'I Wanted to Live Life & Have Fun with My Family'*

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Name: Elizabeth Tiedemann (MOONBIRD)
Weight Lost:  153 pounds
Hometown: Chesterfield, VA
Occupation: Stay-at-home mom

What was life like before losing weight?
I started to gain weight in the first grade, and I continued to gain throughout most of my life. For me, I ate when I was sad, anxious, lonely, or any emotion in between.  Growing up in a family where almost everyone was overweight didn't give me much motivation to be different. It was who I was supposed to be.  But, deep down, I was not happy. I loved my family and had everything I wanted, except for control over my weight.  After the birth of my kids, I was exhausted and would sometimes go all day without eating.  By the end of the day, I was starving and would eat everything in sight.  I didn't believe in myself and didn’t take care of myself, which is why I allowed myself to gain so much weight.       

For so long I missed out on things I wanted to do.  I couldn't ride a lot of the rides at theme parks.  When we went out to eat, I could barely fit in most of the booths.  During the day, I started to have pain in my legs and feet when I'd stand a lot.  I went to bed worrying that every little ache or pain meant I could be dying.  I love bird watching, and I'd hear of bird walks at parks but not go because I knew it would exhaust me.  I'd sweat profusely and be out of breath.  It was awful.  I rarely felt comfortable in my own skin.

What was the main motivation behind your weight loss?
My biggest motivation was, and still is, my family.  I wanted to live life with them!  I wanted to ride bikes with my kids, play at the playground and fit on the rides at amusement parks.  My motivation has mostly been to feel good and be healthy, because when I was so much heavier I felt tired ALL the time and generally unwell. In April 2010, I decided that I’d had enough of being overweight and unhealthy.  I wanted to change my life!      

Tell us a bit about your weight-loss journey.

 I read The Spark, and that book really helped me.  I went on SparkPeople.com and read the pages of people who had lost a lot of weight or went on to run marathons. "If these people did it (and they are just regular people like me, not paid celebrities promoting some diet), maybe I can do this too," I thought.  When I first started out, I was scared, but I felt determined. 

By gradually changing how I ate, exercised, and thought about food, I have been able to lose weight and get healthy.  It hasn't been easy, but in less than three years I have lost 153 pounds.  I haven't been on a strict diet, taken diet pills, had surgery or done anything that involves gimmicks.  I realized I would have to be patient, and that this would not happen overnight, and that was OK!  At first, exercising was challenging.  I started out walking and just gradually increased the time and distance.  I remember when it was hard for me to walk a mile, and now I’ve run in 5Ks, a 10K and a half marathon!

What is your diet like now? What was it like before you started your journey? 

I eat a lot more whole foods than I did before, and my diet is more varied than it was.  One of my main breakfast foods is oatmeal, and I eat a lot of fruit at meals and snacks and have vegetables every day.  Before I lost weight, we ate out more, and I ate a lot more fast food.  Now, most of my meals are made at home.  My soda addiction was bad, but I drink soda very rarely now. I eat more complex carbs and have found healthier alternatives for a lot of things—like frozen yogurt instead of ice cream.  My diet isn’t perfect, and I don’t try to be, but overall it’s healthy. I still enjoy treats in moderation.

What is your typical exercise routine?
Over the last three years I’ve tried: Zumba, elliptical, bike, workout DVDs at home, yoga, and various strength training machines at the gym.  My routine now is mostly running, and I do strength training at the gym, or Jillian Michaels workouts that combine both.  Typically, I exercise five times per week for at least a half hour. 

What was your biggest obstacle while trying to lose weight, and how did you deal with it?

Binge eating.  This is something I still struggle with occasionally during times of stress, although I’m able to manage it better than I did before.  What has helped me is keeping trigger foods (sweets for me) out of the house.  When I feel the urge to binge, I try to find something to do to take my mind off of it.  I’ll go for a walk, exercise, or find some sort of project to work on.  I’ve also learned that just because I slip up, it doesn’t mean that I’ve failed.  I’ve only failed if I give up, and I refuse to do that.  So, I take it one day at a time and realize that one day isn’t going to make or break me, and I just keep going and doing what I know I need to do.

How has your life changed since losing weight and improving your health?
The main thing that has changed is that I believe in myself.  I used to be scared to do things or try something new, and now I feel like there are no limits to what I can do if I really want to!  I feel so good, physically and mentally.  Everyone comments on how much energy I have and how much I am able to get done.  Now I can ride bikes with my kids, fit on rides, run, jump, climb things, and just live life and have fun without worrying that I am too big.  It feels great to be in control of my health and life and feel more comfortable in my own skin.  I have learned so much, and for the first time in my whole life I know I will not gain this weight back.
Congratulations, Elizabeth!

*Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.

Have you lost weight and kept it off using SparkPeople.com? We'd love to share your story. Email us: sparkpeoplesuccess (at) gmail (dot) com

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Good for you. You look fabulous. All of the hard work was worth it... Report
Good for you. You look fabulous. All of the hard work was worth it... Report
Marvelous! Just starting out on my journey and your story gives me hope that maybe I can do it too! Report
"Iíve also learned that just because I slip up, it doesnít mean that Iíve failed. Iíve only failed if I give up, and I refuse to do that."

Loved this quote! I needed it today. Report

Congrats - Very Inspiring Report
Great job! Keep up the great work!
Your transformation is fantastic! Report
Great success .. GOOD GIRL!! you are really an inspiration to me . I know exactly what you felt because now I am in a similar situation and I am glad that you made it out of it, as a winner, and I am intending to win too. KEEP IT UP!! Report
Isn't it amazing what eating healthy will do for us? How did everyone get so far away from eating whole, healthy foods that the whole nation seems to be eating just burgers and fries? You are an inspiration! Thank you for your story!! Report
wow what an amazing story. very inspiring thank you for sharing your story. Report
Thank you for sharing! You're an inspiration! Report
MARY Report
Great Job! You look wonderful! God bless! Report
Great job ! You are an inspiration to all of us and you give us hope and determination to be brave like you and believe in yourself. Thank you for sharing your journey to enjoy life! Report
Amazing testimony. Thanks so much for sharing. You are an inspiration. Report
You did an AWESOME job! CONGRATS!! Report
You did an AWESOME job! CONGRATS!! Report
What an inspiration! Great story! Report
Fantastic. Well done :) Report
So glad that you get to join in activities with your family, and really enjoy your life! Congratulations on your new life! You are gorgeous! Report
You have every right to be proud of yourself and your accomplishments! Report
What an amazing story. You should be so proud. You are an inspiration and motivator. I hope I can copy your success Report
Inspiring! Way to go! Report
You look happy and healthy, well done! Report
Absolutely fabulous! You look great, love your story! Well done! Report
Congratulations! You are a great inspiration and thanks for sharing your journey. Continued success. Report
I'm so impressed, Elizabeth. I don't have a lot of weight to lose but I want to get fit. You have really inspired me! Report
Well done!!! And I'm glad to hear someone say it took 3 years. That is my goal. Slow.....Steady.......Not Perfect.......But Working Towards Getting Healthy And Making A Life Change

Keep It Up and I hope continued success for you!!! Report
Thanks for sticking with it-it helps me. Report
Hello Spark friend!! You look absolutely fantastic. Congrats on your transformation, and for being such an inspiration to others who may need a boost. You are proof that if you put in the work, great things will come your way. Report
You look great. Thank you. I believe that I am to the fed up point in my life. fed up with the weight, the illness, and most important the lack of energy. A life change is in order. I really looking forward to this positive change in my life. Its a work in progress. Report
You look fantastic! Great job! :) Report
You rock girl! Report
Thank you for talking about your journey. It provides so much encouragement for me. Report
Great encouragement for me to stick with it. Way to go!!! Report
Wow! That's awesome. Thanks for posting. Report
Congratulations!!! What a wonderful achievement!! Report
Thank you for sharing your story - it is truly inspiring and motivating to me as I start on my weight loss journey. Report
Thank you for sharing your story - it is truly inspiring and motivating to me as I start on my weight loss journey. Report
Congratulations!!!! You are an inspiration!!! Report
Way to go :) Report
you are such an inspiration!!! you look wonderful!!! Congrats!!! :D Report
Congratulations! That is a wonderful success story! Report
So glad to see you featured here elizabeth,I have been following yr blog for a while and draw inspiration from it everyday!!!!!!!!!!! You are awesome!! Report
Wonderful..Determination will always bring Success!. Report
Thank you for sharing your journey. You are an inspiration. Congratulations! Keep on sparking. Report
Congratulations on your journey to loose the weight and a better lifestyle. You Rock!!!! Report
Kudos to you and continued success in your journey. You're a true inspiration to all all of us have struggled with these same issues! Report
Look at you, a featured success story!! Way to go. Report
Wow! You look terrific! Report
You are inspiring, Elizabeth! Truly inspiring. Congratulations! And thanks for being such a great role model. Report
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