Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Andrea's story

I would like to introduce you to Andrea, runner #5 of our Ragnar Relay team. Andrea happened to e-mail me just as I was starting to invite people to join the team (of course she knew nothing about the team at the time). She shared her story, and we had quite a bit in common. I was very excited when I saw that she was actually on Oprah! It was Oprah's final weight loss show, and Andrea had her moment to show off all of her hard work in losing the weight.

When I saw that photo, and read her e-mail, I spontaneously asked her to join our team. I figured, "Hey, if this girl's good enough for Oprah, she's got to be good enough for us!"  I thought she probably wouldn't even consider joining, because it was so out-of-the-blue and we really didn't know each other at all. To my surprise, she accepted right away, and I couldn't be happier to have her on our team! It has been so fun getting to know her, and she fits right in. Enjoy her story!



I have struggled with my weight for most of my life, but never really became aware of it until middle school.  I was approximately 40 pounds overweight at that time.  One event in particular impacted me that would change the way I viewed myself. 

I knew that the majority of the eighth grade girls at my school were gathering for a slumber party, but I was not invited.  I received a phone call that night and this is how it went:
“Hello, is Andrea there?” 
"This is she"
“Hi, this is Weight Watchers and we want to sign you up for a meeting.” 

After that, all I could hear on the other end was laughter breaking out and I hung up.  I laugh now because little did they know that Weight Watchers showed me the lifestyle principals to lose my weight and make it a lifestyle.

Andrea "before"
My success story is not your typical, "I lost 100 pounds in 6 months.”  My weight loss journey has taken place over many years.   I would start my own made up versions of diets only to fail time and time again.  I knew my weight was creeping up, but I the more I gained, the more defeated I felt.  My reality check came when I went to buy a new pair of jeans. 

I picked out my size and went to the dressing room and I could not get them buttoned.  I remember feeling panicked because they didn't fit.  They were a size 24, and I now needed a size 26.   I remember leaving the mall depressed and discouraged about how far I had let myself go—around 280 pounds to be exact.

I decided at that point I could not allow myself to continue down the path I was going.  I slowly made changes to my diet through Weight Watchers and started walking.  I struggled many years with my weight going up and down but I never quit fighting.  I had so many weight books from joining and rejoining Weight Watchers.  I would lose 50 pounds one year and gain 20 back the next, but I was determined that I was not going to quit this journey I had started.

My story is about patience and persistence not perfection.  I was tired of struggling, and in 2009 my "aha" moment came.  I had met a new Weight Watchers leader named Martha, and she finally made it click for me--this was not a diet and all about a number on the scale, but this was a lifestyle.

She showed me how to make healthy choices livable, she showed me that I was going to be eating and living this way for the rest of my life so I needed to make this enjoyable. I needed to learn how to eat foods I enjoyed and work in my favorite treats.  If I didn’t like something I was eating, then I needed to stop eating it, if I didn’t like an exercise I was doing, then I needed to stop doing it.  She gave me a magnet that said these great words, “Lose it the way you intend to live it.” 

In 2011, my hard work had paid off and I was invited to be part of the Oprah Weight Loss Finale Show.  It was an absolute dream come true!  I had watched all of her weight loss transformation shows and had dreamed about being on one someday and the opportunity came!
 
As I started making a conscious effort to eat foods that I really liked, and work in treats that I was craving, this really did become a lifestyle to me.  I began running that year little by little.  I signed up for a few 5K’s and loved the feeling of race day.  
The next year I completed a 10k and this year I ran my first half marathon. Next, on the list--running a marathon before the end of the year—did I just write that?  Yikes!

I contacted Katie earlier this year because I was amazed by her transformation and wanted to let her know what an inspiration she was and that we had several things in common besides our weight loss.  We had both been on television, and I had also had the same surgery Katie had the year before.  Katie invited me to be part of the Ragnar team and I am thrilled at the opportunity.  I have gained 11 of the most amazing friends in the process.
130 pounds down!

20 comments:

  1. Those mean girls make me sick.

    Love your story!

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  2. I wanted to kick those girls in the teeth when I read that part.

    “Lose it the way you intend to live it.” - that's what I keep telling people! It makes so much sense. Everyone I know thinks you have to eat eight pounds of veggies and no bread to lose weight. It's so frustrating because the only support I have is the blog-o-sphere, where people know what's up. :)

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  3. This is amazing and inspiring! I love that Andrea's journey required a lot of patience. That is the worst culprit in my weight loss journey! Thank you for sharing!

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  4. Great read. Way to go Andrea!!

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  5. Andrea, you are amazing! Sheer determination - I love it :)

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  6. Way to go Andrea! Your story is amazing! You know...children can be so cruel in that way...i dealt with alot of bullying when i was in high school but when that little micro universe ends and real life hits those bullies maybe they look back and realize how much time they wasted hurting others when they should have been bettering themselves. At least i hope they do.

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  7. Wow!!! What a inspiring story. I love the quote 'lose it the way you intend to live it.'

    Does Andrea have her own blog?

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  8. Amazing! What personal accomplishment if I could one day tell such an incredible and life changing story...something to strive for. Thanks for sharing!

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  9. Such a great story and what a way to celebrate (with Oprah!!).
    “Lose it the way you intend to live it.” I love this quote. This is something I've really been struggling with during my weight loss journey and this quote just explains it so simply.

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  10. I love that quote, "Lose it the way you intend to live it." My new mantra! Thank you!

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  11. Wow, you look fantastic! I also have had to go to through losing and gaining several times until I realized 'lose it the way you intend to live it'. The weight comes off much slower, but I am determined to not gain any back, because I still get to enjoy my treats. I wish the rest of the dieting world would learn this mantra!

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  12. Beyond Inspirational!! I needed a story like this as I start my own Weight Loss Journey AGAIN!! This story made something inside of me click.....feeling MOTIVATED. Thanks so much for sharing such a beautiful, inspiring story. I love, Love, LOVE “Lose it the way you intend to live it.” I just printed it off and will hang one in my Cubbie at work and on the fridge at HOME.
    WOW....
    Blessings!!

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  13. I saw you on Oprah! What an inspiration!! Thank you for sharing your story!

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  14. Wow what an inspiration!!!

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  15. What an incredible story! Those mean girls make me want to hurt someone, but I think being on Oprah was probably the best way to get back at them. Congratulations on your incredible accomplishment, Andrea!!

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  16. Wonderful story! Another inspirational healthy weight loss loser! (or WINNER!) Katie, thanks for introducing all these motivational people to your readers!

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  17. Andrea - I absolutely love your story! And, I love that you are using your growth and experience to help motivate others! xoxo

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I'd love to hear from you! I read all of my comments, and if you have a question, I do my best to respond; sometimes, however, I get busy and forget to go back to reply, so if it's important, just email me! :)