Around this time of year, many of us decide that we want our bodies to be beach-ready in time for summer. Deciding to work toward a beach-ready body and actually doing the work to get that body are two very different things. Several members of our organization have successfully lost 100 pounds or more by following various routines. Their stories are inspirational; they were motivated by life events and kept focused by following very different routines.

Ashley Brennan decided to make a change in June 2014 when her mother passed away after suffering from several conditions that stemmed from weight issues. To achieve her goal, Ashley joined the Ideal Protein program. The program is medically supervised and limits the amount of carbohydrates the participants eat. The program provides a coach and pre-packaged snacks. Ashley also completely changed her eating habits and learned to cook healthy. For exercise, she began working out every day and she participated, for the very first time last year, in the Crescent City Classic. Racing became a passion and since then she’s participated in 20 races. Her efforts resulted in a weight loss of 130 pounds in a year in a half.

According to Ashley, weight loss is an everyday mental challenge. “The physical part is easiest,” she said. “However, the mental part is much trickier,” she said. “We live in New Orleans where everything is delicious.” Because the fight to eat healthy here is so difficult, she uses prompts that remind her of her goal. She looks at her before and after pictures and pulls out some clothes that she kept from her highest weight to remind her of how far she’s come. She also suggests having accountability partners. Ashley posted her journey on Facebook. The positive feedback that she received motivated her to continue her efforts.

Another League member, Susan Russell, had a similar story on her weight loss journey. Her journey to lose 70 pounds was a multi-year process. She started Weight Watchers in 2012 and successfully lost 60 pounds. After gaining some back over a couple of years, she started Ideal Protein in July 2016. With this program, she lost 42 pounds in five months. “Weight Watchers is good for more steady weight loss with more options for food,” Susan said. “Ideal Protein is good for faster weight loss because it’s a much more restricted diet.”

Each Leaguer’s journey has common themes and experiences. With regard to starting a regimen, the decision was very personal. The advice was to just jump in and do it and stop making excuses. Additionally, when making good food decisions, one member suggested focusing on eating right during the week so that a slip up on the weekend wasn’t detrimental to the weight loss goals. Other tips included getting a support system, finding the routine that works for you and focusing on changing both exercise and eating habits. Susan said that she has a trick to maintaining her weight. “Have a trigger number on the scale,” she said. “If it gets to that number, get it back under control.”

Elijah Hobley, a personal trainer, who runs Bodytime Bootcamp also advised that the way to do it is to “get out there, push yourself and be consistent.” He said, “The weight didn’t happen overnight and it won’t come off overnight; however, finding a routine that works for you and being persistent and consistent will get you the results you are looking for every time.”

Summer Bodies
Susan Russell after losing more than 70 pounds.  Photo provided by: Susan Russell.