Bye-Bye Fat, Hello My Fitness Pal!!!

I lost over 35 lbs. with the My Fitness Pal app... YOU CAN TOO!!! (^-^)
I lost over 35 lbs. with the My Fitness Pal app... YOU CAN TOO!!! (^-^)
Back in the day (a.k.a. high school)
Back in the day (a.k.a. high school)
High School graduation ('97) vs. College graduation ('05)
High School graduation ('97) vs. College graduation ('05)
After college (see me trying to suck it in?)
After college (see me trying to suck it in?)
Me & my grandpop.  His belly may be showing, but at least it was smaller than mine!
Me & my grandpop. His belly may be showing, but at least it was smaller than mine!

How I Got Fat

I've always been what you would call a "voluptuous" woman. My boobs are big, my thighs are thick, and Shakira herself would agree that my hips don't lie. Yet, no matter how curvy the world perceived me to be, I was never really insecure about my reflection in the mirror. Sometimes, I even felt beautiful...that is, until I got fat.

During my senior year of high school, I weighed in at about 128 pounds (5'6"). At the time, I was pretty active. I swam a lot, spent weekends bodyboarding, and often walked or rode my bike around the neighborhood.

I also ate whatever the hell I wanted (and lots of it!) My family is made up of outstanding cooks, so there was never a shortage of delicious food in the fridge. I lived for desserts and leftovers and, luckily, I always worked off the calories just by having fun with my friends.

It wasn't until after high school that I truly started packing on the pounds. My life consisted of school, work, eating, studying, and sleeping. I lived off Twinkies, Snickers, and fast food. I ate mountainous plates of greasy meals and stacks of sugary treats. The unhealthy eating habits and lack of exercise wreaked havoc on my body quickly. In fact, by the time I graduated from college with my teaching degree, I weighed in at 185 lbs.

Although I was proud of myself for gaining an education and securing a career, my self-image was destroyed. Life was miserable. I hated cameras, I hated shopping for clothes, I hated my reflection, and I hated the way I felt about myself. Every Halloween, every New Year's, and at every family gathering (or whenever photos were involved), I wished that I could feel beautiful again. I knew I had to do something, yet it took me quite a while to find the "something" that actually worked.


My pitbull, Cisco, when he was a pup.  Don't worry, I didn't eat him.
My pitbull, Cisco, when he was a pup. Don't worry, I didn't eat him.
One of the lambs from my family's stock.  Chances are, I probably ate him.
One of the lambs from my family's stock. Chances are, I probably ate him.
Sippin on some sizz-urp...MmmmMmmm, liquid sugar and alcohol!!
Sippin on some sizz-urp...MmmmMmmm, liquid sugar and alcohol!!
Ahhh...Thanksgiving.  See the food on the table?  Do you also see my expression?  Yeah.  I'm like "Hurry up and take the damn pic so we can eat!!"
Ahhh...Thanksgiving. See the food on the table? Do you also see my expression? Yeah. I'm like "Hurry up and take the damn pic so we can eat!!"

Epic Fail

Sometimes, you have to fall flat on your face to see clearly. While it's true that failure can be the poison that decays your dedication and motivation, failure can also be a powerful and inspirational tool that leads you toward success.

After gaining a significant amount of weight, people tend to shy away from the camera. I, for one, got pretty good at avoiding the whole "say cheese" thing. But, sometimes, photos just can't be escaped...and these were usually the pictures that came back to haunt me. Living in an era when photos could be easily spread across the globe made it difficult to hide my fattest of moments.

Looking at random pictures on friends' profile pages melted my self-esteem like a snowball in a sauna. Social networking became my enemy. In every picture, I looked a mess. I had flabby double-chins here and flubber pouring out there. My shirts stretched around muffin tops and jelly rolls; it was as if a bakery had exploded inside of me! Seeing those pictures made me sick. I had never felt so ugly in my entire life. And there it was; my ugliness being displayed on the internet for the world to see.

Ugliness. Heartache. Disgust. Despair. These were my biggest motivators and, had they never crossed my path, I wouldn't be the person I am today. I'm grateful that I recognized my faults, and I'm glad that I endured the painful truth. My experience as a "fatty" taught me that happiness isn't something you find...it's something you EARN!

