Today we are chatting with Kari Ewest. Kari is a professional nanny in Minnesota who lost over 100#.
I think her story will inspire, challenge and motivate you, just as it has me.
Here is Kari’s before picture:
I began my weight loss Journey 3 1/2 years ago.
Did something motivate you to do this? and if so what ?
I was in Memphis, visiting my father and was reading a magazine with articles about women losing half their weight in 2 years. My father is a bigger man and he was having health issues.
When you started on this journey did you know from the beginning that this time would be different? and if you did how?
At that moment, I knew I was going to do it. I vowed to lose 100 pounds in a year. I told everyone I knew that I was going to lose 100 pounds in a year. That helped make me accountable for my actions. I knew I had to change my eating habits and start exercising. I knew the only person who had control over my success was me.
How did you motivate yourself to exercise?
I started off slow 20 minutes at a time and just started to walk on the treadmill. I started at a low speed and gradually built up my time. Sometimes I would walk 2x a day.
Did you follow a specific plan or did you just watch what you ate?
I really had to re evaluate my eating habits. I gave up soda and started to drink just water. I gave up all the junk food, and tried to make wiser choices when eating. I was motivated the first year, because I had a goal to achieve. I knew I had to prove to myself I could do this. The weight started to drop at the rate of 1-2 pounds per week. The weight loss was slow and steady, but that is how you achieve and maintain long term weight loss.
Did you lose weight continuously?
I remember the first summer I hit a plateau and the weight didn’t come off. I started to learn strength training. At one point I was getting frustrated because I was stuck. I knew I had to do this. I had something to prove. I was doing more cardio and strength training. Eventually the weight started to come off again.
After I lost my initial 100 pounds, I hit another plateau. At the time I was frustrated, but looking back I can see why it happened.In my mind, I was working out more, so I thought I should be able to eat a bit more right?Well that is not how it works. Everyone kept telling me to eat more frequently during the day to help increase my metabolism. But that isn’t how it exactly works.I had never counted a single calorie I ate. I have no idea how many calories I was eating in a day.I do know I was working out harder and harder, and nothing.
Did you ever get frustrated and quit?
I actually gave up at one point and said ok I will give my body a break and rest and when I start back the weight will come off again. That was in October. I stopped weighing myself.
In January I weighed in and I gained 25-30 pounds!! Yikes!!!!
I was mad at myself. I needed to get back to where I was.
I really started to workout hard but the weight wasn’t dropping.. I was getting smaller but the weight was still there. I couldn’t understand it!
My brother tried talking me into getting a Bodybugg… I wasn’t too keen on the idea. I didn’t want to have to count calories. I always said if I ever go on a “diet” I am not going to count calories. It has to be a way I can live with the rest of my life with. I looked them up on the internet. The Bodybugg was $200.00. It was a lot of money but I finally gave in and got one
I bought it in March and started using it on April 1.
I was a bit disappointed when I realized I had to start logging all my food. But I did it. When I kept track of how much I ate and knew how much I was burning. I started to lose the weight again. Again, I lost at a slow and steady rate of 1-2 pounds a week.
How long did it take you to lose the weight that time?
I lost 75# using the Bodybugg and it took me about 10 months. I knew how much I had to workout out or had to do to stay active according to what I ate. Some weeks were better than others. Some weeks I gained weight. I have no idea why and then it would drop. When your body is constantly changing it has to process things. The fat percentage compared to weight is what is most important.There are a lot of variables in the numbers and sometimes we can not make any sense out of them so we have to stay focused on our success.
What keeps you motivated at this point?
I basically let the world know about my weight loss. Everyone knows who I am at the gym. I know I am under the “public eye” and I know I have people watching me all the time. That is both good and bad. I know if I gain all the weight back I don’t just fail myself. I fail everyone who has been there supporting me as well as everyone I have inspired to stay motivated.
I challenge myself. I set challenges for myself to complete. It’s amazing what I couldn’t do before that I can do now. I can run now, although I hate running. It is a big motivation for me to tell everyone what I am trying to accomplish. It can be a big goal or small goal it doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. I make the gym my social place. So I look forward to going there but you don’t have to belong to a gym to lose weight. When I first started I was too ashamed to go to the gym. But after the fact I realize I never had to be. Your biggest supporters can be found at the gym. I find activities I like to do. Working out doesn’t have to be something that is dreaded.
Can you give us some tips on the things that were most helpful to you on your weight loss journey?
- If you are serious about wanting to lose weight. You have to want to do it for yourself.
- Take one small step at a time.
- Slow and steady is key.
- Tackle one phase at a time.
