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How a Single Working Mother Finally Lost the Weight—This Time for Good

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Like many SparkPeople members, 43-year-old Chris (ASHLEEMICAHSMOM) can't remember a time when she hasn't struggled with her weight. As an elementary school student in Flint, Michigan, she used to sneak the "goodies" out of other kids' lunchboxes.
 
"While I was never really bullied about my weight, I have always felt fat, and I always compared myself to all the pretty, skinny girls," she recalls. Then, when Chris lost her father at 18, she sought comfort in even more food. It wasn't long before her childhood chubbiness had become full-fledged obesity.

When she was expecting her first child, Chris found herself sobbing in her doctor's office, terrified that her weight would cause problems with her pregnancy. Even so, as a busy single mother who worked nights, she continued her unhealthy habits for years. "We relied on fast food—'cheap' food—what I call a kids' diet," she admits.
 
A Milestone Becomes a Turning Point
 
Chris found herself at her highest weight of 365 pounds when she turned 32—and the same age as her father when he had his first heart attack. She was scared of dying young like he did, and not being around for her kids. After trying several weight-loss programs and products, Chris made the drastic decision to have bariatric surgery. "I decided the surgery was the best option for me, to keep from dying young," she shares.
 
Although Chris lost weight quickly at first after her 2008 surgery, it gradually started to creep back on. In 2014, she had gained almost 65 of the initial 100+ pounds she had lost, and then slowly got the weight back off. The yo-yo cycle continued for years, wreaking havoc on her mental and physical health.
 
Around her 40th birthday, Chris got stuck at a plateau and sunk into a deep depression. It was around this time that she realized her surgery might have been a shortcut of sorts, but was not the single, surefire solution to "curing" her obesity. To maintain her weight loss over the long term, she would also need to take accountability of her diet, exercise and overall health.
 
With help from her doctor, a consistent nutrition and fitness plan, the proper antidepressant medication and support from SparkPeople, Chris slowly began to take control of her weight and her life.
 
One Decision at at Time
As a single mother working two jobs—a doctors' office during the day and a dorm parent in the evenings—Chris doesn't have time for long workouts or even regular trips to the gym. Instead, she squeezes activity into her busy days in any way she can. "I take the stairs instead of the elevator, I park farther away from buildings, I dance in my chair at my desk, I even walk laps inside the building at night when I am at work," she says. "When I have the energy, I tend to ride an exercise bike or do low-impact workouts."
 
In watching several food documentaries, including The Magic Pill, Chris realized she had been approaching weight loss the wrong way. "It was during this time that I finally realized I am a food addict—really more of a carb addict," Chris says. She now follows a low-carb plan, cutting out almost all breads and grains except for low-carb wraps.
 
Breakfast is usually a scrambled egg on a low-carb wrap with turkey sausage; lunch is something simple like grilled chicken chunks, spinach and shredded cheese on a low-carb wrap or a taco salad made with Boca veggie crumbles. Dinner is typically a riced cauliflower meal that can be thrown in the microwave and warmed up quickly. Snacks are mozzarella cheese sticks, nuts, or “fat bombs.”  
 
Chris tries to avoid sugar, has completely cut out fast foods and stays away from diet drinks, as she noticed they seem to trigger her cravings for carbs and junk foods. Cauliflower and broccoli are now among her daily staples, and she tries to limit her food intake to between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
 
Although she's lost more than 170 pounds since her journey started, Chris still faces challenges, like her time limitations and ongoing struggle with depression. After years of carrying around so much extra weight, she had to have both knees replaced. And she still tends to isolate herself, due to lingering fear of being judged by others.
 
Chris' Tips for Sustained Weight Loss
  • Don't fall for the fads. "Instead, do research, find what works for you and learn how food impacts your body and your health," Chris suggests.
  • Make it fun. Chris only found success when she started regarding nutrition and exercise as a fun lifestyle change, not a diet.
  • Lean on others for support. Chris stresses the importance of connecting with others, especially during a down day. "Being able to share my highs and lows with people who get it, who have lived it, is the best thing about SparkPeople," she says. "The positive comments motivate me to continue to strive for better than yesterday."
  • Don't expect perfection. "Realize that meaningful weight loss does not come easily, or overnight," she says. "Tomorrow is another day, another opportunity to make better choices than the day before."
For Chris, the most important lesson learned along her journey was to love herself enough to be healthy. Since losing the weight, she has enjoyed countless small but meaningful perks. Chris can now walk up and down stairs without huffing and puffing, and is no longer limited to shopping only in plus-size stores. She plans to walk a 5K next summer, something she has always wanted to do but never could before.
 
"People comment that I simply look happier," Chris notes. "I definitely do not miss the other 'person' that I lost."

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Comments

BKNOCK 5/26/2020
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REKHANKSOLANKI 5/21/2020
First of all, thank you for sharing such an amazing article on How a Single Working Mother Finally Lost the Weight—This Time for Good by Melissa R.

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Thank you the for the article, you are an inspiration to us all. Heres a great way I found to lose weight https://bit.ly/2yOZr7y Report
SWARD99 5/4/2020
Thank you for sharing. Inspirational, and I love how strong you’ve discovered yourself to be! Report
BOB5148 4/25/2020
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FRAN0426 4/19/2020
Thanks for sharing your inspiring story Report
CECELW 3/28/2020
Wow! Good for them Report
PETRA320 3/5/2020
Good article Report
SNUZYQ2 2/24/2020
Good job Chris! Thank you for sharing your inspiring story. Report
MUSICNUT 1/8/2020
Thanks for the great article! :) Report
ANNIEMAROO 11/21/2019
Awesome story that helped me to understand carb addiction.
Congratulations on your continued success
Thank you! Report
RAZZOOZLE 9/25/2019
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EVILCECIL 8/10/2019
Great job! Report
NASFKAB
Thank you. Report
I always reach out to others for support. Welcoming article Report
ARNETTELEE
great Report
Great. Report
This article was just what I needed. I'm a single mom of three boys, I work long hours, and we're all very involved in my church. I had just been thinking I didn't know when I would be able to carve out time to exercise (my pitfall). Seeing how Chris had to get creative with finding time, it made me realize that I can find the time too! Report
Great story Report
Congrats on your story! Report
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It's inspiring to read success stories! Report
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ROBBIEY
Great Report
Well written article! Report
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Happy Thanksgiving great blog Report
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Thank you for sharing! Report
What an amazing journey! Congratulations on your success. Report
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Best decision you ever made. Report
CD12282919
Awesome, Congratulations
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Fake it till you make it. Report
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0480JERRIT
Your are a great person I'm in awe of your attitude...your a a great example to me thanks.
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0480JERRIT
Your are a great person I'm in awe of your attitude...your a a great example to me thanks.
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Life style change not diet, well said! Keep Sparking! Report
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Some great suggestions for overcoming a plateau. Thanks! Report
I too have recently started a low carb regime, loosely following the 8 Week Blood Sugar Diet and am pleasantly surprised how easy it is and how I don’t have cravings or hunger pangs...
Go you! Report
AZMOMXTWO
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