Health

I Lost 142 Pounds By Watching My Portion Sizes

I Lost 142 Pounds By Watching My Portion Sizes

For most of my life, I would make this promise to myself every night: Ashley, you’re going to start being healthy tomorrow.

But without fail, the next day would come and I’d treat myself to a donut or fast food and end up frustrated because I’d ruined the whole day and would have to try again tomorrow.

I was also a very emotional eater: If I was bored I ate, if I was alone I ate, if I was depressed I ate. My mornings kicked off with a sugary drink from Starbucks followed by Pop-Tarts or a huge bowl of cereal. From there, it was mostly fast food for the rest of the day. Honestly, looking back now, I can't help but wonder how I'm still alive.

At 22, I finally broke the cycle after being diagnosed with PCOS.

I was about 360 pounds when I found out I had polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal imbalance which can affect fertility. That was a huge wakeup call, because I’ve always wanted to be a mom.

I Lost 142 Pounds By Watching My Portion Sizes

Getting in some cardio in the summer heat! Still going at it and somehow my makeup is still on point??? HOW!? What is this wizardry?! My contouring is more powerful than my sweat, apparently. #cardio #makeup #contour #sweat #heat #summerheat #workout #exercise #ketogenic #keto #ketodiet #ketogenicdiet #weightlosstransformation #weightlossjourney #weightloss #confidence #workit #fit #fitness #fitgirl #healthy #healthylifestyle #healthyeating #healthychoices

I knew I was going to have to get healthy in order to regulate my hormones and improve my chances at motherhood, so at that moment I decided I was going to join Weight Watchers—which ultimately turned out to be my winning ticket. It was honestly the best choice I could've made.

Weight Watchers forced me to become intentional about what I was eating.

Weight Watchers is a points-based system where no food is off-limits. Instead, the plan focuses on regulating portion-sizes—which had always been my biggest struggle. The program put me in a situation where I had to measure things out and take a minute to think about it, track it, and log it before moving on to the next meal.

I also focused on eating more nutritious, whole foods, instead of eating mostly takeout or fast-food options. Today, I make sure I get three meals plus two snacks (a.k.a., I'm never left feeling unsatisfied or hungry). Here's what my daily diet typically looks like:

  • Breakfast: At least 32 ounces of water before my coffee, a CLIF Builder’s Protein Bar (if I’m in a rush), or three or four eggs with turkey bacon (if I have time to cook).
  • Snack: A banana.
  • Lunch: A bowl of soup (my fave: Progresso Light Zesty Santa Fe Style Chicken Soup).
  • Snack: String cheese or an apple.
  • Dinner: Two-ingredient pizza dough made with Greek yogurt and self-rising flour (seriously, try it!) cooked and topped with a light sauce, reduced-fat cheese, and turkey pepperoni (even my husband will eat it, and he's not on a diet).

I Lost 142 Pounds By Watching My Portion Sizes

When my husband wakes up early to make me breakfast. #happiness #breakfast #keto #ketogenic #ketodiet #ketogenicdiet #highfat #lowcarb #weightloss #bulletproofcoffee #coffee #fit #fitgirl #fitness #weightlossjourney #weightlossmotivation

Losing weight also made it easier for me to work out—something I shied away from when I was heavier.

Because of my size, I stayed away from the gym at first. I was super self-conscious and thought everyone would stare at me. But looking back, I realize no one would have cared—most people are only looking at themselves, anyway.

Before joining a gym, I’d go on really long walks and work out by following Jillian Michaels DVDs at home. Once I started losing weight, I got the confidence to go the gym five to six times per week.

The weirdest part: I actually started looking forward to my gym workouts. I’d make strict daily schedules planning when I’d exercise and thought of it like a date with myself. If a workout was in the books, I was not missing it. It was hard, but the moments after a good sweat are so worth it.

While losing weight was amazing, there was still something holding me back: loose skin.

After I'd lost about 143 pounds, I realized how much my loose skin was getting in my way. I wanted to add running to my routine, for example, but the rubbing and chafing was really painful.

