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Healthy eating and exercise for life

Online Dieting and a Determined Passion for Life Give Cheryl New Hope and Great Success

Cape Cod, MA

Cheryl woke up and received a phone call that changed her life - a longtime friend was getting married the following year. A message that normally would elicit joy, also gave her feelings of tremendous anxiety. “Ever since I was 30, I kept gaining weight, and before I knew it, the weight had really added up. I couldn’t face my friends like this, and with an upcoming doctor’s appointment and impending weight lecture, I knew it was time to do something about my weight.”

Finding Motivation

Cheryl found the online weight loss program through an online news story. “The article seemed to fit my idea of weight loss. More importantly, I didn’t think I could lose all of my weight alone.” She felt the online weight loss program was not only sensible, but that its tools would provide her the feedback, support and information she would need to be serious about weight loss. Upon joining, Cheryl never missed a day with her Food Diary; she exercised daily and measured portions. She also regularly used the message boards and received quite a bit of motivation connecting with others along her journey.

Cheryl joined the online weight loss program in March 2004 at 320 pounds, wearing a 34 pant size on her 5’2” frame. After Cheryl's one-year anniversary with the program, Cheryl weighed in at 157 pounds, wearing a size 14. Through consistent exercise and persistence, Cheryl has managed to lose a total of 163 pounds.

At first, Cheryl’s goal was to lose weight. When she began online dieting, she walked for six minutes on the treadmill, as it was all she could do before the activity became too painful for her body. But eventually, she began to focus on improving her overall health one step at a time. Now she exercises everyday, walking 60 minutes every morning, and sometimes even going for a 45-minute jog in the evenings, recording her calories burned using the Get Moving Calculator. “Everyday I thought about how I could become healthier today. It wasn’t about how many pounds I could lose, but how many miles I could run and what other goals I could accomplish by improving my health.” With her daily mantra – “It’s the effort that I make today that matters” – Cheryl focused on every day as a new day with purpose.

Regaining Her Life

Cheryl has experienced remarkable change since beginning this new phase in her life. For eight years, Cheryl took in sewing work at home because she felt people would stare if she worked in public. Now she is comfortable working and being out in the world again, not hiding away because of her size. Little things that others often take for granted are joyous successes for Cheryl. Fitting in restaurant booths is no longer an issue. She can sit in auditorium chairs to watch her daughter’s dance performances, where previously she was forced to stand in the back, or not attend at all. When her wedding ring finally fit her again, it was news she joyously shared with the online weight loss community. “My outlook on life has changed. I now have more hope and joy for my future.”

Before Cheryl committed to improving her health, her daughter was busy visiting colleges and researching her future. But Cheryl, who couldn’t travel easily or participate in campus tours comfortably, couldn’t be a part of the experience. “I was missing out on her life because I was too heavy.” Now she can do all kinds of things with her daughter. “I can be a part of her life again, and even keep up! I can take her to college this fall and feel comfortable.”

The Road of Maintenance: A New Chapter Commences

Along her journey, Cheryl has picked up a great deal of wisdom to share with others. She suggests starting slowly – to change one habit at a time and learn to sustain that change before you move on. “It’s about building new habits and changing your lifestyle.”

She also suggests, “Look for support anywhere you can. Whether it’s family, friends, message boards, or an outside support group, it helps because it is a hard journey.” Cheryl credits her husband, her online dieting buddies and a support group named TOPS (Taking Off Pounds Sensibly) with providing her the strength to succeed despite obstacles. Prayer and her faith also keep Cheryl going, helping her overcome weakness when she feels overwhelmed.

This month, a proud mother watches her daughter walk across a stage, with Pomp and Circumstance in the background, and joy in her heart. Not only has her daughter entered a new phase in her life as she ends high school and begins college, Cheryl also begins a new chapter in her own life – one marked by health, happiness and confidence. By continuing to utilize her online weight loss tools, her invaluable support community, and all the wisdom she has gained along the way, Cheryl’s success will lead her through maintenance and beyond. “People tell me I have lost a person, and weight loss aside, it’s true – I am starting a new life.”

Congratulations, Cheryl – your passion for life, your unending tenacity towards health and your faith in success give us all a role model to follow!