As soon as I took responsibility for my weight and followed through with a plan to improve my health, I started to see some results.

Thinking is good, doing is better!
Thinking is good, doing is better!
Paving the road to a healthier me
Paving the road to a healthier me
You mean THIS is a serving size?  Noooooooo!!!!!
You mean THIS is a serving size? Noooooooo!!!!!
Me with my besties, Rachael & Shantel.  I'm the fat one...LOL!
Me with my besties, Rachael & Shantel. I'm the fat one...LOL!
See that slender guy on the left?  That's my brother.  I actually weigh less than him now- BOOYAH!!
See that slender guy on the left? That's my brother. I actually weigh less than him now- BOOYAH!!
In the lotus patch...big blossoms make me look smaller, lol!!
In the lotus patch...big blossoms make me look smaller, lol!!
Girl's night out (where the camera is unavoidable!)
Girl's night out (where the camera is unavoidable!)

The Lumpy Road to Skinnytown

One can only sulk about their weight (while sitting on the couch eating corndogs and Häagen-Dazs) for so long before it becomes annoyingly clear that they have food issues. Admitting you need help is always the first step toward fixing a self-inflicted problem. However, a mental roadblock occurs when you focus too much on the problem itself. The key to solving the most complex problems is found when focusing on the solution (thanks, Richard Rahl!)

First came the pills; Hydroxycut, Dexatrim, and Zantrex (to name a few)...I was wishing for a quick fix and praying these were magic pills that would do the trick. No luck. Turns out, I can't sit on my ass, eat whatever I want, take a pill, and be skinny. Bummer.

Next, I tried meal replacements; I drank Slimfast and ate granola bars. My dinner portions were still Zeus-like in size, but I lost a few pounds anyway. Sadly, my palate is much too greedy to be satisfied with endless c-grade shakes and nuts brushed in honey. My hate for the flavor monotony made quitting meal replacements as easy as...oooooh, apple pie!

At this point, I realized resistance was futile; I needed to get active or I'd never see results. I started walking regularly, bought workout DVDs, purchased a gym membership, and started sweating. Each workout session boosted my confidence level and I was surprised to find that exercising actually gave me more energy. I made a consistent effort to embrace the exercise three times a week and, much to my delight, more pounds came off.

After three years of mediocre exercising, I saw some results. Still, my eating habits were erratic (a little veggies here, a lot of junk there) and I was far from feeling comfortable in my own skin. Although I had lost about 15 lbs., I wasn't happy. Looking in the mirror was still a painful experience, but I didn't lose hope. It was time to get my food abuse under control- for good!

To push past my plateau, I adopted some peculiar diet doctrines; I kept exercising and ate this instead of that. I endured month-log streaks on Lean Cuisine, Lean Pockets, and yogurt. I fasted on spicy lemon water for over a week each season (me-no-rikey!!) And, in the end, one more year of this substandard-effort barely shaved off another 5 lbs. While I felt a sense of joy for my small victory, I still winced at cameras and cringed when trying on jeans at the mall.

On New Year's Eve, 2011, my mind raced with dreams and hopes for a healthier future. I had come a long way, yet I was only halfway down the road. I knew the path ahead was even rockier, and making it through without guidance was impossible. Hence, I made a resolution that involved reaching out. I needed praise, support, and -most of all- a way of keeping myself accountable for what I did to my body. When the clock struck midnight, I made a silent promise to find the help I needed. And, like an angel, it came from a merciful and gracious source.

What a difference 7 months can make!
What a difference 7 months can make!
When I got married (Jan. 2012), I was 166 lbs...
When I got married (Jan. 2012), I was 166 lbs...
...seeing how big I was on my wedding day made me sad.  So, I upped the ante and started using My Fitness Pal.
...seeing how big I was on my wedding day made me sad. So, I upped the ante and started using My Fitness Pal.
Walking the dog is a great way to break a sweat (although, I think they love it more than we do!)
Walking the dog is a great way to break a sweat (although, I think they love it more than we do!)
Swimming, playing Dance Central on Xbox, and skating in prohibited areas burns tons of calories!!
Swimming, playing Dance Central on Xbox, and skating in prohibited areas burns tons of calories!!
Strength training can turn flab into fab!
Strength training can turn flab into fab!
I don't have rock-solid abs...but at least I don't have love handles either!!
I don't have rock-solid abs...but at least I don't have love handles either!!
I'm still as much of a goofball as I was in high school...but at least I'm just as skinny too.
I'm still as much of a goofball as I was in high school...but at least I'm just as skinny too.

