Guest Article by : Kara Becnel

"My Weight Loss Journey"
Article Written: May 4, 2012
Diet Start Date: 5/2/11
Weight Loss to date: 93lbs  (1 year of weight loss)

Well let me start off by saying, I’m not a writer.  I’m just here to tell my story with the hope that someone will be encouraged and inspired to achieve their goals.  I was always overweight.  I was an overweight child with an overweight family.  We ate.  In 2006 my mom had gastric by-pass surgery and it affected me in ways that I never thought it could.  In the months following my mom’s surgery I was mean to her.  I don’t know if she realized it but I taunted her…with food.  ‘Look what I’m eating, you can’t have it.’  And then, my mom became smaller than me…UGH!  If you’re a girl you understand how that would feel.  I think I taunted her out of my frustration and jealousy.  So as a high school student my mom got skinny, I stayed fat, and then my dad lost weight…really?
However, none of this convinced me to lose the weight.

So what was the trigger?  What finally convinced me that I need to do something about the road I was taking?  A wedding.  My brother got engaged, I was asked to be a bridesmaid and at that moment I decided, I’m not going to be a FAT bridesmaid.

My first step in my journey was seeking help.  One of the best ways to gain knowledge in something is to ask someone who’s been there and done it.  So I went to my friend who I call a ‘detox junky’ and she helped get me started.  I started with a 7 day cleanse that consisted of 2 days of liquids (Naked Juices and water) followed by 5 days of egg whites for breakfast and 4oz. of chicken, 1 cup of brown rice, and 1 cup of vegetables for lunch and dinner.  Monotonous? Yes.  Worth it? I lost 6lbs in a week!

After the week I decided I couldn’t do detoxes back to back to lose my weight.  I knew it had to be a lifestyle change.

I then discovered the app, myfitnesspal, and it’s been my life line.  For a year I have literally logged everything that I’ve put in my mouth.  I started by inputting my height and weight and activity level and it told me how many calories I was supposed to eat a day to lose 2lbs a week to reach a healthy weight for my height.  The app has also been a huge eye opener for me, especially for eating out.  Who knew ordering a salad would be one of the worst choices on the menu???  I now know what to order before I go to any restaurant by looking up the nutritional info ahead of time.  Most of the time I don’t even open the menu.  Why tempt myself with the fried chicken fingers and fries when I know I need to and WILL order the grilled tilapia with steamed broccoli?

Eating at home has become a lot easier too…well, most of the time.  I live with my parents who don’t always buy the ‘best foods’ but learning to tell yourself ‘NO’ every once in a while is a good thing.  For breakfast I have 3 fried eggs.  Yes, I said fried.  However, I cook them over easy using Pam instead of oil.  And my lunches and dinners at home are actually one of my favorite meals.  I eat grilled chicken smothered with white queso.  It’s all about quantity.  I usually have 4-6oz. of chicken and cover it with 3tbs of the white queso.  The whole meal is around 300 calories.  It’s all about finding what works for you.

Now with all of this diet change I developed a sweet tooth.  NEVER in my life have I craved sweets like I do now.  So my solution is simple, I let myself have a ‘little something sweet’ but the key word is little.  One of my favorites is 1tbs of white chocolate chips.  And I’m a huge fan of frozen yogurt so again, I look up the nutritional info ahead of time and chose the flavor with the least amount of calories and top it was fruit only.

Of course all of this diet change was only half of the equation.  The gym became my best friend.  I try to go 3-5 times a week for about an hour.  What I do each day varies.  In the beginning I would do 30-45 minutes of cardio on the arc (similar to an elliptical) and would burn about 12 calories a minute.  It seemed like the best use of my time.  Now I focus more on toning and running.

Speaking of running, I am also running my first 5k in a week.  Never thought those words would come out of my mouth.  People keep tell me I’ll want to keep running and do longer races but we’ll leave that with ‘we’ll see.’

Through all of this I’ve discovered that diets don’t work.  Because what do we all do?  We lose the weight and as soon as we reach our goal, we go back to eating what we used to eat and gain the weight right back.  It’s a vicious circle.  You have to make a complete lifestyle change.

My purpose in sharing my journey is to be an encouragement.  A friend once told me this past year, ‘it’s not just your success, it’s our success too.’  The most important thing I’ve learned this past year is to take it one step at a time.  Whether that means one day at a time or one meal at time.  Just make the best choice each meal and don’t beat yourself up when you splurge a little.  You didn’t become overweight in one day and you won’t lose it in one day.
I welcome any questions you might have and look forward to hearing your success stories :)

Kara Becnel

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. ~ Philippians 4:13