I knew I had to do something, so I reached out to my insurance company, who almost completely covered a tummy tuck and skin-removal surgery on my arms. I ended up getting rid of five pounds of loose skin, and hitting my lowest-ever weight of 215 pounds.

I Lost 142 Pounds By Watching My Portion Sizes

I'm about to get real with you all. After losing 147lbs the all natural way, my body changed in amazing ways! Mostly good. Some, not so appealing. My long lived unhealthy lifestyle of obesity took a great toll on my body, and even after my hard work and dedication paid off, the loose skin was left behind. No matter how much lifting and toning and working out I did, nothing would ever tighten up my skin that I so recklessly destroyed. A little, yes. But not in the amount that I was truly needing. July 2014, I decided to undergo a tummy tuck which removed 8lbs of excess skin. (Based on my previous posts with me wearing a sports bra, you can see I had an amazing surgeon who left me with almost an invisible scar). This past September, I decided to undergo my final skin removal surgery- my arms (2lbs of skin removed). For YEARS, I felt self conscious of the skin that hung from my limbs. Never comfortable in my own skin, I refused to wear tanks or anything sleeveless. Seems like a first world problem, I'm sure. But for someone who truly never felt beautiful, I was tired of hiding myself and covering up my flaws and shame of past regrets. For so long, I just wanted to feel beautiful and proud of myself for my effort and strength. Now, 5 months post-op the scars remain (they will fade more but inevitably they will always be there). I may have scars now, but I also have something else- a story that tells the birth of my confidence. Scars remind us what we've been through. They remind us of our mistakes, struggles, victories, and triumphs. No matter what you go through, you can never erase the past. You can only learn from it and keep pushing forward. I regret nothing when it comes to my life. I don't regret the obesity. I don't regret the mistakes. My mistakes from my past brought me to this very moment. And for that I am truly thankful. Embrace the mistakes and own the day. Move forward. Be bold. You're worthy of greatness. #weightloss #transform #bebold #naturalweightloss #plasticsurgery #skinremoval #epicshit #moveforward #learn #grow #learnfromyourmistakes #healthy #youaregreat #greatness #motivation #encouragement #beautiful #feelbeautiful #youarebeautiful

After that happened (and I took the proper amount of time to heal and train, of course), I was finally able to start running like I'd always wanted. I was even able to complete a half marathon and a 25K run. Running became therapeutic for me.

Even more good news: After losing weight, I was able to get pregnant—I gave birth to my daughter in June.

Now, four months after giving birth to my daughter, I have to admit that my workout schedule has changed.

I Lost 142 Pounds By Watching My Portion Sizes

These humans are my everything. They are why I choose to eat healthy. They are why I choose to workout. They are why I do back to back @flexcityfitness classes from time to time. They are why I try to cut out gluten and carbs. They are why I tend to pass on the offer of sweets, potlucks, and movie theater popcorn. Lol They are why I want to live a long and healthy life. Yes, I obviously want all of this for myself as well. But, once you have a family, priorities change. They are my first priority. I vow to be the healthiest and happiest mama/wife I can possibly be, because they deserve that. They deserve 100% of me. #family #familylove #fitness #weightloss #weightlossjourney #postpartum #postpartumjourney #love #myloves #priorities #healthy #healthymama

For example, instead of spending time at the gym before or after work, I’m now taking 30 minutes during lunch to use the gym at my office. I’ll crank out a couple of miles on the treadmill or spin bike. It’s a great way to break up my day. And if I’ve got more time after work, I’ll finish off my workout with a HIIT session, or yoga at home.

Overall, my weight-loss journey helped me become the healthiest mom that I can be—and if I'm healthier, that means my daughter can be healthier too.

No one taught me about nutrition and health growing up, and I went through hell and back to figure it out, but I did. Now, I'll be raising my daughter with everything I've learned, while still encouraging her to take care of herself and love herself regardless of what she looks like.