Colleen Norman went from 235 to 125, then back to 140 pounds
I love sharing weight loss success stories with you because they are such an encouragement and inspiration to people who have lost all hope and now feel like they will never be able to shed the pounds. But real people are changing their lives forever by losing weight and keeping it off permanently. Click here to see an entire list of the success stories I have featured at this blog.
Today I'd like to share with you the weight loss success of that beautiful woman you see at the top of this post named Colleen Norman. In 2000, Colleen Egan (her maiden name at the time which rhymes with "vegan"--although she's NOT one!) was a sophomore in college and weighed in at 235 pounds. Like so many of us, she had strugged with her weight for most of our lives.
As a 5'7" tall 20-year old, obesity was where Colleen had found herself and she didn't like it.
"I decided to make a change and lost 110 pounds in 16 months," she said.
How did she do it? For her, it was eDiets.com.
Watching her portion sizes and cutting down on the fat and carbs, Colleen felt energized enough with her new diet plan to start an exercise routine. She began walking and then started jogging. Her college campus provided an excellent gym facility, so she made good use of this.
"After I lost the majority of my weight, I'd say I was running about 3 miles every other day and then 6 miles on the weekend," Colleen recalled.
She quickly added, "But I don't do that anymore."
LOL! Yeah, I can relate to that, Colleen. You get so determined to reach your goal during the weight loss phase that you'll push and push until you get there. It's almost like you are taken over by someone else who has superhuman inner strength when you find a plan that works for you and experience great success with it.
Colleen said she psyched herself up to endure the challenges.
"I used a lot of mental coaching to get me through. For instance, when my stomach would growl when I first started losing weight, I would tell myself that my stomach had to shrink a little bit in order for me to feel fuller next time, so I needed to let it growl," she explained.
She also had some especially good tips when she ate out.
"When I was at a restaurant eating something I really liked, I would eat about half and then immediately put my dirty napkin on it so I wouldn't eat the rest. I would tell myself, 'This dish will still be a menu option the next time I come here, so I don't have to scarf this all down right now'," Colleen stated.
Her strategy for limiting her consumption of high-carb foods like French fries is one of the most unique and effective methods I have ever seen. Check this out:
"I would buy a small bag, take 5 or 6 of them and then throw the rest away before I even started eating them," Colleen explained. "That way I couldn't talk myself into eating the rest of them after I tasted how good they were. That helped me still get that craving satisfied without having to binge."
Ooooh, I don't know if I could just have a little taste of something and then discard the rest. If it worked for Colleen, then it may work for others. Again, this lifestyle change is about finding what works for you.
Without the help of any nutritionist or doctor, Colleen lost 100 pounds all by herself, but felt like she had lost too much and was in "a dangerous area" of her weight.
"I had cut out so many foods that I didn't know what to eat," she admitted. "I was terrified of fat and carbs and ate mostly salads."
At this point, she decided it was best to see a nutritional therapist to get her "back on track" and healthy again.
"I gained back about 15 pounds, but they were healthy pounds. I had lost the majority of my muscle, so weight training brought on a few pounds but helped me keep the fat off," Colleen recalled.
Not surprisingly, Colleen feels "very proud of the journey I've made" (and she should because her results are fantastic!), but there's just one problem: LOOSE SKIN!
"My [hanging, loose] skin does keep me down," she quipped. "I guess its a good way to keep me humble. If I had the body I thought I was going to have, I may have gone a little crazy with it!"
I know all about the loose skin problems following enormous weight loss. I have blogged about this issue at great length and it is one of the ways Colleen was able to find me and my blog. She really connected with my similar concerns about the "skin" problem.
"I live my life on a healthy diet, am very active and have the body fat percentage of an athlete. I'd say I have at least 8-10 pounds of skin on my body that has not tightened or changed since I lost the weight. I cannot wear bikinis, I am ashamed to wear tank tops (because I have to battle with droopy boobs too), and I rarely wear lingerie for my husband."
Man, I can certainly relate. I haven't worn my bikini one time since I lost weight. Hee hee! Just kidding! But I don't feel comfortable going shirtless because the "loose skin" still looks like fat. It's ugly, despite the fact I've improved my health immensely because of my low-carb lifestyle. That's why it's still my dream to get the skin removed.
And Colleen agrees it is her dream, too. But she encouraged me to not let that droopy flab of flesh get me down.
"You have made an AMAZING accomplishment that you should be very proud of," she recalled many of her friends and family telling her following her weight loss. "If you keep thinking that its up to YOU to get rid of that skin, you'll drive yourself crazy."
I've resigned to the fact that I could have to live with this blob for the rest of my life and I'm cool with that if it must be. But it's only been three years for me. I couldn't imagine waiting seven years like Colleen and still seeing that 15 pounds of skin just hanging out with nowhere to go. You're gonna get it done one of these days, Colleen. YOU DESERVE IT!!!
If I win a million dollars, I'll pay for your surgery, too! :D
When I asked Colleen if she ever gets tired of all of the compliments about how gorgeous she looks now, her response was "I never tire of them."
"In fact, I am usually surprised when I hear them," she shared. "Even though I've been in this new body for a few years, it still surprises me sometimes when I see my reflection."
It's the same way with me, too, Colleen! What really still surprises me is seeing myself in a picture or on video. WOW! Who is that guy?! Of course, it's been long enough now that I barely remember that fat slob I used to be, too. And yet I'll NEVER forget how terrible I felt and looked as a 410-pound morbidly obese man. NEVERMORE!
Visit Colleen Norman's "Garden Of Egan" blog to discover more about this fascinating and gorgeous woman.
Do you have a weight loss success story you'd like to share with me? Send me your before and after pictures and story to firstname.lastname@example.org.