How one woman walked her way to a 110-pound weight loss

Yahoo Lifestyle

Weight-Loss Win is an original Yahoo series that shares the inspiring stories of people who have shed pounds healthfully.

Carly Griffin is 31, 5’6” tall, and currently weighs 154 pounds. In 2014, after being overweight for most of her life, she was inspired to lose weight for a friend’s wedding. This is her weight-loss story.

The Turning Point

I was always an overweight kid. I was a secret eater, taking one too many snacks when no one was looking. Throughout school, I participated in sports and stayed active, which helped offset the extra snacking. During my senior year of high school, my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer. At that point, I quit playing sports in order to spend as much time with her as possible. She passed away six months after the diagnosis, and I gained 40 pounds between the beginning of that year and graduation. My weight steadily increased for the next seven years. Finally, I’d had enough of my complacency.

I remember one time in particular when I really felt that my weight had become a problem. I decided to hike a nearby mountain with a group of friends. I made it about 200 feet up before I had to stop and turn around. My friends continued without me, as I wanted them to. The last thing I wanted was for them to think I was holding them back. I sat at the trailhead waiting and watching as elderly adults, toddlers, and adults carrying their children in slings walked past me back to their cars after completing the summit. I felt so ashamed of myself.

The turning point for me happened about four and half years ago when my best friend asked me to be a bridesmaid in her upcoming wedding. I remember taking my measurements and realizing that I would hardly fit into the largest available size for bridesmaids’ dresses. It was a big wake-up call for me. I think all along I just wanted to fit in, and here I was, literally not fitting in. I decided to order the dress two sizes too small, on purpose, in hopes that it would fit in five months at the wedding.

Photo: Courtesy of Carly Griffin
Photo: Courtesy of Carly Griffin

The Changes

The first thing I did was start researching online for all things weight-loss-related. I downloaded the MyFitnessPal app and started to track how much food I was eating. I figured out how much of a caloric deficit I’d need to lose weight.

My roommate at the time suggested we try the Couch to 5k program. In just one month I had lost a little weight and I was able to run an entire mile, something I never thought I’d be able to do. Two months in and we were signed up for four different 5K races. I set small goals as I went.

I managed to fit into the dress by the wedding, and even had to have it altered because it was too big. I continued running, walking, hiking, and counting calories and continued losing weight. At this point, I started to worry about excess skin. I had read that weight training helped minimize that to some degree, so I started following a weightlifting program four times per week as well as ramping up cardio. I walked every day when I got out of work, and when time permitted on the weekends I’d go on longer walks. Walking was like therapy, nothing but me and some music for a few hours to clear my head. The endorphins they tell you about are a very real thing. I made some tweaks to my diet, I cut out alcohol mostly, and started to carb-cycle. My body really started to change a few months into this routine. It took about two years to lose 100 pounds.

Things seemed to be getting better for me the longer I stuck with my plan. Running made me feel accomplished; I was getting faster every day. The weights I was lifting were getting heavier, my body got less achy, muscle definition was starting to show, and my measurements were going down. I was fitting into clothes that weren’t plus size, and I hardly ever got sick.

I surrounded myself with people with similar goals, or at least people that wanted to help me reach my goals. All these things I found to be very motivating.

Photo: Courtesy of Carly Griffin
Photo: Courtesy of Carly Griffin

The After

Once I lost the weight, I continued doing exactly what I had been doing. I felt strong and healthy. I enjoyed being outside and treated every day like I was getting to go on an adventure. I wasn’t on the sidelines anymore, and I never refused a challenge. I was in a very good place emotionally, as my confidence was soaring. I started to feel an increase in attention from the opposite sex around this time as well, and my dating life really picked up. This is when I met my current boyfriend.

What surprised me most about weight loss is just how easy it is to gain it back when you go back to your old ways. When I met my boyfriend, I enjoyed spending as much time with him as possible, and as a result my workouts were less regular. I stopped tracking calories, and I started regularly consuming alcohol and sugary treats again. In about five months I gained back 20 pounds. Last summer the two of us decided to do the keto diet, and I got right back into walking every day with the occasional day of running thrown in. I lost the 20 pounds I had gained plus an additional 10 in less than a year — in total, I’ve lost 110 pounds from when I first started. He’s managed to lose 75 pounds. I realized then that this was going to be an ongoing process. Another surprising thing is how many people just don’t recognize me anymore.

Photo: Courtesy of Carly Griffin
Photo: Courtesy of Carly Griffin

The Maintenance

These days I follow a ketogenic diet, while allowing myself a cheat day twice a month where I eat whatever I want. For exercise I do cardio every day. On my lunch break I walk around town for an hour, or I’ll get on a treadmill at the gym if the weather is less than ideal. On the weekends when I have more time, I go for several long walks on a bike trail near my house. I’m looking to start up another weightlifting routine as well, as that was when I felt my best.

As far as daily habits go, I still use MyFitnessPal to track calories. I try to stay under my caloric maintenance while eating keto. I drink coffee in the morning and learned how to enjoy it black. I don’t drink any calories. I enjoy food far too much. Also, I try to move every day, whether it be walking and running or dancing around with my boyfriend’s daughter.

Fitting into all the cute clothes I never could wear before is a large part of my ongoing motivation. I still browse the internet for all things weight-loss-related, as well as follow a lot of fitspo people on social media or others with stories like mine. They really inspire me.

The Struggles

I still love sweets and try to limit them to occasional treats. My biggest struggle today is holding off on eating carrot cake until my planned cheat day.

Advice

My best advice is to do a ton of your own research. Download MyFitnessPal. I think a food scale is also a great investment. It really does come down to simple math: Consume less and move more. How you do that will be up to you. It’s OK to fall off track, but if you want to see any progress you’ve got to dust yourself off and keep at it. Consistency is 100 percent key.

Need more inspiration? Read about our other weight-loss winners!

Weight-Loss Win is authored by Andie Mitchell, who underwent a transformative, 135-pound weight loss of her own.

Have a weight-loss win to share? We want to hear it! Tell us at YStyleBeauty@yahoo.com.

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