- Build a foundation.
- Get out and move for 20 minutes a day
- Make an appointment to be active at least 20 minutes a day and build from there.
- Challenge yourself every week to go faster or farther or longer…you have to be able to push yourself.
- 20 minutes a day can be your starting building block. Build from there.
- If you absolutely hate and exercise… find something that you can do and that you enjoy.
- Exercising doesn’t necessarily require plugging away on the treadmill or the eliptical or any another machine.
- There are so many ways to be active and get the exercise one needs.
Now that you tackled the output of your calories you need to focus on the input.
Start a food diary or journal (check out www.fitday.com) and figure out how many calories you are taking in on average.
Eat like you would normally and find out how many calories you are eating.
Then take a look at your food log and see where you are eating the most and what alternatives could you make that would be healthier choices. Determine where and what are your weaknesses. Start by eliminating 300-500 calories a day.
Eat more fruits and vegetables and lean protein.
Eat smaller meals and eat about every 2-3 hours.
Let’s say you are allowed 1900 calories. Take that 1900 and divide it up equally into 6 meals so you know how much you can eat at each meal/snack.
There are metabolic rate calculators out there to help you figure out what you should be able to eat. To be honest I have personally never used one but you will have some idea how much you can eat in a day. Also drink lots and lots and lots and lots of water. Water is very important.
Here are some tips to keep you on track:
- Find a friend or group of friends to work out with/ walk with.
- Hold each other accountable. It doesn’t do any good if you find a work out buddy and neither one of you pushes one another.
- If you have a bad day don’t dwell on it. Just move on.
Who cares if you ate 2 pieces of cake at the birthday party you went to last night.
Are you never ever going to eat cake again in your life?|We are all going to have bad days.
- Instead of dwelling on bad days you need to move forward .You can reflect and see how you could have changed things. Think about what you would do differently next time and learn from the bad days.
- Never ever ever ever ever give up! Even if the scale has been stuck or seems to be going in the wrong direction. You have no idea what changes your body is going through.
- You may want to change your workout routine or reevaluate your eating pattern. But don’t give up…. EVER… Unfortunately it doesn’t take much time to undo something we put a lot of effort in. Not every method works for everyone so you need to find out what works best for you.
- Are you challenging yourself??Challenge Yourself… Keep setting weekly goals and small challenges.
- Reward Yourself: Every time you complete a challenge put money into a jar and treat yourself to a movie, pedicure, concert tickets, a play something you enjoy doing. Be honest with yourself. Always aim to do better every 2 weeks. If you could walk at 2.0 this week push it to 2.5 next week. But remember, at the same time find activities you enjoy doing.
- Look at your calendar at the beginning of each week and schedule time to work out. Predetermine which 2 days of that week will be your recovery days. Recovery is just as important.
- Change up your routine every few weeks… It’s good to confuse your body and breaks up the monotony. Strength training is very important. There are lots of videos on line to show you the different target areas and how to do them. You don’t need to belong to a gym. Sparkpeople.com is a good resource site. Hungrygirl is also a great one.
- Always have workout clothes and shoes in your car and ready so you can workout any time. If you are like me once you get home from work you just want to sit on the couch then I am done for the night. If you are not disciplined enough to do it later don’t allow yourself to go home until you get your workout in. Sometimes the hardest part for me to get motivated is getting the shoes on and getting started. You need to find what works for you. Maybe early mornings are best instead of late evenings, just experiment and find out which one works best for you.
- Allow your body rest days. Your body needs time to recover.
- There are many ways during the day you can add physical activity to your day. Walking up and down all the aisles in a store, parking far away from the entrance. Boycott drive throughs, walking in and paying for gas. There are a lot of conveniences out there for us but all we don’t always realize that those conveniences have helped us become lazy.
- Throw all the excuses out the window. If you want to lose weight you can do it. One just has to want it bad enough.
I know there are faster ways to lose large amounts of weight at a time but I want people to learn to enjoy “exercising” not dread it.
Here is what Kari looks like today.
Thanks Kari, it’s great to get such solid advice from someone who has walked the walk.
How about it readers? Can you think of one thing you can do today to start your journey to a healthier life?
As I was writing this article I realize that my issues with exercise stem from not being very athletic in my youth, being taunted in gym class by those who were, and P.E. teachers who treated the “athletically challenged” like they were invisible.
I loved Kari’s tips on “scheduling your work outs, and carrying your workout clothes in the car.
My challenge to myself is to walk on the treadmill at least 3 times a week.
How about you? Did this article motivate you to challenge yourself?
If so, share it with us!