Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Colorado Diet Success: Julie

Beginning weight: 209.2
End weight: 164         
Total weight loss: 45.2

Julie led the State of Slim pilot class from day one. In the first week she lost nearly ten pounds, and remained the biggest loser every week for 16 weeks. She always said she just followed the rules exactly, which, although true, downplays the amount of work she put into adopting this new lifestyle. Throughout the 16 weeks, Julie served as our leader and the person I strived to emulate. Beyond her positive attitude and ability to juggle a change in an already busy life, her persistence to succeed motivated all of us to aim for better and better results. All of us here at Children’s Colorado are proud to call her one of our own.

Here is what Julie had to say about her journey:
“I continue to be amazed by how utterly amazing the whole experience has been. I have done things I never dreamed of when it comes to exercise; I’ve had more will power than I thought possible; I’ve improved my state of mind along with my physical health and appearance; and I’ve met some super cool people along the way who I now consider friends! I can honestly say I haven’t felt this good in years! I’m fitting into clothes that had been collecting dust in my closet for years just waiting for me to lose the weight. And I’m not going to lie, it feels fantastic when people comment on my weight loss and how ‘good’ I look! I feel a sense of pride and accomplishment that had been smothered for quite some time!”

For the future, Julie aims to reach her goal weight and has found even more ways to incorporate exercise into her busy day. She continues to inspire employees with her success.


Julie before (left) and after her experience on the State of Slim.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Colorado Diet Success: Lizzie

Starting weight: 172.8 lbs.
End weight: 145.6 lbs.
Total weight loss: 27.2 lbs.

Success with the Colorado Diet feels different than I expected. In the past, I subconsciously expected that a lower weight/smaller jeans size would naturally lead to happiness; before the Colorado Diet, I based a lot of my happiness on external factors, including approval from others.

But without others’ validation, the way I look doesn’t carry nearly as much value as I used to believe. What matters way more is how the behaviors I adopted to lose weight have taught me to see happiness as created from within. In order to lose weight and become physically stronger, I learned to refrain from excuse making and using victimizing language. Once I stopped believing that everything just happened to me because I was unlucky, I realized how much agency I do have. Now, I know I can turn a bad mood by being explicitly grateful for everything I have and for everything I don’t have.   

Additionally, the healthier food has made me feel better day-to-day. The daily exercise keeps me energized, the improved physical strength reinforces my mental strength, and in general, I feel less stressed.

Here are my before and after photos:

I am now in maintenance mode, meaning I still exercise every day, eat healthy 70 percent of the time, and weigh myself every day, keeping a eye out for an “action weight” that will require me to go back to Phase II (it’s about five pounds above my current weight). In the spring, I will begin a 20-week training program for the San Francisco Half Marathon; I plan to set a significant fitness goal every six months for the rest of my life. During all of that, I welcome any opportunity to support any friend, new or old, or family member, who would like to live in a State of Slim.

Colorado Diet Success: Natalie

Total weight loss: 22.4 lbs.
Percentage of weight lost: 11%

I’ll never forget the day Natalie found out she had been accepted into the Colorado Diet pilot group. She cheered “Yes!”, raised her arms in triumph and smiled for the next several days. Natalie had tried other weight loss plans (one in particular that shall remain nameless) where she perhaps lost five pounds over the course of several weeks, but never kept it off long-term. It was clear that with this opportunity, Natalie had new hope for a different future, one where she would be a healthy role model for her daughters and once again see herself as beautiful.

Over the last four months, Natalie made the Colorado Diet one of her top priorities, putting other parts of her life on hold so she could meal plan and work out every day. In class, Natalie never shied from asking questions, and remained fully engaged in the classroom, through the very last class. In that session, when we all shared one word that we felt, Natalie said, “I feel beautiful.”

A few weeks ago, Dr. Wyatt asked us to answer some questions about our journey. Here is what Natalie had to say:

Favorite quote/motivation:
“’What day is it?’ asked Pooh.
‘It’s today,’ squeaked Piglet.
‘My favorite day,’ said Pooh.”

