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How This Woman Lost An Incredible 240 Pounds
After a summer of watching the television showExtreme Weight Loss with Chris Powell, Gillian McCarty, 35, decided to give her own extreme weight loss journey a try, literally taking it one step at a time. She lost more than 240 pounds. Here's how she did it.
In the summer of 2013, I weighed 413. I'd always been heavy, but after giving birth to my first child my weight kept going up. But this summer something happened to me: That August, I got totally intoExtreme Weight Loss. The premise of the show is that extremely overweight contestants have 1 year to lose at least half their body weight. As I was sitting on the couch watching one day, I asked myself:Could I do that?I decided to give myself 1 year of making healthy changes and really trying. After all, it certainly couldn't hurt, right?
I started by changing one bad habit a week. This approach made the process seem much less daunting. Instead of staring at a mountain, I just had to climb one small hill at a time. (Lose up to 15 pounds in just 30 days with this revolutionary superfood plan from the publisher of Prevention!)
The first habit I tackled was sweet tea, which at that point I was drinking all day long. Quitting sweet tea also meant I had to stop going to McDonalds, which was huge. There were some days when I would eat McDonald's three times a day, and I never ate just one of anything. So needless to say, this was a monumental change in my eating habits.
The next week I stopped eating white bread. Then the next I quit smoking—cold turkey. I was so determined to get rid of my bad habits, smoking was just another one to check off the list.
As I started to feel more energetic, I added a little exercise. I wouldn't say any one of the changes had more impact than others—they all contributed. Weight loss is such a head game; if you tell yourself the right things, you can win.
After the first month, the weight began to come off. My back hurt less. For the first time in my life, I was empowered—I believed I might actually be able to beat this fat thing. I felt like I was actually taking part in my life instead of just watching it from the couch.
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I didn't focus not on my weight, but on changing my bad habits and taking control of my life. Over time, I came to realize that I deserved healthy habits—that I'm worth it. I softened my tone when I talked to myself—I became much kinder, more patient, and more understanding of myself.
Today, all those baby steps have added up to a weight loss of more than half my body weight. I am 245 pounds lighter than I was that summer I started watchingExtreme Weight Loss. It may have taken longer than a year, but I've lost more weight than many of the contestants on the show.
In terms of my diet, I make healthier food choices for sure, but most importantly I practice portion control. Instead of half a pizza, I eat a piece or two. Instead of a huge piece of cake for dessert, I eat just a few bites. Instead of ordering four rolls at a sushi restaurant, I have only one.
For exercise, I work out 5 days a week, with an hour of weight lifting and 15 to 30 minutes of cardio each time. The exercise no doubt helps, but I want people to know you don't have to go to the gym every day or exercise strenuously if you keep your diet on point.
MORE:The 8 Most Effective Exercises For Weight Loss
Extreme Weight Lossis still one of my favorite shows, and I watch a few others, too. I want to warn people that not all those weight loss shows tell the whole story. For example, I recently had skin removal surgery—which a lot of people who have lost extreme amounts of weight do, even though the shows tend to leave out that less glamorous part.
And weight loss isn't all rainbows and sunshine. Far too many fitness pages and articles make it seem that way, but there are moments that really suck. Which is why I started my own Facebook page where I document my journey—the good parts and the bad ones. I think it's so important to find the people in your life you can lean on, and who understand the struggle involved with extreme weight loss. You need people who will build you up instead of knocking you down.
I recently experienced a major personal trauma—I lost my 21-year-old son. I was devastated, and the old me would have turned to food to cope. While I continue to mourn and miss him every day, I realize that I'm a truly changed person because I'm still on my track for my ultimate goal—losing 250 pounds. I've lost more than half my body weight; I'm ready to embrace the more than half my life I have yet to live.
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