Weight-Loss Win is an original Yahoo series that shares the inspiring stories of people who have shed pounds healthfully.
Amy Moyta is 29 years old, 5 feet 6 inches tall, and currently weighs 135 pounds. In 2016, as her wedding was approaching, she had a sudden realization that she didn’t want to be overweight anymore. This is her weight-loss story.
The Turning Point
Ever since I was young, I was overweight. My mother says she can recall the day I started gaining. I was in first grade and got sick, and after recovering I refused to eat until I had a chocolate-covered doughnut. From that time on, she says, I just continued to grow.
After high school in 2007, my weight skyrocketed from 175 pounds to nearly 250 pounds in almost a year. I never kept track of what I ate and was too afraid to keep a scale in my house. I was going through a really rough time and ate and drank in excess to comfort myself.
There were times when I would make progress trying to lead a healthier lifestyle, but I struggled with mental health issues that made it difficult. In 2016, I was still suffering from anxiety and depression. One day as I got out of the shower, I took a look at myself in the mirror. I saw my bloated face, the rolls, the “bat wings,” as they call them. Something inside of me snapped. I would be getting married in about five months and I did not want to be a size 22 bride. I was tired of hating myself, I was sick of living in fear of my anxiety. I was sick and tired of being fat and eating myself to death. That day was the day I decided to change.
I started by getting a fast-food burger and taking off half of the bun. As I was looking to see how many calories I was saving without the bun, I came across the ketogenic website ruled.me. I read more into the keto diet (high fat, moderate protein, low carb) and thought, All the meat and cheese I want! No calorie counting! None of the things that caused me to fail in past diets! I cleared my house of carbs with the support of my fiancé. I started slow. Being a fast-food addict, my diet initially involved a lot of burgers without buns. Then I moved on to learning how to cook. When your main foods are meat and cheese, it’s pretty easy to learn! By the time my wedding rolled around, in May 2017, I had dropped almost 45 pounds using just the keto diet and no exercise. I went from a size 22 to a 16.
After my wedding, I decided I wanted to try to start running. I hated it at first. I would walk for two minutes, then run for 30 seconds, but I felt accomplished. I started going back to the gym. At first I ran super slowly but I learned to pick up speed and distance.
I used a Fitbit to track my exercise and food intake. I logged everything. I also bought myself a food scale so that I could weigh all of my food as well. After a couple days of doing this, I noticed I was not making progress. I did some research and decided to add healthy carbs back into my diet. I started using a CICO (calories in, calories out) approach instead of keto, and that’s where the Reddit community of r/loseit came in. They helped me along my journey and since then, I have lost the remainder of my weight through running, CICO, and recently, watching my macros as well. I am now working with a personal trainer to build muscle mass and help tighten up loose skin. She offers me great nutritional advice and I see so much improvement!
What kept me motivated was seeing the results and watching my clothing size shrink. I also saw my anxiety start to fade away. I felt happier. I enjoyed what I was eating, and it didn’t feel like a chore. I made sure to find healthy swaps for all my favorite foods and treats so that I didn’t feel like I was missing out — things like Quest bars, Cake Bites, and Healthy Life bread. I was on a journey of loving myself for the first time. My husband’s support through all of this has also kept me motivated. He is my biggest cheerleader.
With the weight gone, I am a new person. My knees no longer hurt, I am not out of breath, I am no longer sleeping too much. I run 5Ks with ease, take over 15,000 steps a day, and love being active. I work out six days a week. I ran my first 5K race with my father a couple months ago and finished in under 29 minutes! I watch TV for maybe an hour or so a day.
I never knew I could be so happy. My anxiety is gone! No more medication, no more being kept in prison in my own home. I look forward to making plans, or being spontaneous. I have down days like anyone else, but my depression has drastically improved as well. For the first time in a long time, I feel like I am living. My husband convinced me to start a blog to help inspire others, as well as to keep me accountable.
These days I am still working on finding a comfortable maintenance area while gaining muscle mass. I still eat low carb, using healthy swaps like cauliflower rice, Healthy Life bread, Flapjacked protein pancakes. I cook 90 percent of my meals and focus on macros more than anything else to help me reach my fitness goals. I still weigh all my foods and log everything I eat. I like to wake up each morning and map out everything I am going to eat for the day. It makes it easier to tell someone, “Sorry this just doesn’t fit in my budget for the day.” I pack my gym bag the night before. There are no excuses if everything is ready to go.
I practice weight lifting six days a week for 30-45 minutes followed by 20-25 minutes of running. On Sundays, I do distance running (running was my first exercise love). I take one day off a week, but since I am now so active I find it hard to sit still. I will usually use that day as a recovery stretching/yoga day.
I love feeling free from my anxiety. I like the way I look and feel. The gym has become my happy place. I want to keep feeling the way I do right now. I don’t want to go back to the depressed, anxiety-ridden, constantly tired me. I am kept motivated knowing I am healthy and have control of my life.
Every now and then I struggle with letting myself enjoy foods. It’s OK to go out to eat once a month or so and get the chicken basket. I have the right tools to get me back on track the next day. I have my husband here to remind me to enjoy a treat once in a while. I used to struggle with binge eating because I was depriving myself of things. Now I use healthy swaps so I don’t feel the need to get $50 worth of Chinese food.
Advice and Encouragement
You can do it. We all start somewhere. Take the bun off the fast-food burger. Get a food scale. Weigh and log everything. MyFitnessPal is a free app to get you started with logging. Don’t do everything at once and crash diet. Instead, start with getting your eating habits in order then consider some low-impact exercise. Weight loss is 80 percent nutrition and 20 percent everything else. We all fall off the wagon now and then. I have binged, but I went back to weighing and logging everything the next day. Don’t beat yourself up too much. Take progress pictures. Measure yourself. When I feel discouraged, I can look at my measurements and go, “Wow! I lost 24 inches in my hips alone!” It is not a race. It’s about creating healthy habits to last a lifetime.
Need more inspiration? Read about our other weight-loss winners!
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