Along Came My Fitness Pal

Early in January 2012, two supertastically-important things happened in my life; 1) I got married & 2) I joined My Fitness Pal (MFP). My bestie, Rachael, had heard about the program from another girlfriend of ours and said she was going to try it. I had already started keeping a food diary (on paper---what a pain in the ass!), so I agreed to give MFP a try as well. After all, joining was absolutely FREE and I had friends who'd be there to offer support...SCORE!

Signing up was a breeze! The website was easy to navigate and the forums offered lots of wonderful advice (as well as a way to find other MFPeeps that would help guide me on my weight-loss journey.)

The MFP food database contained an extensive catalog of all kinds of munchies (from breakfast to beer), and the "add a food" & "add a recipe" options allowed me to be precise with the things I couldn't find. Better yet, the smartphone MFP app made it easy for me to keep track of what I ate on-the-spot. There was even a label scanner to make entering nutritional info as easy as clicking a button. For something that was 100% FREE, I couldn't believe all the stuff I could do.

MFP also encouraged me to embrace new types exercise. Just do a little search through the MFP exercise database and you'll see a wide array of ways to break a sweat. I was amazed at how much calories I could burn just by swimming, dancing, and rollerskating (three of my favorite activities!!) Yet the best part was, every time I logged in my exercise, my MFP friends gave me praise for a job well done! The added support was enough to keep me logging in and staying active.

Before MFP, I never checked nutritional facts, knew nothing about counting calories, didn't worry about how much calories I burned (so long as I did something), and never paid attention to my BMI, BMR, or heart rate. Now, keeping track of those things is a part of my daily routine...and MFP makes it so easy!!

SO...HOW DOES IT WORK?

It's simple mathematics, really...

Calories consumed + daily exercise completed = net calories

As long as you burn more calories than you consume, you'll lose weight. MFP helps you keep your net calories at the optimal amount for weight loss. That doesn't mean you have to starve yourself or even stay away from certain foods, it just means you have to be honest about what you're eating. It also means that you'll be held accountable for your actions; go ahead and have a BK value meal and a chocolate sundae...just remember that, to stay under your calorie goal, you might have to hit the treadmill.

With the help of MFP, I lost 35.6 lbs. in seven months. Just by following a simple, successful formula, I was able to get back the figure I had as a teenager. I even have PROOF on paper. During my MFP journey, I participated in the TriFit assessment. The results were astounding!

After a span of about 8 months (2/29/12 - 9/12/12), I had improved dramatically in every category (from blood pressure to bicep strength.) My body fat percentage went from 25.7% to 19.5% and my "body age" ended up even younger than my "chronological age" (Wait...you mean it says that I'm a 32 year-old in a 29 year-old's body? AWESOME SAUCE!!)

I feel like Einstein...mE = happy2

After 5 years of building a healthier body (and envying my husband's kick-arse metabolism), I'm committed to staying active & eating right!
After 5 years of building a healthier body (and envying my husband's kick-arse metabolism), I'm committed to staying active & eating right!
I'm not afraid of cameras anymore...
I'm not afraid of cameras anymore...
...or bikinis...
...or bikinis...
...or anything else, for that matter!
...or anything else, for that matter!

The "HARD" Way

When I run into people I haven't seen in a while, I always get the same question...

"Wow, you look good!! How'd you lose all that weight?"

Whenever I say that I'm watching what I eat and exercising regularly, I get funky looks and comments like...

"Oh, you mean the hard way."

No one wants to hear that losing weight means you actually have to DO something...but it's the truth. Only you have power over what your body does. If you choose not to pay attention to what your body needs (and what it doesn't need), then it becomes easily damaged. Yet, no matter how damaged you may feel- whether it be physically or emotionally- you DO have the power to make it better. Strength is not something you have, it's something you build...one day at a time.

