March 13, 2014

Weight Loss Success: How Martha Lost 100 Pounds!

Martha lost 100 pounds

My kids ended up having another snow day today, because the road conditions were so bad. So, rather than bore you with my day, I'd like to introduce another member of my Ragnar team--Martha. Martha is SO sweet and kind, and a pleasure to have on our team. 

When I first read Martha's story, before we formed this team, I am ashamed to admit that I was a little judgmental of the way she chose to lose weight--as she explains below, she used a meal replacement system. I've never been a fan of those, because whenever I tried programs like that in the past, I would gain the weight as soon as I stopped eating the plan's food.

However, I'm always saying that there isn't one thing that works for everyone... so why should this be any different?! I firmly believe that people need to find out what works for themselves. And that's exactly what Martha did. She'd tried other ways in the past, but eventually found a plan that worked for her--and she's doing a fantastic job keeping the weight off, even while eating "regular" foods. I'm happy that she found something that worked for her!

Martha's before and after photos

I am SO impressed with Martha's mile-per-day streak, which she also explains below. She's been streaking for about 14 months now!

Anyway, I'll let Martha take over... :)

Hi! My name is Martha, and I am 43 years old and live in Scottsdale, Arizona.  My husband, Paul, and I have been married almost 18 years and we have 3 children – ages 14 (girl), 12 (boy) and 9 (girl).  I am thrilled to be “Runner #9”.
Although I was a skinny and athletic kid growing up, I put on a lot of weight after having three kids in five years.  I did not take care of my health and continued to eat like I was a teenager.  I lost my mom to cancer during that time, and I’m sure I ate to fill that void.
My weight crept up about 10 pounds a year or so until I found myself being about 100 pounds overweight.  Because I am over 5’9″, I didn’t have much trouble carrying that extra weight for a while.  But then, almost suddenly, I really started noticing how much my weight was holding me back.  It was hard to put on my shoes and it was hard to get up and down our stairs in our house without my heart pounding.  I was sick of shopping in the plus-sized departments and stores.  I was actually exercising very regularly but I would “reward” myself with high calorie treats when I got home and, therefore, made little to no progress in losing any weight.
Martha before her weight loss
Have you ever seen a cuter
"before" photo?!
My poor eating choices were starting to show up in my blood work with high triglycerides and cholesterol.  Most disturbing, I was starting to “check out” of living my life because I was either too tired or too embarrassed to fully participate in activities with friends.  I wanted to be around (and fully present) for my husband and kids.  I wanted to get back to the “old” me again.  
There are all kinds of ways to lose weight and one thing that was holding me back was that I had not found a solution that seemed like a good fit. Weight Watchers was phenomenal for me when I had lost weight 10 years or so ago, but I had a very hard and unsuccessful time re-starting the program again.   Looking at a goal weight loss of 100 pounds, I really wanted to find a program that I believed in for the long haul.
One day, a friend of mine posted on Facebook about a doctor she had seen that had helped her reach her goal weight. I actually knew of him, a very reputable internal medicine doctor in my city, and his wife was actually a pediatrician in my kids’ office. He was specializing in weight loss medicine at his practice.  
After doing some research, I felt like I had found my solution and got started within a few weeks.  The weight loss program I used was Optifast – which is a meal replacement program (bars, shakes, soups, etc.) but there was also an educational component to the program that I really appreciated. I attended over 20 different classes with topics ranging from emotional eating, exercise, nutrition, time-management, meal planning, etc. I felt like I really got the tools I needed to help with maintaining the weight loss as well. 
Martha after her weight loss

I continued with my regular exercise (both strength training and cardio) which helped the weight come off even more quickly.  Amazingly, it took me only 6.5 months to drop 100 pounds and reach my goal!  But I know that the real work comes in maintaining that weight loss.  So far, I have maintained my weight loss for almost a year.
In January 2013, I learned about a little group of patients at my weight loss doctor’s office that were walking or running one mile a day, every single day – trying to see how long of a “streak” they could maintain.  I decided to give it a try and it has become one of the cornerstones of my weight loss journey and my “streak” is currently at Day 423! By making myself complete a mile every single day, I have developed the “habit” of exercising every day, no matter what (including a couple of fevers/illnesses and really busy time periods).
Every day I would try to run a little bit more of the mile. I was very slow at first and it was so hard to get past those initial ¼ - ½ miles without stopping. Finally I got to the point where I could run a mile straight through, and then I worked to increase my speed a bit. I did almost all of this work on a treadmill at the gym because I was, for some reason, nervous about running outside. 
My weight loss doctor is a runner and he was very helpful with getting me started.  Every visit included a discussion about training and suggestions to help me progress with the running. I told him I was working on doing a 5K, and eventually, I surprised myself when I said, out loud, that I wanted to do a half marathon. I ran the Arizona Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon in Phoenix in January 2014 and finished in my goal time of 2:30! Like the weight loss, small series of baby steps is getting me to my running goals.
One of my favorite things about running is interacting with the “community” of runners.  I love making connections with people and everyone has such an interesting story behind how they got started.  It is very much an individual sport – and a great time to spend time with your thoughts, etc. – but it also provides such neat opportunities to meet people.

When I read about the “From Fat to Finish Line” Ragnar team, I couldn’t stop thinking about how cool that was. I am beyond excited to have the opportunity to run with this SoCal Ragnar team, "From Strangers to Sole Mates".  This weight loss journey has been incredible so far and allowed me to experience so many new adventures – this one will be at the top of the list!
Martha crossing the finish line of a race

Martha writes a blog about her weight loss, maintenance, and running at Opifast Mom


  1. Katie, I don't think your kiddos are going to have much of a summer break this year after all of their snow days!

    I love your story Martha! I had a streak of about 80 days going where I ran 1 mile every day. It's hard to stick with, so it's awesome that you've done it for so long!

  2. I did a streak from Thanksgiving all the way through January. It was fun!

  3. Yay, Martha! I love Martha's blog; she and I live parallel lives it seems like and I appreciate her perspective and insights! Can't wait to read about Ragnar! :)

  4. Yay Martha! I think my longest streak is 5 so you got me beat there for sure! :)

  5. That's an amazing streak Martha, keep it up :)

  6. Martha you look fantastic!!!!! Thanks for the inspiration.

  7. Loved reading your story Martha. :)


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