Before: 258 pounds
After: 153 pounds
When Monica Thayer graduated from high school she weighed around 150 pounds. By the time she got married 3 years later, she weighed 175 pounds. “I got ‘comfortable’ as I settled into a sedentary adult life,” she says.
Her difficult pregnancies added to her weight gain. Eight years after she was married she suffered a miscarriage and was told not to diet or exercise for 6 weeks. “I got depressed and ended up eating a lot,” she says. (Search: How to cure depression naturally) Then two full-term pregnancies followed, and Monica gained 41 pounds with the first baby and 24 pounds with the second. “I ate whether I was happy, sad, glad, mad. It didn't matter how I felt inside. It comforted me, regardless.”
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The Turning Point
Monica’s initial weight loss started out as an “accident.” In 2009 she decided to cut her bad habit of late-night snacking and soda drinking, and she lost 13 pounds. “When I was growing up I always had an 8:00 p.m. snack as a reward for finishing dinner,” she said. “Popcorn, potato chips, cookies, ice cream—you name it and we’d eat it in front of the TV.”
She went to the doctor that year for cold symptoms and said the doctor was “pleasantly surprised” to see she had lost 13 pounds—and that motivated her to get serious about losing weight. Three days before her 40th birthday she vowed to live her 40s “fabulous instead of frumpy.”
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Monica started to adjust her eating habits by cutting portions in half and staying away from soda and late-night snacks. “I don’t use my normal-size plate anymore, and that helps me with portion control,” she says. (Video: Eyeball perfect pasta portions) She also doesn't eat out at fast food places. And to control her sweet tooth, she tries to limit treats and ice cream.
But the biggest change in Monica’s lifestyle has to do with exercise. At first, she started walking on the treadmill for 20 minutes a day, 7 days a week. She did that for a week and decided to start running on the treadmill 7 days a week for 5 miles or more.
“I was on the cross country team in high school and enjoyed it, but gave up running as I got heavier,” she says. “Now I’m truly insane about running—I can be found running in the rain, snow, wind, or hail, because I found it helps give me a sense of accomplishment and helps me feel balance in life.”
This fall she ran two races: a 10-mile race and a half-marathon. Now she runs 5 days a week and lifts weights twice a week for all-over toning.
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Monica said the support of her family and friends via Facebook has been a huge factor to her success. “I use Facebook to keep me accountable,” she says. “Every month I post my weigh-in, whether it was a gain or loss, and a picture.”
She also frequently discusses her run in status updates. “Many of my friends have been there from the get-go and tell me I look great and I’m an inspiration,” she says. “I can tend to get negative and down on myself, so the compliments and positivity from my online community really help keep me going.”
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Monica loves bumping into someone she hasn’t seen for awhile and seeing their reaction when they see how much she’s changed. She also says an unexpected reward is how her personality has changed after the weight loss.
“I have more self-confidence and self-esteem than I ever had before in my whole life,” she says. “People tell me that when I walk into the room they can see how much more confident I am compared with how I used to be.”