25,000-29,999 SparkPoints 28,833

Me with my Halloweenathon medal Oct 2016

2013 Jingle Bell Run - It was 16 deg F, but I ran the WHOLE WAY in 36 min!!

This is me unable to hold the 85 pounds representing the weight I lost! June 3, 2013





SWEET_CAROLYN is a SparkPeople Motivator!

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I've pretty much always been a "big girl" aka overweight or obese. There are a lot of factors to why I am this way. My favorite hobby, reading, is rather sedentary. I wasn't a fan of exercise and didn't really realize it's importance until much later in my life. I, like most people on the planet, love to eat unhealthy foods - the ones with lots of things like salt, sugar, and fat in them. My family lines is "big-boned". I learned unhealthy habits, such as how it's OK to have a big slice of cake, as long as you have some carrots to go with them. And I probably drank more diet soda than was healthy.

Twice before I've lost weight, once with good old fashioned watching what you eat and the other on Weight Watchers. But neither of those times lasted - as expected when you don't have a clear motivation (or your motivation is ONLY "I want to be XXX pounds and look sexy in this dress!"), my old habits weaseled back into my life, and before I knew it, I was 268 pounds. (Well, I might have been more, as I weighed myself on an analog scale that is around 5 pounds off from my sister's digital scale.)

Life at 268 pounds wasn't easy, but I lived it because I didn't believe I could change. Each time I tried to get back on Weight Watchers, the plan that helped me lose over 25 pounds, I ended up burning out a couple of days into the program. Eventually, I just shrugged and gave up. I was too tired to exercise, too lazy to make good meals, and too ashamed to buy clothes larger than XL and size 18.

A trip to the dentist and a sleep study test smacked some sense into me as I was diagnosed with sleep apnea in September of 2012. I knew I had to change, that I couldn't just keep doing what I had been - and my Take Shape for Life health coach is what helped me realize this and get me on the Take Shape for Life program with Medifast Meal Replacements.

November 16, 2012 was my first day of embracing health. It was not easy - I was looking at getting through my birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's and somehow NOT binging on every sweet thing in sight and sticking with the programs MF meals (which are, as one might expect, not always the most delectable thing in the world). The first day that I gathered my meals together in a gallon sized Ziplock bag, I nearly cried seeing how little I would eat each day. I contemplated bailing right then and there.

But with the support of my family, my friends, and my health coach, I DID make it through the holidays. What's more is that slowly, surely, the pounds came off. It was when I was traveling in February, that suddenly, I realized my size 18 jeans were constantly falling off my butt! I pulled out my old size 16 jeans - jeans I thought I'd never be able to wear again - and gasped in delight as they fit!

It's been almost 10 months since I started the program, and I've lost over 110 pounds. I went from a size 18/20 (probably more like size 22/24, but we'll never really know now - and I'm not sad about that!) to a size 10. I went from wearing a 2X shirt at my maximum to a Medium. I have a completely new wardrobe - I am too small for even the clothes I lost on Weight Watchers! All my "Fat" clothes have been donated - well, except one. I've kept one blouse, the blouse I wore on Day 1 of this journey. It is the black blouse with red and gold embroidery that I bought to throw together in a hasty costume to be a witch for Halloween (something I didn't want to be, but since I was so heavy, I felt it was the only thing I COULD be). The blouse that I resorted to wearing because it was one of the few XL items that fit (even though it was stretched like a balloon over my form). And I'll keep that blouse to remind me of how far I've come - and how I NEVER want to go back to that Old Me.

Even though all my life I've been overweight or obese, I've never seen myself as a fat girl - I've always felt that inside, deep down, there was a skinny girl. A skinny girl buried under fat, under a skin that wasn't her. When I was doing yoga for a brief time in yet another attempt to lose weight, I would see glimpses of this girl, hidden away by the fat suit. She was begging me to free her.

Finally, on the cusp of turning 30, my skinny girl is coming out to play. She's getting to enjoy the life she's always wanted - to wear cute clothes, to be more active, and, most importantly, to be HEALTHY. Because while the cute clothes and the size 10 jeans are great, the thing I've learned most is that good health is non-negotiable. Without good health, I am no better than Fat Girl, too tired to do anything.

As I get closer to coming off program, I am making an effort to devise my maintenance plan for lifelong health. I don't want to fall back into old habits. I don't want to regain the weight. And if that means cutting out the bad foods I used to love - then so be it!

