Putting her money where her mouth is helped Sara Lugger drop over 100 pounds.
Most of my adult life, I’ve weighed around 200 pounds. In high school, I ate pretty much whatever I wanted—especially when I started driving and could go to any fast-food restaurant my heart desired. When I got to college, I attempted to lose weight because I was a physical therapy major, so I was learning about what it means to be healthy. My friends and I started going to the gym occasionally, but whatever small amount of weight I lost I put right back on—plus more.
After college, I weighed about 300 pounds. I wanted to try losing weight again because of my career as a physical therapist and to help me feel more comfortable meeting new people. A friend’s mom knew I was trying to get in shape and told me that she was on Weight Watchers. She suggested that I give it a shot. I actually did really well on that program—probably because I didn’t want to show up to a meeting without having lost weight. I stopped eating all junk food like ice cream, got a gym membership, and started doing light workouts two to three times a day. I’d do a workout video for about 30 minutes in the morning, walk for another 30 minutes during my lunch break, and jog on the treadmill at the gym for 20 to 30 minutes. After about a year, I’d lost 100 pounds, bringing the number on the scale to 210 pounds. Sadly, it didn’t last long, though.
After I left Weight Watchers because I thought I could maintain my new healthy habits on my own, the weight started coming back—fast. It was easy to fall back into old habits, like eating entire restaurant meals, rather than portioning them out.
On top of that, my colitis, a digestive health issue I’d been managing since my teens, started flaring up more than ever. That meant I had to scale back my intake of fruits and veggies. I thought, “Well, if I’m not supposed to eat many veggies, I’ll just go back to eating what I used to.” I used my illness as an excuse to go back to my old ways, despite the fact that I could have made a healthy diet work—even with colitis.
When I realized that I was almost 350 pounds, I knew I had to make a change. There was just something about this number that made me realize I needed to try to lose weight again. I was out of excuses not to do it. That’s when one of my friends from college told me she had some success losing weight using this website called DietBet.com. Basically, it’s website where you join a group of people who bet a minimum of $5 that they will lose at least four percent of their body weight in 28 days. If you lose the weight, you get your money back, plus however much is left over from people who didn’t lose the weight. What’s cool about these 28-day “games” is that you have a support system within the group. When I was having a hard day, I wrote to people who were also trying to lose weight and told them about it. They always responded with so much support.
Since I’m so competitive, this sounded like something I could be good at. To lose the weight, I went back to my plan from my Weight Watchers days: I worked out three times a day by playing Just Dance on my Wii Fit, taking walks, and running on the treadmill—all for 30 minutes or less. I also threw out all of the junk food in my house and stopped carrying cash to keep me from buying fast food. After my first 28 days, I’d lost 17 pounds. Though I couldn’t see much of a difference, I felt so much better. Nine months later, I got to 202 pounds. Since then, I’ve started playing games on DietBet.com sporadically to help me get back on track if I gain anything.
Today, I weigh 195 pounds.
I used to shy away from certain outings because of my weight. My friends would invite me to basketball games all the time, but I would turn them down because I was worried I wouldn’t fit in the seats. Now, I want to go out and do stuff all the time. I have more a drive to go out and live life.
Find workouts you love. It’s a lot easier to motivate yourself to do something you like something you don’t. I love to dance, so I used my Wii Fit to play Just Dance, as well as doing dance aerobics videos at home.
Split your meals. I’m a picker. When my food is just sitting in front of me, I’ll keep munching on it, even if I’m full. So now, I split meals with friends or ask the waiter to box half of it for me. It completely eliminates the temptation.
Treat yourself, but don’t keep treats in your house. I don’t keep the unhealthy foods I love in my pantry because I know I won’t be able to control myself. Instead, I’ll go buy myself a cone, eat it, and then it’s over. There’s not the same temptation there is when I have a half-gallon sitting in my fridge.