Before: 405 pounds
After: 160 pounds
Height: 5’ 4”
A self-described couch potato with an addiction to fast food, Beth Lichtenfels, 33, ate fast food for every meal. “For breakfast, I’d go to McDonald’s and get two McGriddles and a large Coke, then for lunch I’d eat a Big Mac and 20-piece chicken nuggets, and dinner was pizza,” says Beth, a Pittsburgh resident. (Search: Worst fast food) Between meals, she snacked on sweets and drank around 3 liters of Code Red Mountain Dew a day. At 21, she weighed 405 pounds and found out she had type 2 diabetes after falling into a coma for four days due to diabetic ketoacidosis.
The Turning Point
After her hospital scare, Beth started to change her eating habits and took up walking. But she didn’t get serious about her weight loss until she noticed her excess baggage interfering with her ability to do normal activities. “I went to an amusement park and couldn’t fit in the roller coaster seat and had to get off; it was so embarrassing,” Beth says. Then, while working her night shift at the hospital, she saw an immobile 600-pound patient get sent to a nursing home. “It all clicked that day, I can’t be like this anymore,” she explains.
The Eating Habits
Beth cut down her portions and began making smart food swaps. “I like sweets, so I try to find foods that are good for me but still taste sweet, such as sugar-free fruit spread on an English muffin,” says Beth. (Video: 20 Foods That Pack a Secret Sugar High) She also logs everything she eats on MyFitnessPal, an online weight loss community, to keep her accountable.
Fitness is a regular part of Beth’s life now. She does cardio and strength training six times a week for 60 minutes, and also goes to hot yoga. “I started running over the last year and run three to four miles a week,” Beth says. She also wears a Fitbit tracker everywhere she goes to monitor her steps and calories.
Beth is no longer limited by her size. “I can do things that I could never do before,” says Beth. She learned how to ride a bike, she rides roller coasters with friends, and even went bungee jumping. “I’m so much happier. I feel like I got 10 years of my life back,” she says.
Start Small. “When I was 400 pounds, if I set a goal of losing 250 pounds I would have given up,” says Beth. “Instead, I looked at it as one pound at a time.”
Be patient. “If you don’t see results right away, you will eventually,” says Beth. “You see yourself everyday in the mirror, it takes a long time, so don’t get discouraged.”