Skinny Girl is happy and ready to enjoy her healthy new lifestyle!

Hello, I am Carolyn! I have always had trouble keeping a healthy weight (ask my doctors, they can tell you how much they tell me each visit how I need to lose weight!), which I attribute to:

A) loving to read
B) genetics
C) a twisted eating view (i.e. if you eat a serving of carrots, you can have a huge slice of cake!).

But once upon a time, I was able to slim down to 185 lbs. Boy, that felt GOOD! I loved the way I looked (even if I wasn't very photogenic).

At my heaviest, I was 268 pounds. I hated how heavy I was, how much effort it was to be active for my job, how I dreaded flying because of the seats, but I was lazy. Any changes I tried to make maybe lasted a day.

My dentist diagnosed me with sleep apnea (big surprise, right?) and prescribed weight loss and a dental appliance. So on November 16th, I began a very regimented diet called Take Shape for Life. It couples meal replacements with a health coach. The first few weeks were tough, but I stuck with it, even when I really didn't see much in the way of results.

Fast forward 7 months, and I am now at my lowest adult weight of 173 pounds!! The change is so obvious, people I haven't seen in a long time don't recognize me! Gone are the 2XL blouses, the size 18/20 jeans! Hello size 12 and L shirts!! I'm wearing clothes I never thought I'd be able to wear - I haven't worn a size 12 jeans since *I* was 12!!

The best part is, I have more energy than ever before - I recently moved and had no trouble hefting boxes up and down the stairs into the new apartment, a chore that would have easily winded me 6 months ago. I don't squish my rolls of fat into airplane seats - most recent trip, I had a whopping 18" of seat belt!! And instead of being exhausted after work, I'll pop into the gym and get some cardio - I've even signed up for a charity bike ride to raise money for diabetes, something I would NEVER have done a year ago!

This is not to say my choices are easy. Food is everywhere - the stores, the malls, on the way to and from work. I realize I like food, food that isn't good for me. But I have lost a whopping 95 pounds on program (Check out my picture on the left where I can't even hold up 85 pounds of rice representing the weight I lost!), and I am, for the first time in my life, going to be within a healthy BMI. I will no longer let food control me - *I* will control my food!

It also helps to have encouragement from my family and friends, who have supported me and accommodated me during this change. And then we have the words that I read in an old Weight Watchers booklet, that are truer now than they've ever been:

"Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels."

Thank you also to all my SparkFriends, who have encouraged me when I was down and shared in my successes! You guys are awesome - together WE CAN DO IT!!

Member Since: 3/12/2009

Fitness Minutes: 14,237

My Goals:
+To make healthy food choices on a day-to-day basis

+To make organic foods a priority and try out a vegan/vegetarian lifestyle

+To have the energy and stamina for my job (which often involves hours-long standing, walking, and stair-climbing)

+To be confident in myself and my body and

+To love my body no matter what

+To feel sexy in my body no matter what shape it ends up

+To experiment with other forms of exercise, such as biking and hiking

My Program:
+ Drink AT LEAST 64oz of water a day

+ Eat small, nutritious meals every 2 - 3 hours

+ Cook one meal a day that combines meat and veggies

+ Take time 3 days a week to exercise, whether it is yoga, the fitness center, or just walking during lunch

+ Learn that one OOPSIE is not the end-all, be-all. Mistakes happen; it's what you do after your mistake that determines your reality. You can realize you flubbed and move on, or you can choose to return to the lifestyle that gave you nothing.

Personal Information:
I've had a variety of (embarrassing) nicknames over the years, but you can call me "Carolyn".

Other Information:
Things I like:

+ Reading (I'm an avid reader and read about 90 books a year)

+ Writing (I love to tell stories and write essays about my thoughts and feelings)

+ Movies (Star Wars, Lord of the Rings)

+ TV (House, Battlestar Galactica, Red Dwarf)

+ Music (Madonna, P!nk, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis)

+ Burning Candles (Yankee Candle is my favorite brand)

+ Knitting & Crocheting (My specialty being typically flat items - afghans and scarves - and hats, such as the one in the photograph to the right

+ My cat (An adorable black cat owns me and has been with me for 3 years)

+ Collecting (Star Wars, female action figures, Monster High, and Bratz)

Read More About SWEET_CAROLYN - Profile Information moved here. (Updated July 30)

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