Fearless Words from a Former Fat Girl

Stephanie Laska after winning the Athena Division at the Modesto Marathon

Stephanie Laska after winning the Athena Division at the Modesto Marathon

When I run into someone I haven’t seen in awhile, one of two things happen. Either they keep walking (having no idea who I am), or they stop and demand , “HOW did you DO it?” and “WHAT does your husband say?”

To back up a bit, I’ve lost half of my body weight. Yep, 50%. I currently weigh in the 140s ­­ you do the math. I did not have surgery or use any medication.

I lost an average of 10 lbs per month. My journey took about a year and a half. I’ve kept off the weight for three years, and counting. ..

Fearless Words from a Former Fat Girl . . .

Kauai Family Vacation, 2006-20

When people approach me and ask “What made you finally decide to lose the weight?” I’ve been known to sarcastically reply, “Well I really liked being fat!” That’s a dumb answer to a dumb question. No one wants to be overweight or obese. No one wants to be stared at or worse, ignored. To choose a table at a restaurant for fear they won’t fit behind the booth. To hate trying on clothes. To fear sitting in a lawn chair as it might collapse. To avoid amusement park rides because they might not fit in the car. No one wants to live like that. Take my word. No one wants to live that life.

Because so many people have genuinely asked, “HOW did you DO it?” I started keeping notes along the weigh (way ­­ lol), with the hope of sharing my success, and inspiring others to follow suit. You might be surprised that the ten confessions I want to share with you have little to do with food. Just like in training for a marathon, much of the work is done mentally. So here goes…

1. Get out of your own way. A realtor once told me that when a buyer walks through a home, they are looking for reasons NOT to buy. I find that people do the same thing with weight loss. People look for reasons why they CAN’T do it. I remember talking to a coworker about what I usually eat or drink in a day (she asked) when she abruptly exclaimed, “Pepsi! I can’t drink Pepsi? Oh forget it then.” and the conversation ended. Really? Stop looking for reasons that you can’t, and reasons that you can.

2. Habits win over motivation every time. Does this one sound familiar? Well just like Angie shares on MTA, motivation only gets you started; habits are what will actually pay off for the long haul. I lay out my workout clothes every night before I go to bed. I put them on when I first get out of bed, no matter what. My household knows my routine, and that public admission helps maintain my workout habits. Same goes for your healthy snacks and meal planning. I shop for vegetables regularly, and have a fridge full of healthy protein at any given moment. I don’t leave the house without water and snacks.

3. I can eat anything I want. I love saying this. Even my kids parrott this one. I can eat anything I want, but I choose to eat healthy. When a diet tells you that you CAN’T have something, I immediately want it, like all the time! When I changed my mindframe to what I eat is my choice, I feel more in control. The power is mine.

4. Reward yourself for a job well done. It’s crucial to celebrate your milestones and incremental successes. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Every time I lost 10 pounds, I bought a balloon with that number on it ­­ like the kind you buy for a kids’ birthday party. The employees at my local party store even got excited when I came in… 100 was where the regular balloons stopped, so then I bought individual numbers, 1­4­0! I took photos with each balloon along the way, and they are an awesome reminder of how I looked and felt along my journey. Notice I didn’t celebrate with food ­­ we’ve all been there, admit it! “I lost 10 pounds so I deserve this dessert,” etc. That’s called a perverse reward and is counter­intuitive. Plan out your rewards ahead of time to help motivate you.

5. Beware of the bucket of crabs. Have you heard the saying about a crab trying to crawl out of a bucket only to find the others keep pulling it back down? Well sadly, the same goes for weight loss. We live in a culture that glorifies food. More than two­thirds of adults are considered to be overweight or obese. If you too are in this situation you are likely surrounded by co conspirators that may sabotage your efforts at losing weight. When you start making healthy changes, others may feel threatened. When friends or family (or even your spouse) say to you, “you’ve been so good, you deserve to have cake with us,” they are really saying “I want to eat cake and if you don’t eat it with me I’ll feel guilty.” Don’t let the crabs pull you back down into the bucket.

