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1 year and 133 lbs later! At goal weight March 2008

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FINISH!! NYC Marathon 11-01-09

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VALERIE:) is a SparkPeople Motivator!

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Hi everyone! My name is Valerie, and I am 31 years old and I live in Lancaster, PA. I am married to the most wonderful man, Chad and have two handsome sons named Cameron (5 1/2) and Chase (16 months).

I am ran the NYC marathon on November 1st, 2009 and raised $3,094 for the Ronald McDonald House Charity!! THANK YOU ALL!!

A little backround on me:
I was overweight since the 4rth grade. My parents were very poor while I was growing up, struggling to make ends meet. My mom worked in the food service industry, and was allowed to take the 'day old' prepackaged sandwiches, etc, home everyday instead of throwing them out. Also when they overcooked in the cafeteria, she was also allowed to bring that food home. This and cup of noodles was pretty much how I was raised. I ate a lot of processed foods. Our Sunday night dinner every Sunday was Extreme Ice Cream Sundaes with all the toppings, because that was a tradition my father was raised on. I would NEVER blame my parents for who I became, I am just explaining my lack of education when it came to food and being healthy. They did the ABSOLUTE best they could with the cards they were dealt, and I love them so much for it! I was also very lethargic, never did much. I did play field hockey in 7th and 8th grade, but that was a struggle for me. I hated the training and running because I was so far out of shape.
Well, I continued my poor eating habits as I grew up. I became a closet eater to cope with stress and issues in my life. Once I got my first job when I was 15, I not only bought my own clothes, I would secretly buy my own food. Every day over the summer while my mom was at work, I would walk to the grocery store and buy donuts, ice cream, Banquet meals, hot pockets, and overall just a ton of junk. I would then eat it ALL before she got home and took all the trash out to the dumpster. Obviously as time went by, I became more and more obese.
By my senior year, my weight was so out of control. I got picked on for being fat my entire life. By this time I had resigned to the fact that some people are just predestined to be obese. I thought I was just one of them.
So that's how I lived most of my adult life. Eating pretty much what I wanted and that consisted of a lot of fast foods. Every once in a while, I would get upset with how I looked or how heavy I had become and I would go on the latest diet, lose 20 lbs and then eventually gain it back again.

In 2004, my husband and myself both became tired of trying to get pregnant (we were trying for over 3 years at that point) and decided to focus on something different: Weight Loss. We chose Atkins, which looking back and at my cholesterol levels, etc, I would NEVER recommend to anyone. But he lost 100 lbs, and I lost 55 lbs taking me to 243 lbs, and then one day woke up feeling strangely, only to find out a few days later that I was 3 1/2 month pregnant! I had gestational diabetes, and also ended my pregnancy with pre-eclampsia, having the doctors induce labor 2.5 weeks early.

Cameron was born January 26, 2005 and quickly became the new love of my life! 2 weeks after delivery my weight was back to 248 lbs, only 5 lbs more than when I found out I was pregnant. Cameron's beginning of his life was quite rough to say the least. Between having jaundice for 2 1/2 months to finding out he was born with congenital heart disease at only 2 1/2 months old and would have to have open heart surgery to repair his heart(To read the whole story, please see my blog, 'The best reason for losing the weight...'), it was rough times.

After Cameron's surgery, he wasn't allowed out of the house other than doctor's appointments for the first year of his life. This led to very hard times financially and obviously health wise for Chad and myself. We quickly fell back into the fast food lifestyle since we had so many added responsibilities, and only one of us could leave the house at a time. We quickly regained all the weight we had lost on Atkins.

And that was that, I was 297 lbs again, the obese woman I just knew that I was predestined to be.***SIGH***

And then one day it happened. I was sitting on the couch watching the Biggest Loser, and crying stuffing my face with donuts and ice cream, asking myself why I couldn't lose weight when it happened.

