Editor's note: The following is a weight loss testimony from Amy Leroy as told to Alexandria Gomez for Women's Health.
Before: 282 lbs
After: 150 lbs
Before deciding to lose weight for good in 2014, I was completely sedentary at work and at home. I had zero energy, and I’d even take naps during my breaks at work. At home, I played with my children, but even that wore me out. I felt as though I wasn’t able to accomplish anything other than what absolutely needed to be done.
This took a toll on my physical and mental health. My anxiety was terrible. I had been on medication for chronic hypertension since high school, and I thought this was how my life would always be.
In 2006, I had a Lap-Band surgery, which helped me drop from 350 pounds to 283. But I continued to overeat just like I did before the surgery. I was hoping for a miracle when I had weight-loss surgery, but I wasn't prepared to work for the results. I was disappointed, but I learned that making real changes depended on me.
Click through the slideshow to see Amy's weight loss journey.
On April 2, 2014, I was driving home from work and stopped at a gas station to grab a snack for my commute. I wanted something to keep me awake and picked up some chocolate-covered peanut butter Bugles. When I got in the car, I remembered an app that a few co-workers said they’d been using to track their food—I figured it was worth a shot. That's when I downloaded MyFitnessPal and began tracking my calories.
It was so eye opening! MyFitnessPal gave me a daily calorie goal based on my height, weight, and how many pounds I wanted to lose per week. I tracked my food every day and slowly began making better choices with my meals. The next month, I started walking for exercise. At first, I would go for half a mile, and I worked my way up to four or five miles a day. I usually walked outside, but if the weather was bad, I'd push my kids in the stroller at the mall.
I set out to get to 260 pounds, or about 20 pounds from where I started.
I've gone through a few different phases with my workouts. In the beginning, it was all about walking. Then I started using the Couch to 5K app to begin interval running after months of walking several miles a day. It was hard, but not impossible.
Eventually, I started using weights and following YouTube workout videos on my 15-minute break at work. I did this every day for a year. Later on, I got a gym membership and began using the StairMaster and lifting weights.
I always tell people to just find something they like to do and stay active. Now I do 'Cize dance classes at the gym and go on walks while my kids are in their dance and music classes at night. I use my breaks at work to jog in my office.
What’s funny is that I always said I'd never be a runner, but eventually I was able to run a 5K. I kept at it and now I've received a few 5K medals and completed two half-marathons. Never say never!
I used to be a chronic overeater, noshing on junk and eating huge portions at each meal. For example, at dinner I'd make a pasta dish and eat enough for three people. I also kept a jar of peanut butter in my desk drawer at work and could easily eat half of the jar in a couple of days. Though I did eat salads occasionally, they were drenched in dressings. When I ate snack foods, like chips or cookies, I would eat the whole bag.
Now, I try to eat as clean as possible and keep my portions in check. For breakfast, I usually have a Greek yogurt. Then lunch is some kind of salad with grilled chicken and a light dressing. I find that snacks are important to keep me from going overboard at my next meal. Mine usually consist of a protein bar or an apple. For dinner, I’ll eat lean protein like chicken, fish, or ground turkey, with veggies. I also like to make a flatbread pizza with turkey pepperoni and lots of veggies.
To read the rest of Amy's weight loss story, click here for the original story from Women's Health.