Walking Guide

How Lynn Lost 101 Pounds and Gained a Spark Family

By , SparkPeople Blogger
When you're overweight and battling depression, it's sometimes difficult to tell what came first. Do you eat because you're depressed, leading to weight gain? Or are you depressed because you're overweight? In many cases, it's a vicious cycle that can seem impossible to break without a strong support system.
Lynn (MIZ_FENTON), a buyer for a hat company and mother of three in Stockton, California, has struggled with depression and weight gain for most of her life. It was during her thirties when her weight really began spiraling out of control.
"I had some dark days—many dark days," she says. "I never thought I would lose weight or be happy again."

Lynn's "A-Ha" Moment

She remembers it like it was yesterday: The moment when she knew that change was no longer just an option, but a life-saving necessity.
It was February of 2016, and Lynn was at her highest weight of 241 pounds.
"Everything I did was uncomfortable," she says. "My body was always tired. I sweat so much. I ached everywhere. The act of bending over to tie my shoes made me cry. When I couldn't do something as simple as that, I knew it was time to change my life."
At her lowest point, Lynn drew inspiration from the advice her grandfather gave her just before he passed away: "It's never too late to start over."
"Just when we feel at our worst, that is when we have a chance to make a new start—to turn it around, to make our lives different," she says. "I was hopeless, depressed and in a very bad place. It took breaking out of my shell and focusing on me that [finally] turned things around."

How She Did It

Recognizing that there was no shortcut to success, Lynn pursued her weight-loss goal the "old-fashioned" way—through a healthy diet and exercise plan.
Her first order of business was giving up soda, chocolate, most carbs and about 80 percent of added sugars.
On a typical day, Lynn eats eggs and whole wheat toast for breakfast. Lunch might be ground chicken with a vegetable (ground chicken is one of her staples, appearing in her rotation at least four days a week). For dinner, she usually has a main dish of chicken or lean beef with a side of vegetables or vegan pasta. Her go-to snacks include protein shakes (Isopure is her favorite), fruit, Lenny & Larry's vegan cookies, snap pea crisps or cottage cheese.
In addition to boosting her activity throughout the day by moving and walking more, Lynn also joined a gym. Her routine included walking an hour on the treadmill, along with 45 minutes of strength training every other day. She also mixed in other activities throughout the week, such as swimming and walking more outdoors, to burn more calories and keep her muscles guessing.
Just last week, after 20 months of hard work and diligence, Lynn's total weight loss reached 101.6 pounds—an average of five pounds lost per month, which is a very safe and sustainable pace.

Support: The Ultimate Weight Loss Tool

While Lynn said she could never have made it through her darkest days without the love and support of her husband and mother, she also credits SparkPeople as a continual source of comfort and support.
"When you're heavy, people look down on you. You get the worst looks and people judge you without even knowing you," Lynn says. "SparkPeople made me feel like I wasn't alone, that I belonged somewhere. The people I have met, who I talk to daily, the friendships—they mean everything to me. They give me strength, and a reason to never give up. My life has been forever changed. SparkPeople has been my savior."

Keeping the Weight Off

As many of our members know all too well, the only thing tougher than losing weight is keeping it off. Lynn offers her tips for preventing the dreaded regain:
  • Be accountable. For Lynn, food tracking was key to stopping bad habits early on and keeping the extra pounds from creeping back. "Even if you think you aren't taking in a lot of calories, if you aren't logging what you are putting in your body, you have no idea just how out of whack you may be," she says.
  • Keep moving. There's simply no substitute for staying active when it comes to maintaining weight loss. Lynn has become much more conscious about her activity level, and competes daily with herself to get in as many steps as possible. "I have a FitBit and I'm always looking for ways to get my steps in daily," she says. She's gotten into the habit of parking farther away from store entrances and always taking the stairs. Where she used to be on the lookout for shortcuts, Lynn now prefers the long way.
  • Seek help. Just like weight loss, weight maintenance can be a bumpy road, marked with inevitable obstacles and setbacks. In addition to drawing comfort and support from her Spark community, Lynn often reaches out to her mother during challenging times. "My mother has lost a lot of weight, so I always turn to her when I feel [like] I just couldn't get it together." Lynn also finds motivation in helping others who are struggling. "Cheering on my SparkFriends and being there for them helps to keep me going." 
Lynn's only regret? "I just wish I could have been more diligent years ago and been kinder to my body."

