Angela was tired of feeling tired. She was watching her life pass her by, always feeling too self-conscious about her weight to enjoy time with her family.
Finally, this mother of two decided it was time to take back control of her health. Little did she know that this would give her a new life and open up new career opportunities. We reached Angela at her home in Kelowna, B.C., where she shared how small changes led to a big transformation.
LeanFit: What was your life like before you embarked on your health and wellness journey?
I weighed 247 pounds and felt tired, jealous and angry. I live in the beautiful Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, but I didn’t want to go to the beach or go camping because of how much I weighed. I’d come up with all these excuses not to go out because I was so self-conscious about my body.
I remember taking my kids to the pool, but I wouldn’t go in the water. I’d just sit on the benches and watch them. I’d see the other moms going in and I’d just be so jealous at them and frustrated at myself.
I felt like nothing would help me. People would say, “Oh, you just need to eat a salad to lose weight.” And I’d think, “Yeah, whatever! You have no idea what it’s like to be this huge!”
I didn’t think I would ever be able to fix myself. I felt stuck. I was standing in my own way, not allowing myself to live.
LeanFit: Why did you decide to take back control of your health and your life?
I got to a point where I was just tired of being tired. I was tired of making excuses. When my youngest son turned three, I realized I couldn’t blame it on “baby weight” anymore!
I watched a lot of TV back then, and there was this one show I watched called “Extreme Weight Loss” with Chris and Heidi Powell. There were these people who weighed 600 pounds, and they’d spend a year focused on nutrition and exercising and they’d go down to 150 pounds.
I thought that if these people on TV could do it, I could too! When New Year’s Eve came around, I said: “Let’s do this!”
LeanFit: How did you take that first step on your new health path?
I tried losing weight before. I used so many fad diets and they never worked. I realized I didn’t need another diet, I needed to make a life change.
I started really small. Chris Powell said to promise yourself one small healthy thing every day. The very first promise I made to myself was to just drink more water.
After I did that, I made a promise to get up early to exercise. I always thought I was too busy to work out. Being a mom feels like a full-time job and I could never find an hour to spare for exercise. Then I realized that everyone is always asleep at 4:30 a.m., so if I wanted alone time I better start getting up at 4:30 in the morning!
Once I was getting up early, my next goal was to exercise every day. Then I made a promise to myself that I would keep my nutrition on point. I made sure I didn’t skip breakfast, and I followed a meal plan of five small meals a day.
I just continued to build on these little steps and it all slowly changed!
My biggest challenge was getting over my excuses. I always had an excuse for why I couldn’t be healthy. I realized if I wanted this to work, I needed to move myself out of my own way. For example, my main excuse for not exercising early in the morning was that it was dark and cold outside. So I went and bought a used elliptical and put it in the basement.
I’ll be honest, at first it was really hard. I’d be on the elliptical in the morning crying — actually crying! But after a little while, my mindset began to change. My early mornings went from this thing I was forcing myself to do, to this special time that I looked forward to. It was a time where I could just focus on myself!
LeanFit: What played the biggest impact on your transformation?
This was very much a solo journey. It was for me and not anyone else. I wasn’t losing weight because my family was concerned or because my husband wanted me to lose weight. I was doing this for myself.
I use a lot of apps to stay motivated. When I decided I wanted to start running, I used an app called “Couch to 5K Running.” Then I discovered you can get high from running! I moved on to an app that trained me to run a 10K, and now I’m using a 20K running app. I also use apps for meal planning.
Because we’re a family, staying on a budget is really important to me. When it comes to nutrition and supplements, my husband and I would always argue about which supplements to get. He wanted the best ingredients and I wanted the best price. When I saw LeanFit protein at Costco, it was one of the first times that we agreed on a supplement! I loved the price, and he spent a lot of time researching the ingredients and really liked it!
LeanFit: What’s one thing that surprised you on your wellness journey?
I knew I’d feel happier with a more fit body. I knew I’d feel more energized. I knew all that would come with this new lifestyle, but I didn’t realize how it would change the way other people perceived me. I was surprised by how that would affect me.
When I was overweight, I got a lot of sympathy from people who felt bad for me. There was this kind of sad energy that I got from people around me.
And now, it’s more like, “Wow! How can I do what you did?” My neighbor actually asked me the other day for help to run a 10K!
I find that people’s energy around me is happier now that I feel better about myself. I think when you’re putting out more positive energy, it comes back to you. The shift was kind of crazy.
I was also surprised at how I grew to love running outdoors. After a while, I worked up the confidence to run outside instead of on my elliptical. It’s something I would never have done in the past, but I discovered how amazingly peaceful it is outside that early. You should try it!
LeanFit: Where are you at today?
I’ve lost 100 pounds! My weight right now fluctuates between 147 pounds and 154 pounds depending on how much I’m training.
It’s important to celebrate your small wins. Today, I’m really proud to have just run 6.3 kilometres. That’s not very exciting to anyone who runs, but I’m super proud of myself. Lately I’ve been dealing with hip, knee and shin pain, so for me it’s a huge accomplishment to do 6K with no pain!
My next goal is to do the BMO Okanagan Half-Marathon this October. That will be a big day! I want to lose more weight for that half-marathon, then I plan to do a full marathon next year!
Losing weight has even changed my career. When I was overweight, I didn’t have confidence. I didn’t have a go-getter attitude. I was so self conscious, I could never stand in front of people and talk — ever, ever, ever! Now I’m so much more confident and I’m actually teaching classes at my university. That’s something I could never have done before.
When you stand in your own way and make excuses for yourself, you’re missing out on so much!