Welcome to another edition of Carol's Corner. I hope you all enjoyed my last 'From The Heart' post and found something that helped inspire you in your daily journey. Later in this issue you will see another feature story which I am sure will serve to be both inspirational and motivational. This picture was taken yesterday. It was the first time all week I left my bedroom upstairs. I didn't leave the house, but had a friend over to play cards at my kitchen table. Tomorrow I hope to get out of the house and go to the movies in Ithaca. It should be a decent day to get out because it might actually reach 50°. Shirley Mack Kenndy won for naming this ensemble with,”Crystal Blue Persuasion.” The top was one of my thrift store purchases and I've always liked everything about it. It looked perfect with these Jennifer Lopez skinny jeans.
My jewelry was another 3 piece set I made and the color's complemented my blouse perfectly as did my floral Amythyst and Blue Topaz ring.
Decided to use this watch to give my ensemble a little more pop. It's really quite a stunning piece.
So now we get to the meat of today's blog; our feature story from one of my very own members of “Carol's Inspiration Station”. Welcome Tami McIntosh as she shares her journey in her very own words. But before we hear her story let's let some pictures do the talking first. You'll be able to see how far she has come. I'm going to show two pictures now and one at the end.
Big difference, right? So here's Tami as she titles this, “My Wonderful Journey.”
After several failed attempts over a couple of decades, I started this journey to a healthy lifestyle on January 11, 2014. I found myself back at my heaviest of 261 pounds. Just 10 years prior to this, I had lost 60 pounds in 14 months by following Weight Watchers. Then I fell off track and slowly started gaining the weight back, and before I knew it I was back at my starting weight and feeling miserable. I had a difficult time doing basic things without getting winded. I had gotten to the point where I came home from work, which is a desk job, where I sit all day, and I would put on sweats and sit on the couch and watch TV until I went to bed. I spent at least 5 hours a night watching TV. I spent several years sitting on the couch watching The Biggest Loser and Extreme Weight Loss. I was soaking in all the information I was learning from watching these shows. In 2010 I was diagnosed with arthritis in my knees and was in a lot of pain on a daily basis.I had a lot of trouble going up and down the stairs. And, on top of that, I also have problems with my back, so between the two, there's no high impact workouts for me. Then one day I decided to take another stab at getting healthy, but this time I decided to make small changes so that I didn't overwhelm myself with too much at once. I decided I'd start with getting a routine of physical activity down and started walking 10 minutes a day, 3 days a week. I did that for a couple weeks, then bumped it up to 15 minutes a day, 3 days a week. I gradually worked my way up a little at a time. It was always the first thing I did when I took my lunch break at work. I live in a cold climate area, so during our winter months I would take laps around the inside of the building I worked in. People looked at me like I was crazy, but I didn't care, I just kept walking. That's interesting now, because a lot of people do the same thing, it's the norm now. Once I did that for a couple months, I started incorporating better food options. However, I was not much of a cook, so I ate a lot of Lean Cuisine & Smart One's. I knew they were not the best option, but at that time, I felt it was better than what I was doing, which was eating out a lot. I ate lunch out every day and dinner about 4 days a week. I had only lost about 5 pounds in 5 months. I was yo-going. Doing well one week and bad the next, but I kept trying. So, then, I thought I'd try Atkins because they had shakes, snacks, bars, and frozen dinners. I cut back to only eating lunch out one day a week and only occasionally for dinner. My goal was to gradually start making my own meals, but would have the meals to fall back on when I didn't cook. So on May 30, 2014, I committed to Atkins and in July I joined an on-line Diet Bet where I met some supportive people who were also making the same journey. I did very well, I lost 10 pounds a month for the first 3 months. I was on a roll and feeling great! At about 2 months into it though I started feeling too deprived on a low carb diet, there were foods I wanted that were not on the plan. I knew I had to do something so I would't fall off the wagon again and gain back the weight I had worked so hard to lose. So, one night while watching Extreme Weight Loss, I decided to go to the library the next day and check out Chris Powell's books” Choose To Lose” and ” Choose More, Lose More For Life”. I made a plan to start following the Carb Cycling program he uses with his clients. I started that in September of 2014 and made it a part of my weekend routine to spend a couple hours making my meals in bulk for the week, so, I had meals ready for each night during the week. I tracked all my food and stuck with it. In September, I also decided I needed to bump up my activity a little, so I started working with a personal trainer at my gym. At that point I had lost almost 25 pounds. Once I started strength training on a regular basis, I stopped losing as much weight, but started toning up and reducing my percentage of body fat. I continued to work with a trainer through January of 2015 and lost another 26 pounds and reduced my body fat by 7% during my time with the trainer. I learned what I needed to know and found out I could push myself more than I ever thought possible. I worked with a trainer long enough to get the routine down and stick with it.To this day I still go to the gym during my lunch break 1 day a week to do strength training and now I do another day at home. My living & dining rooms look like a gym. I have a treadmill and recumbent bike in the dining room and a bar bell and several different dumbbells in the living room, and my DVD collection is continually growing. I love walking with Leslie Sansone. I continued with strength training, cardio and eating clean, and in April I made it to Onederland! At this point I had lost 60 pounds, gone from a size 20 to a size 12 and reduced my body fat by 10%. I was so happy and proud of myself, because when I started this journey, my goal size was a 12. However, once I got there, I decided to readjust my goal to size 8. By mid July of 2015, I was down to 198, for a total weight loss of 63 pounds, and this past November I beat my best time in a local 5K, finishing in 46 minutes. Although I am happy to have maintained my healthy lifestyle and weight loss, I am still working at losing those last 2 sizes. I've been following the same healthy eating plan and workout schedule, so I'm currently working on changing that up. On February 3, 2016, I made a choice to start getting out of bed early and riding my recumbent bike before going to work. I've done well at sticking to it and have done it every day since then. I find that it helps me get through the day. I don't get sleepy at 3:00 p.m. anymore. I'm averaging 12,000 steps a day and I'm also making a plan to change up my carb cycling regimen. I have been reading Chris & Heidi Powell's newest book ” Extreme Transformation- Lifelong Weight Loss in 21 days”. The book includes many new recipes, and as soon as I finish reading the book, I am planning on incorporating many of the new recipes into my diet. I've definitely learned that small changes make a big difference and finding a good support system is key. There isn't a day that goes by that I do not connect with my support groups and read articles that help keep me informed and motivated. Over the last several months, I've had some family and friends come to me for help, so I have been coaching them and teaching them what I've learned in my journey, and trying to help keep them on track and motivated. Some I keep up with through messages and others I meet at the gym. I believe this not only helps them to get started, but, it also helps keep me motivated and accountable. It's been quite the journey and this time it feels different, this time it's for GOOD!
So here's another great picture before we close out another very special edition of Carol's Corner.
Thanks again Tami for agreeing to share your story. And I have an idea for you to do a follow up story later on if you're interested. I know that all of you, my readers, have to be inspired and motivated when I am able to bring these great personal stories for you to read and enjoy. I am always looking for something that can help each and every once of us who are on this lifelong journey. Stay strong, stay motivated and stay inspired. Till next time, God Bless.