to food than I do. What’s most important is that you are truly happy with where you are and the effort you are putting in. Don’t compare yourself to other people. This is your story and you have the power to write it.”