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Caitlin Flora: I lost 182 pounds in 5 years and I've kept it off!

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Caitlin Flora’s story is much like many overweight/obese women. She struggled with her weight early. Because her classmates made fun of her as an elementary student, she begins to develop an unhealthy relationship with food at an early age. As a 160 lb. 12 year old, her peers continually teased her. She said the way she was able to soothe herself was destructive by sneaking in cupcakes and junk food in her room, so no one saw her eat or how much she was consuming.

By the time she was a young age of 16; she moved out of her home and dropped out of high school. To make ends meet, she accepted a job at a fast food joint, which gave her unlimited access to fatty oily foods. She learned at a young age, to deal with stress she would eat. Food became her best friend, only it didn’t love her back. At the age 18, he was an astonishing 280 pounds. Even more discouraging, in 2008, before she decided to take charge of her health, she weighed in at a shocking 332 lb.

Her turning point was when her friend who she had not seen in years asked her when her baby was due, she was not pregnant. She said she remembered being embarrassed and knew she had to do something. She went home and emptied all the junk food in the garbage replacing it with microwaveable ‘healthy choice’ meals and Slimfast shakes. She said this was the one way she knew to control her eating by giving herself portions she should be eating.

Exercise was never something she felt comfortable doing. She started slow with home exercise videos. She said at first it was hard and she was out of breath often. Slowly, it was easier and easier to the point she was able to buy more advanced videos and keep up with them.

In Jan. 2010, she had met her first milestone, 100 pound loss weighing in at 232. She hit a plateau, and wasn’t sure what to do to get past it. She decided to add weight lifting to her five times a week cardio sessions and was able to shed over 18 months another 82 pounds. Weighing in at 150, she really wanted to meet her goal weight of 145. To do this she has implemented high intensity workout routines such as P90X.

She said she knew the journey would be a long one to lose the weight. While her journey is five years long now, she said it took her 28 years to gain all that weight. She developed tips to help others lose weight.

1) Connect with others- She used weight loss groups on Facebook to help support her along the way. She said when she felt down, virtual friends helped her.

2) Healthy snacks- She used smart snacks such as eggs or a hand full of nuts. In fact, better yet, don’t buy any junk foods, and then there will be no temptation.

3) Weigh monthly- Too many people are scale obsessed. Instead she weighed in once a month, just to check her numbers. This told her if she was on the right track or if she needed to reduce calorie intake more.

4) Fluids are your friend- if plain water is not your thing, add mint leaves or fruit pieces to your water. Water doesn’t need to be boring and can help fill you up.

5) Utilize apps- Smartphone’s can help you stay connected to your fitness goals. You can track your food intake, exercise calories and stay in touch with fitness pals all with the touch of a button on your phone.

How much weight have you lost? Who inspired you to begin your journey? Have you researched your goal weight?

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