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Guest Blog by December’s #1 Fan of “Finding Thin”, Joanne Greene

ImageJoanne has been gracious enough to share her successful weight loss story.  Thank you so much Joanne!  We are very proud of you and appreciative of your efforts in becoming our #1 Fan!

Because Joanne was such a great fan, and because we’re so proud of her, she has won two tickets to the Red Carpet Premiere of “Finding Thin” in Los Angeles!  If you want to be the #1 fan of January and win two tickets as well join the Fanzy app on the left hand side of the “Finding Thin” fanpage to compete.  Though Joanne has set the bar pretty high 😉

“Joanne’s Personal Weight Loss Story”

By Joanne Greene

I was not overweight as a child.  I ate normal size portions of food, ran around playing tag, rode bikes, played hopscotch, and other active things girls did in the 60’s and 70’s. We didn’t eat at restaurants all that often, mostly if it was someone’s birthday or on vacation.  My favorite foods were sugary cereals and dessert, but my mom made sure I didn’t get an unlimited amount and they were balanced with healthy food.

When I got married at age 20, we moved 3000 miles from home and our families to Los Angeles, California. My husband and I both worked full time and would often stop and grab a burger, fries, and a shake for dinner. When we went to the movies we’d always get the jumbo popcorn with butter and the supersized soda.  This marked the beginning of our slow and steady weight gain.

During my pregnancy, I took the phrase “eating for two” literally. My sweet tooth was out of control and I became a “junk food junkie”.  I gained 42 pounds, waddled into the hospital at 202 pounds, and had a 9 lb. 6oz, 23-inch baby. I lost a little bit after the baby was born, but the weight crept back on. Before long I had gained over 100 pounds since my high school graduation weight and so had my husband!  Ugh!

Over the years I’ve tried various diets, including Medifast, Overeaters Anonymous, Weight Watchers, 3D, Cabbage Soup, and other such diets printed in women’s magazines.  The last diet I tried was in 1993.  I was so tired of going up and down the scale like a yo-yo.  I wanted to stay where I was and not gain anymore. Unfortunately that proved harder than I expected.  The highest I ever weighed was 267, but I was at around 255 for about 15 years.

In 2010, my husband and I knew we didn’t want to risk a barrage of health problems going into old age at this weight.  We started educating ourselves a bit about healthy eating, exercise, and psyching ourselves up for “THE BIG DIET”. We started looking at food labels, reading diet books, and visiting some “get healthy” websites. Our 50th birthdays were approaching and we wanted to give it one last try, to get at least some of this excess weight off.  Knowing that anything was better than being stuck at 250+ lbs.

I’d always been a great admirer of Richard Simmons and saw that he had a website, http://www.RichardSimmons.com.  He’s dedicated his life to helping people learn how to get healthy, so I figured he knows what he’s talking about. I started reading his Daily Message and the Success Stories section on his site and they were very inspiring. Over the years I’d gathered a collection of his workout videos (though some were still in shrink-wrap) and decided to pull one out and try it in my living room. After about 20 minutes I stopped because I am easily distracted, was out of breathe, and my dogs were looking at me funny. I read on Richard’s site that he taught classes three times a week, and I’d always wanted to meet him in person, so I decided to drive the hour to his studio and take a class.

If anyone had told me this work out would be fun and show results, I would have told them they were crazy!  But the combination of Richard Simmons’s smiling face in the front of the class, the peppy music, fun dance moves, and the results have all added up to a fun and affective weight loss routine.  There is a wonderful group of people from ages 19 to 90 who attend and I’ve made some great friendships. It’s great to surround yourself with a community of kind and caring people who are on the same journey as you. Several of my new friends have lost between 70 and 170 pounds!  The class is inspiring and shows me that big weight loss IS possible.  Two of my new friends have blogs that I read often and they share their own weight loss journey, healthy eating tips, and their ups and downs along the way.  www.KeepItUpDavid.com and www.Heidi-Finishing-The-Hat.blogspot.com.

For so many years, I thought I was being kind to myself by eating whatever I wanted and not engaging myself with exercise. But I found out that true kindness is taking care of myself, and sticking with a food and exercise plan that allows me to be the best me I can be.

Most of the diet advice says to “Eat Less”, “Move More” and that is the only thing that works.  But I think another, possibly more important, key to success is to “Change The Way You Think”.  Don’t think of this as something you do until “X” amount of pounds come off. It has to be a new way of eating, exercising and thinking for life. You are not depriving yourself by doing these things, you are giving yourself a gift and setting yourself up for success.  Educate yourself about food ingredients, what your body needs to be healthy, and what fun exercises you can choose. For me, I’ve found my favorites to be doing aerobics classes at Slimmons, the elliptical, water aerobics, recumbent bike, wii fit games, and walking. When I first started I could barely walk a mile.  Now most of my walks are 3 miles.

Break up your large weight loss goal into smaller more manageable goals and set up rewards for yourself. I’m not going to lose those 100 pounds in 100 days! For me, I decided I would shoot for 10 pounds the first month and 5 pounds each month after that and I’ve been sticking to it all year.  A goal I had for Christmas, the gift I wanted to give to myself, was to be under 200 and Ho, Ho, Ho, I did it! First time since the late 80’s that I’ve been on the 100’s side of the scale!  Some of the things that have helped me towards my goal are switching my diet to mostly whole grains, vegetables, and fruit while eating much less processed foods. The “junk food junkie” comes out every once in awhile and I still have pizza, ice cream, chips and candy, but I eat a more reasonable amount, far less often.  I’ve decided I will not drink soda or eat at fast food restaurants.  I got an iPod and loaded it with lots of great, upbeat music to listen to during my workouts.  I have a notebook where I log in my exercise and weigh-ins. I load the dates into the notebook ahead of time, made the plan to work out 6 days a week and really hate to draw a line thru any days where I skipped exercising, so I don’t do it often. Weigh-ins are posted once a week, but I do weigh myself every day.

The weight loss journey is not a fast, straight, or down-hill course.  It’s more like a zig-zag.  If you put in a good effort you will achieve good results.  Not every day or week is going to be smooth sailing.  If you get off course, deal with it and than get right back on it and keep going towards your goal.  Since last February I have lost 62 pounds, my husband has lost 47.  We still have a ways to go, but I am confident we will reach our goals.  If we can do it so can you!

Thanks for reading and good luck on your weight loss journey.  Don’t forget it can be fun too 🙂