Weight Loss Success Story: Sharon Holderman

Tonight’s success story is Sharon.  She let a weight loss competition at work springboard her into a 63 pound weight loss.

This is Sharon before losing weight weighing 236 pounds:

Weight Loss Success Story Sharon

Here she is now weighing in the 170’s:

Weight Loss Success Story Sharon After losing weight

Here is her story for your motivation!

Tell us a little about yourself, your family, your job, etc…

I am 37 years old and a librarian at a university. I’ve always gone to school or worked at one because I love the environment of learning and helping people. I was always a bigger girl (weighed 150 in 8th grade) but played sports throughout high school and college so it was healthy and athletic. Once college volleyball ended, I struggled with weight a lot because I LOVE LOVE LOVE food. I also love to cook and bake, so that makes life difficult. I am blissfully married to the love of my life, have one adorable cat, and live a simple, happy life!

How long did it take you to get to your ideal weight? Are you there now?

I was at a great weight for me (172 pounds) in June 2008 after I tried Weight Watchers. Then I was 236 in April of 2011…yes that is a lot of weight to gain in three years! I got down to 224 in January 2013, so I had lost a little in almost two years, but I wasn’t motivated or trying too hard.

Then 2013 was the year to make it work and I got down to my ideal weight in October 2013, which was ‘in the 170s’. I decided not focus on one number. I made sure the range was doable and enabled me to still eat ‘normal’ food in moderation without strict food rules that made me insane. I am still in the 170s, so I’ve maintained for three months including through the holidays!

What was your motivation to lose weight?

To look good naked! Okay, well it’s more than that. I felt uncomfortable and unfit, and I wanted to be healthier. And I honestly think that things were correctly aligned in my life to get serious with weight loss including relocating to a new state, having a new job, getting out of debt (thanks Dave Ramsey), and being very happy other than my weight.

What made you decide to start your weight loss journey?

In January 2013 we did a competition at work that gave points for eating healthy, not eating late at night, exercising, etc. I am an extremely competitive person (must have been all those sports growing up) so this just spoke to me! So I joined two back to back competitions we had, then just kept going.

What kept you on track losing weight?

The competition was a great way to start and keep me on track because I wanted those points for prizes! But more than anything I contribute most of my success to using Myfitnesspal.com. I let it auto-calculate my calories and then entered my planned food the first thing each morning so I could see my day and adjust if needed. That helped me balance a bigger lunch with a smaller dinner, etc. It was especially helpful for eating at restaurants. I also tracked my carbs and realized they were so far outta whack – I definitely needed help taming those bad boys. I also made a personal decision to not track any fruits or veggies (although I tracked oil I cooked them in or dressings I used) and considered those freebies. That went a LONG way toward my sanity when it came to food so I could eat a snack but feel good about it. Lastly, this time I incorporated exercise, which I didn’t really do before. HUGE difference!

Tell us about a typical day in terms of eating and exercise.

I have a fruit smoothie for breakfast every morning, and then at work, I have a “second breakfast” with baked pumpkin oatmeal and vanilla yogurt. For lunch I always have an apple or orange, a single serving of microwaveable veggies, and either a Lean Cuisine or leftovers from last night’s dinner. Having a fridge/freezer in my office makes weight loss a lot easier…best $100 I spent on Craigslist! For supper I usually make a main dish from a wide range of recipes, then different side dishes for me and my husband since he doesn’t love veggies. I usually have a salad, but I’ll often roast veggies or have some other healthy side dish. Then the key is that I will have a bigger portion of my side dish (salad or veggies) and then have a smaller portion of the main dish. My go to snack? Pistachios. I buy them in the shell so it takes some work to earn my snack.

I get up and run 2-5 miles four times a week. I do it in the mornings before work twice a week and then run both weekend mornings. Those of you who don’t know me have no idea what a shocker this is. I LOATHED running with a white hot passion until I did the couch to 5k program. I also liked running more once I realized it burns more calories than any other activity! I also have never been a morning person. But since I don’t love working out, getting it out of the way first thing works the best for me. I now have a 10pm bedtime to compensate, but it’s totally worth it! Now that I’m maintaining, my exercise has changed…before I was getting up six days a week to do a video workout before work. I did it with my neighbor, which helped a lot.

What is the biggest difference you have noticed because of your weight loss?

Shopping for clothes! I now wear a size 14 and can shop at most stores. It also makes it easier to shop at thrift stores. Other things I notice is that it’s much easier to paint my toenails, my husband and I both fit on our oversized chair together for movie snuggling, my blood pressure is lower, I am in such better shape that just walking is easier, I don’t have that feeling that strangers are judging me in a restaurant for being big and ordering lots of food, and many people have told me I’m an inspiration to them!

What advice can you give to others struggling to lose weight?

The most important thing is to feel proud of every good thing you do on your weight loss journey, especially when you make a good choice. I think weight loss is about choices: eating an apple instead of chips, getting a veggie side instead of fries at a restaurant, having one cookie instead of seven, etc. When you consider how many food decisions you make a day, of course you’ll make bad decisions sometimes, no matter where you are in your weight loss journey. That’s human…just don’t forget to BE PROUD of all the great decisions you make. And just keep moving forward, one decision at a time, because every good decision has a positive impact!

How do you keep the weight off in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle?

Making sure I’m never super hungry helps prevent me from overeating, which is why I eat two breakfasts. I think most of my weight issues were more from the amount I was eating although what I hate certainly played a part. So I’m finding the balance between how much I eat and what I eat. I still eat as many fruits and veggies as I want, so I have no excuse for being hungry or not being able to eat ‘as much as I want’. I think that keeps me sane more than anything else because being hungry is my worst enemy. I am also still running, which also has become a nice activity to listen to fun music and let my mind wander.

Give us a quote or a motto that you have used to keep you focused.

-Sweat like a pig so you can look like a fox! (I think that I even got that quote from a previous success story on this site!)
-Just keep swimming. (Dory from Finding Nemo…and I don’t even swim, but use it to just keep plugging along both running, weight loss, making good decisions, etc.)
-And lastly, overall I just reminded myself that going slow is better than not going at all!

I still struggle to not think of myself as “big girl”, but that comes from years of baggage that I’m always working on. However, I am very proud of the fact that I picked a goal weight that makes me feel good and didn’t let other people set my goal. I’m not tiny, I wear a size 14, and I weigh over 170 at 5’9”. And that’s GREAT for me no matter what BMI calculators say or those stupid height-weight charts in the doctors’ offices. Sometimes I have to remind myself that no one else dictates where I am happy with my weight, so I get to choose. And I can always change my mind! I can go to the 160s in the future or the 180s, so nothing is set in stone. It has taken a lot of work to wrap my brain around all that, but it’s important for me to know because I feel like my weight loss is more mental than anything else.

Amazing job, Sharon!  You have shown us that with a little planning and pre-tracking, we can do anything!  I also love that you set a goal you felt was right for you!  And…by that picture, it is certainly a great weight for you because you look incredible!  THANK YOU for sharing your story with us!

If you would like to follow Sharon, check out her blog HERE.

Weight Loss Success Story Sharon Before and After Photos

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About Jennifer Swafford

Jennifer is an elementary school teacher who is trying to lose 100+ pounds. She has certainly learned how much It Sux To Be Fat and is here to motivate you to live a healthy lifestyle.