6. Be positive and accept yourself. Start from where you are at right now. Just like with running, you have to monitor the voice in your head with positive, encouraging thoughts. If you catch yourself making questionable comments, ask yourself, “would I say this to my child? to my best friend?” If the answer is no, then it’s not acceptable to say to yourself either. Imagine someone trying to run a marathon with all of the spectators screaming negative comments or waving posters with mean criticisms. Sounds ridiculous, right? You must become your biggest cheerleader and rewrite the script that plays inside your head.

7. Work with yourself, not against. I have had a lifetime of eating habits that aren’t likely to change. So, I’m going to work with, not against, my habits. For example, the second I get home from work, I eat. It relaxes me. I also like to eat a lot. You could argue these are two big problems that I need to “work on,” but I disagree. Instead of spending time trying to “fix” myself (and inevitably caving in, disappointing myself, followed by pity party eating,) I’ve decided to roll with it. The only thing I’ve changed is w hat I eat during these binge sessions. Huge salads, raw vegetables, and lean protein are my friends. Bring it on!


8. Sitting is the new smoking. My husband cracks me up with that one. It’s true though. Fidgety people burn more calories. Park further away from your destination. Walk everywhere you can instead of driving. Try new activities. Just get moving. I find it so ironic that on the days I don’t exercise (like Sunday my day off) I feel so lazy! Compared to a day when I finish a long run, I feel like I have all the energy in the world.

9. Keep doing what you’re doing, and you’ll keep getting what you’re getting. The equation for losing or gaining weight has never changed. Calories in, calories out. It’s not rocket­science. If you are honest with yourself about what you are really eating, the results on the scale will not surprise you. Everyone has different methods of keeping themselves honest. Whether you journal, use a smartphone app, or just make consistently solid decisions, be accountable to yourself as that’s the only person you are helping.

10. Choose the bigger life. Do you believe a better life awaits you? It’s okay to be afraid and still move forward. When people ask me what was the hardest part of losing 140 pounds I tell them honestly, “saying no to buttered popcorn at the movies.” Seriously. It’s the little decisions that add up. You must choose every day, every hour, to be the person you want to become.

I look forward to hearing how my story may have affected you!

San Fransisco Marathon

SFMJoin me to run 26.2, 13.1 or even the Ultra on July 31, 2016 at the San Francisco Marathon. We will be running through the iconic landscapes of San Francisco, including the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, Golden Gate Park and AT&T Park ­­ as well as a tour of the scenic local neighborhoods like Haight­Ashbury, The Mission, and Potrero Hill. Save $10+ on your registration using event code: TSFM2016STEPHANIEL

Follow more of Stephanie’s story at www.StephanieLaska.wordpress.com or on twitter @140lost

9 Responses to Fearless Words from a Former Fat Girl

  1. Tamara Sniezek February 6, 2016 at 2:47 pm #

    Thanks for sharing your story Stephanie! Trevor and Angie need to have you on their podcast. So many of us can relate to your story. I recently lost 55 lbs and the struggle is real!

  2. Michael Kirch February 6, 2016 at 3:02 pm #

    An inspirational story. Amazing results. Stephanie, Great job. Three cheers to you and your family!

  3. Holly February 6, 2016 at 3:14 pm #

    Love this! No blogging help needed, sister! You did it!

  4. Peggy Schaffran February 6, 2016 at 3:29 pm #

    Very inspirational!!!

  5. Shawnie Rodriguez February 12, 2016 at 9:36 pm #

    Great article thanks for sharing. The struggle is real. Appreciate the tips!

  6. Deena February 16, 2016 at 10:57 am #

    Love your story Stephanie. Congratulations. You’re an inspiration and I am sharing your story with some good friends. Thank you. Peace and wellness!

  7. David Hord February 28, 2016 at 7:32 pm #

    Great job. New habits are the key!

  8. Corinne March 9, 2016 at 10:06 pm #

    Wow, I couldn’t be more inspired!

  9. Sharon Hall October 10, 2016 at 6:35 pm #

    Thanks for sharing your story! it is very inspirational and real.

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