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Success Stories: Joan

"I'm healthier now than I've ever been in my life!"

Joan Morgan Johnson3 Years Ago
Highest weight: 238 lbs.
Current weight: 159 lbs.
Total weight lost: 79 lbs.
Height: 5'7" Age: 50
Time it took to lose the weight: 18 months
Has kept it off for: 2 years
Joan 3 years ago

Throughout my early life I heard my mother and grandmother talking about the "Morgan curse": that after a certain age women in the family got fat. My four sisters and I were all thin as youngsters, and then when we hit middle age, the weight just seemed to pile on. The "Morgan curse" had struck!

Of course, it wasn't really a family curse. But over a decade I gained about 10 pounds a year (less than a pound a month). By my 51st birthday I had put on almost 100 pounds.

Because I had grown up as a thin person I never had to think about what I ate, when I ate or why I ate — ever! I wasn't an emotional eater. I just didn't realize that the food I was eating was pretty unhealthy. I grew up outside Philly and I ate Philly cheese steaks every day for lunch. That's just what we did!

How I Did It

In the fall of 2005 I signed up for an online weight loss program and there I first began to learn the importance of putting healthy things into my body, like fruits and vegetables. Then in the spring of 2006 I spent a weekend really looking at myself and the things I needed to change. After my weekend of introspection I decided to stop drinking wine. Then I got serious about what I was eating.

To do this I became very aware (and have remained very aware) of what I ate. I started keeping track of what I was eating. I coupled the consciousness raising with several questions that I still ask myself throughout the day, "Do I really want this?" "Will it set me back?" "Is eating a pastry or chocolate worth it?" The answer to that question is usually "no."

Once I had tackled my food intake, I began walking three to four miles almost every day. When winter came and it was too dark or too cold to walk outside, I did aerobics and weight training indoors. Eating healthy and exercising really helped me to associate what I ate with how much I'd have to exercise to burn it off.

Losing weight can happen if you are patient and if you make exercise a priority in your life and not something to fit in when it's convenient. It takes discipline and willpower, but I am living proof that it is possible.

Biggest Challenge

I would like to get to 135 pounds, but I am also not willing to starve myself to do that! Keeping the exercise piece going has been my biggest challenge, fighting complacency and following through.

Maintaining the Weight Loss

I'm not at my goal, but I'm very okay with where I am. I have no plans of going back to the way I was. I don't make excuses with why I eat the way I eat. I like the way I eat now.

The Biggest Thrill

My energy level has skyrocketed! People say, "You look 10 or 15 years younger!" Everyone wants to know how I did it. I love telling people that I lost the weight by using a revolutionary system of eating less and exercising more!

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