Health Female Adda
1 year ago
I Lost 70 Pounds from Healthy Eating, Exercise, and Betting Money on My Success

How Finding the Right Motivation Helped Me Lose 70 Pounds
1/8 Photograph courtesy of Sara Bibee

Before: 210

After: 140

When I graduated college, I was about 160 pounds at 5' 6," and starting my first job as a teacher, I gained 25 pounds in one year. I was a teacher for six years, and the job was super-stressful. I had a lot to accomplish during the day, and needed to use my downtime to work at night and on weekends. I told myself I didn't have time to work out or pack healthy lunches, but my willpower just wasn't there. I was just so tired.

Though I ended up losing 20 pounds while planning my wedding, it steadily climbed to 210 by 2014.

The Changes
2/8 Photograph courtesy of Sara Bibee
The Changes

I was tired of feeling so sleepy, and I didn't like how I looked in the mirror. I knew what I should have been doing as far as exercising and eating healthy, but I just didn't use that knowledge.

In July 2014, I saw an ad for DietBet, a website that lets you bet money on achieving your weight-loss goals, and thought that if I had money on my weight-loss goals, it might motivate me to get going. The next day, I signed up. When I met all the other DietBet users online, I felt like I was part of a community.

My Workouts
3/8 Photograph courtesy of Sara Bibee
My Workouts

I enjoyed 5Ks in the past, and I wanted to get back into it. So one of the first things I started doing was using a 5K training plan. I would run for a minute and walk for two. Running was something I wasn't always great at, but I found that the less I weighed, the better I was at it. I ended up joining one or two 5Ks a month. Those races motivated me to keep exercising. Running has been really rewarding because I'm always setting new goals to achieve better times.

In addition to running, I started up strength training. I do a lot of weight training using both weights and body-weight movements. 

My Eating Plan
4/8 Photograph courtesy of Sara Bibee
My Eating Plan

As for my diet, I started making more of my meals, like turkey chili, at home. I actually wasn't a huge fast-food fan before setting out to lose weight, so that wasn't an issue. But I ate at sit-down restaurants with huge portion sizes at least five times a week. My husband and I often ordered a large pizza and I would eat half, plus breadsticks or whatever we wanted. My diet wasn't that horrible, I was just eating too much.

I actually hate most vegetables, so I stick with the few that I like, such as zucchini, sweet potatoes, and broccoli as a side to lots of meals. 

Keeping My Progress Up
5/8 Photograph courtesy of Sara Bibee
Keeping Up with It

I had to switch up my diet a few times because I kept hitting plateaus. I started by doing a low-carb diet, but when it stopped working I tried intermittent fasting. Other than that, I tried to stick with non-processed foods and gave myself a cheat day. I also used food journaling to see what I was eating and how that was affecting my weight loss. But since I wasn't a huge fan of calorie counting, I mostly used it as a guide to learn what was working and what wasn't. 

Getting to My Goal
6/8 Photograph courtesy of Sara Bibee
Getting to My Goal

My first DietBet bet was to lose four percent of my body weight in 30 days, and I ended up winning $20! I used that money to join more bets to lose 10 percent of my body weight in six months. I joined three of those at one time (I was very confident in myself). I won all of those bets.

If I hit a plateau, I would change up something at the gym or with my diet, and that kept me losing weight consistently.

In the first six months, I lost 30 pounds, and after that I lost about five pounds every month steadily. By 2015, I had lost 70 pounds and weighed 140 pounds!

The Reward
7/8 Photograph courtesy of Sara Bibee
The Reward

I had lost so much weight by the time my friend asked me to be her maid of honor, and I was so proud of myself as I stood next to her.

Not long after that, I went on a vacation and was able to wear a tank top and shorts without feeling self-conscious. I have so much more energy, and I think that I come across as more confident because I like the way I look.

Sara's Tips
8/8 Photograph courtesy of Sara Bibee
Sara's Number One Tip

What you eat is just as important—if not more—as what you do at the gym. Even when I went to the gym six days a week, I found that slacking on my diet definitely has an impact.

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