Stephanie Bennett-Half Her Size!

By AM Northwest Staff

We chatted with Stephanie Bennett, a 28-year old Salem woman, about her brave weight battle to go from 330 pounds to 150! She also shared her secret tips on how to lose weight without risking your health.

Here are her tips:

- You have to learn to live in the gray! What I mean by that is long-term weight loss should be viewed as a lifestyle change and not just a quick fix diet. You need to find a program that you can live with for the rest of your life if you want to keep the weight off. This means that you won't always be perfect 100% of the time. You WILL have slip-up's and bad days and that's okay (that's life). The most important thing to do when you have one of these moments is to recognize it and get back on track. You don't have to (and should not) wait until Monday to start over again so you can diet without imperfection! Umm yah, that's just not realistic in the big picture! So that's what I mean by learning to live in the gray, it's not always going to be black and white.  

 - Slow and steady wins the race! We all want to lose weight overnight and I admit that would be great but again that just is not realistic. Studies have shown that losing 1-2 pounds per week is a healthy rate to lose weight at. Believe me I know, I know. When you have a large amount of weight to lose this task seems impossible but it's not. Instead of looking at how much you need to lose break it up into sections. Weight Watchers starts off by encouraging you to lose 10% of your body weight. Then you get rewarded for every 5 pounds you lose. Before long those five pounds add up and your goal seems closer and more obtainable. I lost an average of 1.7 pounds per week. That is an average some weeks I lost 5 pounds and others I gained a pound or two but over the course of the 2 1/2 years it took me to lose my weight my average weight lost was 1.7 pounds per week. It truly is amazing to me how quickly the time passes and that's the thing about weight loss. The time is going to pass whether you're doing something about it or not. So why not start?

 - Don't starve yourself! You have to eat to lose (if you want to be healthy). Reducing your caloric intake to drastically is only going to mess up your metabolism, making weight loss more difficult. Your body needs food to function. Weight Watchers gradually reduces the number of calories you intake as your weight decreases. That way you always know you are eating the right amount of food for your body and weight!

 - Drink water! I know it's so boring and if you ask me it really doesn't taste all that great but unfortunately study after study have shown the multiple benefits that water has on your body including weight loss. Listen, I have to make deals with myself to get my water in. For example, I love diet Pepsi sooo I make myself drink 32 ounces of water before I indulge in my first soda of the day. Believe me I need my soda like Portland needs their coffee so you better believe I drink my water! Then I try to alternate water/soda throughout the day just to make sure I get it all in!

 - Accountability!!! This is a huge one for me. Weighing in every week was a huge key to my success. I never missed a weigh-in, even if I knew I would gain I still weighed in! It was my way of staying true to myself. Besides if I didn't weigh how would I have a gauge for how I did the next week. Also having friends and family that did it with me helped tremendously. For the first year I was the one who picked up mom and Cindy and drove them to the meeting. This worked well for me because if there was a morning I did not want to go I had to call them and explain why. The excuses always sound better when you don't have to say them out loud. Needless to say, I was faithful to attend my meetings.

- Exercise!!! Yep!!! I hate that word too. I still hate that word. Do I exercise? Yes! Do I want to? Never! I hate exercise, I hate thinking about having to exercise, I hate putting on my workout clothes, I hate putting on my headphones so I can listen to music while I exercise, I hate the actual exercises that I do (yes I have tried them all and they all suck). BUT... I LOVE the feeling I get when I'm DONE!!! Not the feeling I get while I'm doing it but the since of accomplishment I get when I'm finished. It truly is so good for your body and heart! If you don't want to start with exercise DON'T, get your food under control first. But I would defiantly suggest adding it as part of your life long plan it will help you lose weight and more importantly keep it off.

- Join a support group!!! This goes along with my accountability one. I know that I would not have been as successful without my Weight Watchers group and especially without my leader. You have to find the right group and right leader for you and everyone is different. Do you have to join a meeting to lose weight? No, my husband has done it without meetings but if you don’t attend a weekly meeting I would strongly suggest getting a strong support person to help you along the way.

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