My then 2 year old son walked out of his bedroom and looked up at me and said, "Mommy, come play with me." I looked at him and told him, Mommy is too tired, go watch TV. Minutes later, a light bulb went off. What was I doing? This child had overcome heart disease, and now I was setting him up as a bad example on how to get it back again! How could I do that to my son, and myself?
I decided it was over, one way or another. I got some courage up, and applied to the Biggest Loser, Season 4. I poured my heart into my video and application, and just knew they would pick me!! People cried watching my video, I knew I would be cast. (To see the video, check out my myspace page,

On February 14, 2007 (Yes, Valentines Day got me thinking about the heart issue again) when I had still not heart back from casting and heard they would not be announcing casting until March 5th, I decided I wasn't waiting anymore. I had waited my entire life to do this. It was now or never. I joined the Biggest Loser Club, and truly found lasting relationships there with other people struggling as I was. The support is what carried me through.

I learned about this free site from my friends over at The Biggest Loser Club, and joined here shortly after. Most of them left there and have come here, and I made such lasting friendships on this journey, I refused to let them go, so I followed them here! Since being on Sparkpeople, I have made a lot of new and lasting relationships that I am eternally grateful for!

One thing you will NEVER hear me say about my journey is that it was easy -- It just wasn't. This was a ton of hard work and dedication. BUT I believe that if I can do it, ANYONE can. You just have to truly believe in yourself and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you have the inner ability to do anything you put your mind to. Everyone is strong enough to stay determined. I really believe that 110%! I had my weeks where my weight went up, and then came back down. I hit plateaus. I struggled EVERY minute some days with what I was going to eat or whether or not to go work out. But I stayed focused. And determined. I made mistakes. But realized that I am only human, and bound to make a few. I just kept remembering part of my favorite quote, "Life is an ever-changing process, and nothing is final. Therefore, each moment and every day is a chance to begin anew." And that is exactly what I did.

I went from someone who would get out of breath going up stairs, to running 5Ks and 10Ks and finishing in the middle of the pack. I was training for my first 1/2 marathon when I became pregnant and found out I wasn't allowed to run right now (HR issues.)

You can ask anyone that knows me in real life. I'm nothing special, I wasn't lucky, I was so unhealthy. My friends hoped for the best, but secretly expected the worst. No one truly believed that I could lose all this weight. Not even my mom or dad. This is who we ARE/WERE.
I knew I had the inner strength to accomplish this. I knew I could be whoever I wanted to be, all I had to do was truly believe in me for the first time in my life.

AND I PROVED EVERYONE WRONG. And it was the best feeling I ever had in my entire life. I changed my life, and SO CAN YOU.

To quote of of my best friends in the world,

DOWN 133 LBS FROM 2/14/07 to 3/29/08!! (13.5 MONTHS)


From the heart,

I feel healthier now than I have ever felt in my life.

I will continue living my life this way.



RUN FOR LUCK 4 MILER (MARCH 15,08) 37:28 (9:22 MILES)

Member Since: 5/4/2007

Fitness Minutes: 820

My Goals:
SW 297 on 2/14/07
CW 188.8
GW 165
Current Goals:
1)Return to my pre-pregnancy weight by no later than July 31, 2009 (187 lbs) MET!!!

2) Return to my goal weight again. (165 lbs)

3) Train for the NYC 1/2 marathon on March 21, 2010!!

My Program:
I count my calories and run RUN run!!
I eat in the 1200-1400 calorie range of only healthy non-processed foods and do an average of 60 - 90 min cardio, 20 min of ST 5-6 days a week. GO ME!

Personal Information:

Other Information:
Imagine yourself to be the type of person you want to be, and then be it. You may have to let go of some bad habits and develop some more positive ones, but don't give up--for it is only through trying and persisting that dreams come true.
Expect changes to occur, and realize that the power to make those changes comes from within you. Your thoughts and actions, your choices and decisions, and the way you spend your time determine who you are and who you will become.
You are capable and worthy of being and doing anything. You just need the discipline and determination to see it through. It won't come instantly, and you may backslide from time to time, but don't let that deter you. Never give up.
Life is an ever-changing process, and nothing is final. Therefore, each moment and every day is a chance to begin anew.
~Barbara Cage

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