A Puppy Inspired Abby to Walk-Off 41 Pounds

Posted by: Kathy  /  Category: How to care for your Shih-Tzu puppy

A Puppy Inspired Abby to Walk-Off 41 Pounds

Success Stories Posted on Apr 18th 2011 11:33AM by That’s Fit Editors

Filed Under: Success Stories

Abby Before

Name: Abby Austin

Age: 28

Height: 5’9″

Before Weight: 219 lbs

How I Gained It: My weight has always fluctuated with my mindset, and it showed. Seesaw periods of emotional eating followed by crash diets put this weight on over seven years. Each time my husband deployed, I felt fear for my soldier’s safety and loneliness without my partner. I confided in stuffed crust, frozen pizza — not just a slice, all of it. Then when it came close to my husband’s return, I would do the Atkins diet. During each crash diet, I lost only most of what I had previously gained — never all of it. When I gained back the crash weight, I gained all of it and then some. Then, I fell in a deep rut after our military transfer. I was resentful about leaving loved ones and giving up an exciting career, and I felt like a victim in a life I couldn’t control. Pass me a slice of pizza!

Breaking Point: During a routine doctor’s appointment in November 2009, I had high blood pressure. According to my health records, my pressure had raised steadily during the time frame of my weight gains, and now it had reached a level that was unsafe. I ignored it. Hospitals made me nervous. This kind of news is hard to overlook, especially because heart problems run in my family. Eventually, I saw the baggage I was carrying — not just the extra weight in my mid-section; it was in my head, too. I longed for change.

How I Lost It: For Christmas 2009, my husband gave me purpose: Her name was Emma, and she was 20 pounds of German Shepherd puppy. She became my inspiration.

My 2010 resolution became to raise a dog. I became active just by taking Emma for walks and practicing obedience. But I wasn’t deliberately incorporating fitness into my lifestyle until my coworker and close friend pointed out my weight loss. I had “accidentally” lost 11 pounds. If it were that easy…? I thought back to college in my mandatory health class where we explored different workout trends, and remembered Pilates and bought a home workout DVD. By the time spring rolled around, I had lost 22 pounds by walking five to six times a week and practicing Pilates four to five.

With my fitness regime working, I gradually made improvements to my diet. I changed from eating “white” (white bread, white rice, and white pasta) to “brown” (wheat bread, brown rice, wheat pasta). I craved fresh fruits and vegetables and experimented with new recipes that incorporated them. I ate my salads and sandwiches naked without dressing, finding satisfaction in the true flavors of the food rather than masking them under sauces. I figured out how to improve my favorites. My former go-to food, pizza, was just as satisfying with thin, wheat crust, low-fat cheese, and fresh vegetable topping. The funny thing about all this today is that I continue to eat using these healthy modifications, but I’m not dieting; I’m eating my new normal.

It was a celebratory visit with my doctor the day we saw that my blood pressure had dropped to a healthy range. I was on the right track. When I started feeling physically good, I became positive and released the resentment and depression I carried. The body and the mind are connected. Supposedly, the mind can heal the body, but I think it works the other way, too.

Abby Now

What’s Next: Besides being a fitness resolution, the 1,000 Mile Challenge is preparing me for the hike of my lifetime: The Wonderland Trail, the 100 mile trail around the base of Mt. Rainier in Mt. Rainier National Park, Washington. I hope my blog will follow my story when I hike that trail. In the mean time, I have 740 miles to hike before I reach one thousand.

After Weight: 178 pounds and counting (Her goal is 165 lbs).

Abby is currently on mile 260 of her 1,000 Mile Challenge. Read more about her journey and experiences at her blog: http://1000milesonmyowntwofeet.blogspot.com/

Have you defied the odds, lost weight and changed your life for the better? Submit your success story to us and help inspire others!


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