True, it's not easy to make a drastic lifestyle change. Yet whether it be losing weight, quitting smoking, or pursuing a new career; the more time and dedication you invest in your efforts, the better your results will be. And, after a while, that "drastic lifestyle change" you feared so much will become "your normal routine". You'll even start to wonder how you could have lived otherwise.

In the end, losing weight isn't as hard as dealing with the pain that comes with carrying it around. Exercising isn't as hard as crying because you feel ugly. Watching what you eat isn't as hard as avoiding cameras. And, finally, taking care of your body isn't as hard as trying to convince yourself that you're wonderful just the way you are.

So...please don't fret about failure or mope over how much you hate your reflection. Don't cry when your friend "instagrams" that awful picture of your muffin top. Just join My Fitness Pal. The only thing you have to lose is weight.

May my successes lead to yours,

TattooKitty =(^-^)=



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Comments 26 comments

rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

Hi TattoooKitty, what an amazing journey! First off, you deserve congrats for being so determined and achieving what you desired. You are in a fantastic shape now. Your hub confirms the power of eating right and exercising.

This hub is very motivating. I'm sharing this story here, on G+1, FB so that it motivates and helps those who want to but don't know how to reduce weight.

Voted up and across.


summerberrie 4 years ago

Great hub and so well written! Your cute personality just shines through. Very inspiring. Past through my feed by rajan jolly. Thanks for sharing rajan jolly.


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

Thanks summerberrie. This is so well written and motivating, I had to share.


Vicky022389 profile image

Vicky022389 4 years ago from Orlando, Florida

Very inspiring! Looks like all that hard work paid off! I recently gained about 30lbs and I can't seem to lose it. I have PCOS too so that doesn't help. I tried my fitness pal and it was very good, I lost probably 5 lbs when I used it but its so hard to keep up. I need to try again!


MazioCreate profile image

MazioCreate 4 years ago from Brisbane Queensland Australia

TattoKitty I understand your journey and compared my own story with yours as I read the hub. Awesome writing! I couldn't believe it when I saw the title, because one of my younger sisters has just introduced me to this APP or miracle support worker. You have certainly put in the hard yards and gained the rewards, at long last. Liked and shared!


Maralexa profile image

Maralexa 4 years ago from Vancouver, Canada and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico

Oh my! This has got to be seen by a lot of people! Fabulous article, well-written, well laid out, super cute pictures (before as well as after.) Thanks so much for sharing your journey and your MFPal method.

Thanks, rajan jolly. Congratulations and sincere thanks to you, TattoKitty. Voted up and across the board.


TattooKitty profile image

TattooKitty 4 years ago from Hawaii Author

A world of thanks for all of your kind words, folks!! I'm so happy that I can share my success and help inspire others to reach for their personal-bests (both physically and emotionally.) Big hugs to you ALL \(^.^)/

P.S. A very special thanks goes out to Rajan Jolly for sharing with via G+1 and FB (greatly appreciated, esp. since I'm not on those social networks...yet, lol!)


donnah75 profile image

donnah75 4 years ago from Upstate New York

Wow, your story is amazing and inspiring. I appreciate your honesty. I also know this journey, as it mirrors my own. Except I haven't gotten to the end of it yet. I am on the right path though. I am going to check out MFP to see if it will work for me. Thanks for the suggestion and inspiration. Voted up and sharing.


TattooKitty profile image

TattooKitty 4 years ago from Hawaii Author

Hi Donnah! Don't hesitate to add me as a friend on MFP (KrisyKat)...I'll be there to help support you on your path!! Thanks for reading & commenting!


CyclingFitness profile image

CyclingFitness 4 years ago from Nottingham UK

You've had a fantastic journey and this is an awesome hub. You've found something that works for you and the results show! I imagine both you and your partner are loving your new body ;-)

Congratulations. CF


TattooKitty profile image

TattooKitty 4 years ago from Hawaii Author

Hi CF!! My hubby and I are both ECSTATIC about my new figure. It definitely has made us a bit more "frisky"...LOL! Thank you so much for commenting & keep up the nice riding!!


ftclick profile image

ftclick 4 years ago

Great job!!

Re:"the more time and dedication you invest in your efforts, the better your results will be". This is so true in every aspect.