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Awesome! Way to go! Report
Excellent Report
Thank you for sharing your journey and your Spark! I really needed the inspiration today! Report
BECCABOO127 2/25/2018
Wonderful! Report
MOONDRAGON29 1/24/2018
Great Report
KHALIA2 12/30/2017
Great Job, Lynn! Keep up the good work! Report
BONDMANUS2002 12/25/2017
Absolutely great Report
MNABOY 12/25/2017
Thanks for sharing! Report
ALLENJOSEPH 12/24/2017
You are truly an inspiration to many of us Sparkers, Lynn! Thank you for sharing your Story. Report
JIBBIE49 12/21/2017
thanks Report
TWEETYKC00 12/17/2017
Thanks for sharing the story! Report
LOSER05 12/16/2017
nice. Report
BLONDWUNN 12/15/2017
Pain is such a motivator to change one's behavior. It worked for me too. Report
Lynn, you are wonderful! Report
MIYAMO 12/15/2017
This is one of the best well done, good for you, congratulations, and anything else I can think of to say to you. You overcame a lot with your grandfather's advice and your own commitment. Report
SHOAPIE 12/15/2017
Well done. Report
PATRICIA-CR 12/15/2017
Awesome! Report
TRIMNUP 12/15/2017
Your success is such encouragement. Take this success; enjoy it, relish in it, celebrate every day! Congratulations! Report
Congratulations, you are very inspiring! Report
JULIENSMITH 12/14/2017
Stories, such as yours, give me hope. Thank you for sharing. Report
APS0928 12/14/2017
I could have written this same thing. Finding the strength to break the circle can be the first hurdle to get over. Congratulations on find that strength. Report
LEANJEAN6 12/14/2017
Yu have to admire her! Report
ANHELIC 12/12/2017
Thank you for your inforation. Report
ARTJAC 12/6/2017
great Report
REESEK65 12/4/2017
fabulous, I am so happy for you and that your family supports you. This is crucial to long term success. Report
JANET552 12/2/2017
Awesome Report
Great advice! Report
GEORGE815 11/30/2017
Great story. Nice to read someone has turned their life around. Report
AMBER461 11/29/2017
Interesting read, thanks for sharing. Report
TWINZ_LOCZ 11/29/2017
great read thanks for sharing Report
ILOVEROSES 11/27/2017
Well done! Report
ILOVEROSES 11/27/2017
Well done! Report
SHOAPIE 11/27/2017
Great. Report
SHOAPIE 11/27/2017
Great. Report
JIACOLO 11/26/2017
I love the inspiration in this story! Report
NANCYPAT1 11/26/2017
Good article Report
ZRIE014 11/26/2017
great Report
RHOOK20047 11/25/2017
Thanks for sharing. Report
NANCYPAT1 11/25/2017
Nice Report
NANCYPAT1 11/24/2017
Great Report
NANCYPAT1 11/24/2017
Great Report
NANCYPAT1 11/24/2017
Great Report
NANCYPAT1 11/24/2017
Great Report
ANHELIC 11/23/2017
Great blog. Congratulations and thanks for the inspiration I received reading it. Report
CAROLJ35 11/22/2017
Great blog!!! Keep up the good work!!! Report
REEDSKI 11/22/2017
That is great for Lynn. I hope she wiil be able to follow her suggestions and keep her weight off because it is not easy. Maintenance is by far the most difficult. I gave up tsugar treats March 2016. I didn't really get back to SP until spring of 2017. While giving up processed refined sugar is important, be sure not to substitute the sugar treats for other junk like high sodium treats! Report
PWILLOW1 11/21/2017
I am where you used to be and I am working hard at it tracking everything, watching portions etc. Thanks for posting. Report
BIKE4HEALTH 11/21/2017
I have found some great friends here. We are all focused on positive results to health and our social differences don't mean a thing. Everyone is on equal ground and we all support each other. Report
KERRYG155 11/21/2017
Having been up to 284 before running into a trainer who wanted to help I know the importance of having that support. With his exercise and eating plans I was down to 180 and starting to enjoy life for the first time when he moved out of town. With him gone and no support at home I'm back up 40 lbs. With 2 small but wild granddaughters I need to get back on track. Report
DOWN95AFTER60 11/21/2017
Thanks for sharing. You give me hope and inspiration. Report
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