CANCER HAS WON IT'S GAME OVER
"Cancer Scared Me Into Treating My Body Better — And I Lost Almost 150 Pounds in the Process"
At 17, I was diagnosed with and had my thyroid surgically removed. After the surgery, I was put on medication to regulate my thyroid hormones.
Two years in, my medication dosage changed — which caused a dip in my thyroid levels that left me with severe hypothyroidism (the medical term for an underactive thyroid).
Because of that, I was sleeping up to 20 hours each day. I never exercised, and my diet consisted of mostly fast food or other prepackaged meals because I didn't feel well enough to cook — quick, easy meals like pizza were my go-to foods.
Once my medication was sorted out, I started losing weight — and it made me get serious about losing more.
I started seeing weight-loss results about a month and a half after I started my new medication — but most of it was water weight. And when my husband and I divorced a year and a half later, I decided to lose the rest.
Around this time, my cancer resurfaced, which was another wake-up call. I was able to have surgery to remove the tumor and surrounding tissue, and after that, I was finally ready to really get serious about losing weight — instead of staying miserable, I got to work.
The first step on my weight-loss journey was totally revamping my diet.
I incorporated more healthy, whole foods into my diet — nothing from a can, jar, bag, or bottle (though I made exceptions for stuff like quinoa and flax seeds). I tried my best to stick to eating foods with the fewest possible ingredients, which meant my diet consisted mainly of fruits and vegetables, along with proteins like meat and fish.
As for meals, I didn’t really have a set eating schedule — I just ate when I was hungry and kept my calories around 1,500 to 1,800 per day; sometimes more if I was especially active. Eating this way made weight loss feel easy; in fact, I still follow this plan today.
Jillian Michaels was a huge inspiration — and her fitness videos helped me stay on track.
I started off with Jillian's workout videos for beginners, and it was really hard at first (I couldn't do more than half of the moves!), but as I continued pushing and challenging myself, the workouts got easier. Jillian's workouts appealed most to me because they had something for everyone — cardio, strength training, and even yoga — and came in a bunch of different time formats, making them perfect for any schedule. I typically worked out with a 20-minute fitness video in the morning, followed by a 30- to 60-minute walk in the evenings, Monday through Friday.
The better I felt, the healthier I ate, and the more I exercised.
That’'s not to say I don't still treat myself every now and then, but I know if I start eating lousy, I feel lousy — and that's a huge motivation for me. Meal-prepping is key here: I always make sure to keep a piece of fruit on me in case of sugar cravings, and I continue to make most of my own meals. I want to feel energized and great every day — I deserve it!
I've also made myself my number-one priority. Working out is extremely important to me, but if I absolutely can't do my full workout, I will try to do a shorter, 10- or seven-minute video. I also make a point do little things throughout the day to get my heart rate up, like taking the stairs or going for walks during lunch — those things add up!
Losing weight was great, but the biggest reward has been getting my health back.
As of right now, I'm happy to report that I am cancer-free. I'm also down almost 150 pounds — from 299 pounds to 145 pounds. And now that I'm finally feeling healthy, I never want to go back to feeling the way I did before making these healthy lifestyle changes.
My number-one tip for anyone else looking to lose weight: Listen to your body — not your sister or your friend — and don't jump on a diet bandwagon just because everyone else is. Diets work differently for everyone, and though it may take some trial and error to find one that works for you, it's worth it.
Video: INSIDE/OUT: My Battle With IBD (Full Documentary) | Rebecca Zamolo
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