Proudest accomplishment:
Working out in the gym! I have never been in a gym and now I really enjoy working out and feel like I fit in. And I can see and feel the results.

Lose weight, feel great, stay healthy and always live in a State of Slim.

Natalie at the beginning of the Colorado Diet (left) and at the end of the four month program.

Now that the Colorado Diet is officially over, Natalie is continuing in Phase III until she reaches her goal weight. She has also become a permanent member of the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Colorado Diet Success: Courtney

Beginning weight: 142 lbs.
End weight: 129 lbs.
Total weight loss: 13 lbs.

Courtney was by far the most honest member of the 12-person pilot group of the State of Slim. In the first class, she openly admitted to feeling overwhelmed and at Halloween, she confessed to eating off-limits candy.

Throughout the 16 weeks, we had long discussions about all of our challenges, and Courtney never held back; her honesty undoubtedly helped create a sense of solidarity within the group. Her courage to show her weakness was refreshing, and I think it inspired all of us to be open with each other, and honest with ourselves.

In spite of some setbacks, Courtney succeeded in losing 13 pounds, and is close to achieving her goal weight. Courtney is currently leading a group of State of Slimmers at her church and has been active in recruiting employees for the State of Slim Campus Challenge.  


Courtney before (left) and after her Colorado Diet journey

If you are interested in participating in the Colorado Diet, check out the book on Amazon (if doing independently) or see the options available at the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center (if you live in the Denver area).

Monday, December 23, 2013

Learning to like myself

Usually I blog about the other three women from Children’s Colorado, but as we near the end of the Colorado Diet, I feel compelled to share my transformational journey.

Drs. Hill and Wyatt chose me for this group as an add-on participant to blog about the program – I didn’t audition for it like the others. Although I knew I needed to lose some weight, I didn’t think I needed this diet.

Little did I know.

A few years back, I was in a serious relationship and over the course of our two years together, I not only traveled with him, shared holidays with him and moved in with him, I also gained 30 pounds. We broke up in February 2012 and I spent the next 18-plus months trying to find myself.

During that relationship, I didn’t know or like who I was, so I conformed to who I thought he wanted me to be; I subconsciously thought he would more readily validate myself than I could.

For those two years, I numbed my mind with TV and numbed my feelings with food. I made excuses for everything – why I couldn’t work out, why I couldn’t eat better, why I couldn’t self-start anything – and crashed anytime the other person showed distaste for these unattractive behaviors. At the time, it was easier to lash out at the world and blame others than it was to face the hard work of self-acceptance.

I look back at that relationship, and others I’ve had since, and see how lazily I looked to someone else to love me for me. But it is a simple truth: you must love yourself before anyone can love you back.  

This past November, I began to run. I always hated running and made excuses not to do it: I thought I had exercise-induced asthma, my side cramped, I was bored, I would start tomorrow. Even at the beginning of the diet, I couldn’t run more than half a mile outside.

Inspired by Dr. Wyatt’s love of getting uncomfortable, I started running outside with my friend Tess, who was a better, fitter runner than me. Week by week, we ran further and faster, and I felt myself growing stronger. By progressing through tough workouts, resisting excuses, turning consistently negative thoughts into thoughts of gratitude, and letting go of my need to control others, I began to like myself.

I started asking other friends to run, and even have started running on my own. For the first time I experienced the “runner’s high” and for the first time I feel strong enough to take on challenges, no matter how much I fear them.

In one week, I will turn 30, and on my birthday, I will register to run the San Francisco half marathon with Tess.

The last 13 weeks have changed my life in ways I never expected. I’ve lost 25 pounds, gained 11 lifelong friends and learned the most important life lesson: we must love ourselves so we can more deeply and unconditionally love others.

If you live in the Denver area and are interested in participating in a Colorado Diet class, check out new sessions beginning in January.