BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - A lot of people have asked me, 'What's your secret to losing your weight?' My answer is simple and usually not one they want to hear. I've been exercising and eating a well-balanced diet, well most of the time. Now, I'm going to introduce you to what and who inspires me.
I started working out with a trainer, Brian, back in May of 2008. Shortly after, I met with a nutritionist, Adrianne, and started writing down everything I put in my mouth. By the fall, there was a noticeable difference in my physical appearance. While I am proud of how far I've come, I still look at myself and know I've got more work to do.
Leonie Johnston is not only my hair stylist, but she is a very good friend. She says I was an inspiration for her to get back 'on the wagon' so to speak.
"What happened was, you came in and were just working with your trainer and had just bought that new cookbook. And I was like, 'Carrie, what are you doing?' And you were like, 'Well, I'm doing it this time,'" Johnson said. "And then of course I didn't see you until your next haircut, so it was nice six week period. And you walked in, and it was like bam. And it was like, 'Okay, if she can do this, I can do this.'"
Inspiration is a funny thing, and you never know when you will inspire someone else. And to be very honest, she inspires me.
"I've been losing since 2001, 2002. I call it, that's when I peaked. And I've really lost it in phases," Johnson said.
When Leonie handed her before picture to me, she hesitated, with tears in her eyes. She has lost about 100 pounds to date!
Johnson said, "It's hard to believe you let yourself get to that point."
There's a part of me that says, "How did I let it get that way?"
I think, you have to look at that question, and you have to identify why you did. A lot of people do want to use excuses. Well, I have to do this and I have to do that, but the bottom line is you have to take care of yourself.
Tracey Heiken is a Fitness Trainer at Memorial Fitness Center in Gulfport, which is where I work out.
"You need carbohydrates, the good kinds: like your fruits, your vegetables, your whole grains. You need lean proteins: fish, chicken, lean cuts in meats. And you need fat. You have to have good fat, try to stay low on the saturated and transfat," Heiken said.
Heiken stresses that food is a huge part of taking care of yourself.
"If you think of your metabolism like a bonfire, if you throw in one huge log and then forget about it, you're not going to have any energy. The fire's going to stop," said Heiken. "If you start off with a good foundation, that's going to be your breakfast, and you little things in there every once in a while. A little bit of twigs and nutrients, it's going to keep that fire going, and that's your metabolism."
This was a big struggle for me because I thought I'd done well by just eating 700 calories a day. Fact: that is NOT good, You simply have to eat.
"I think the main thing for me is being prepared. You know I do everything on the front end of the week, that's when I do all my cooking," Johnson said. "You can open the refrigerator here [at her business], and you've got little ziploc containers, ziploc bags. I take a sharpie, and I write the fat and the calories on each bag."
That's what works for Leonie. I don't keep up with it as much as she does, but I do try to always have something with me, so I'm not caught off guard. Adrienne, my nutritionist at e-Fitness, just told me a new study came out that said you will lose twice as much weight writing down what you eat than if you do not write it down.
Another huge inspiration for me has been the viewers' feedback.
Sheila e-mailed me and said, "Carrie-I have been admiring your weight loss since I have struggled all my life with obesity."
Another viewer wrote, "I am one of many, I'm sure, that have been watching you slowly disappear over the last several months, even through the holidays! I am so happy for you that you have stuck to whatever program you are on, and are slowly but surely reaching your goal."
Sally Partridge wrote, "You are an encourager to all of us who are trying to live healthier. I wonder if you know how many you have touched by your stick-to-it attitude."
Honestly, it is humbling to think I may be an inspiration to someone. In my life, if I can make a positive difference in someone else's life, I consider myself a success, and that success, keeps me motivated.
Another secret to success is to focus on small goals, like losing five pounds at a time. And stay focused on the positive instead of the negative.
The bottom line for me is I am trying to make choices I feel like I will be able to live with forever, and for the first time, I am living for ME!
By the way, I have lost 42 pounds to date (3/29/09). I will update this as I continue to lose more weight.