OK, @32 yrs it is tough. Stay determined even in your 40s (even if you have kids) You'll find out that your metabolism slows, there's more birthday parties for couples kids (more junk food). Oh it is tough, but it is worth it in the long haul. I don't watch the calories since food is eaten in moderation anyway, just exercise normally and keep a healthy diet.


TattooKitty profile image

TattooKitty 4 years ago from Hawaii Author

Hi there, ftclick!! Thanks so much for stopping by & commenting!

I will surely stay dedicated to my portion control and exercise, as I would hate to see all my hard work go up in flames. Staying motivated isn't always easy, but being happy with my body is well worth the effort. Thanks so much for your encouraging words and advice...I'll be sure to stay healthy and keep exercising!

Happy fitness to you and yours! (^-^)


soconfident profile image

soconfident 4 years ago

Wow amazing story, it very inspiring. Great job


TattooKitty profile image

TattooKitty 4 years ago from Hawaii Author

Aww (^-^) thanks, soconfident; it makes me happy knowing that you found my story inspiring!


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

Really great hub and refreshingly honest and inspirational to say the least. Thanks for the great tips and video. I love all your personal photos showing your progress. Do you know the lyricwriter here on HP, as he would love your tattoos? Excellent hub. Voted up across the board.

In His Love, Faith Reaper


TattooKitty profile image

TattooKitty 4 years ago from Hawaii Author

Hi Faith Reaper!!

Much mahalo for your generous comment. Out of all the hubs I've written so far, I'm proud of this one the most! And, yes, I'm savvy of lyricwriter...just checked out his pumpkin tattoo hub (and am SOO ready for some orange ink!)

Hugs,

=(^-^)= TattooKitty


Sinea Pies profile image

Sinea Pies 4 years ago from Northeastern United States

Wow, you look great. I am inspired. Thanks for validating that My Fitness Pal is a winner! Voted awesome and up!


TattooKitty profile image

TattooKitty 4 years ago from Hawaii Author

Hi Sinea Pies!!

Not a day goes by that I don't thank my lucky stars for MFP; I've even gotten to the point where I plan my meals (and enter them into my diary) a day ahead of time. Perhaps I'm a bit obsessed, but the results put me in the best shape of my life!! Thanks for the votes ;)


nighthag profile image

nighthag 4 years ago from Australia

Having just hit 35 and watching my body slowly fill out for the first time in my life has me hitting the gym in a panic, but after reading this I may have to take a more organised approch. thanks for sharing your story your success is inspiring, job well done!


TattooKitty profile image

TattooKitty 4 years ago from Hawaii Author

Hey there, nighthag!

Thanks for commenting. I know what you mean about age playing a big role in our body "boosting"...oh, how I wish I could live in my high school figure forever. Although, today me could probably run circles around (and out-lift) high school me.

Keep working at building that dream body, and definitely check out MFP...it's one of the best FREE fitness tools around!


Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

Well Done on your incredible weightloss; I discovered MFP last week when my friend recommended it because my present diet wasn't working - I agree with you, it is awesome as long as you remember to track everything, brilliant app and all free.


TattooKitty profile image

TattooKitty 4 years ago from Hawaii Author

Hi there, Jools99,

Thanks for the kudos! It's hilarious how much MFP has changed my mindset. I just finished my birthday weekend celebrations and, despite the delicious food and drinks, I vowed not to go over my calorie goal. Same time last year, I was making mountains of cake & ice cream- LOL!

Anyhow, yes...one must be dedicated and prudent in order for MFP to work its magic. Just stick with it and you'll be writing your success story soon!

Hugs and best wishes,

TattooKitty =(^-^)=


christin53 profile image

christin53 4 years ago from UK

Congratulations on losing so much weight TattooKitty you look fantastic. Your hub is very helpful and inspiring to anyone trying to lose weight. Voted up and sharing.


TattooKitty profile image

TattooKitty 4 years ago from Hawaii Author

Hi there, christin53,

Much mahalo for reading and commenting...I'm truly amazed at how much healthier living has improved my life. I look better but, more importantly, I FEEL better!

Cheers & happy living to you and yours!!


joedolphin88 profile image

joedolphin88 2 years ago from north miami FL

Great job really an inspirational piece. You documented well for everyone on the hub to see that your hard work and dedication paid off. Congratulations on your success.

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