Emily didn't realize how overweight and unhealthy she actually was until she saw a picture of herself from a friend's wedding. That was the turning point, and she knew she had to get herself on track if she wanted to be there for her family in the long run. From weighing over 300 pounds to losing more than half of her bodyweight, Emily has truly turned things around for herself . . . and she's become quite the fitness junkie, too!
POPSUGAR: Tell us about the start of your weight-loss journey.
I started my journey in October 2012. I knew I was very overweight; however, it was not until I received a photo of my husband and me from a wedding we had attended that I realized it was time to make a change. I was shocked by the photo and knew right then that I needed to make a difference for myself and for my family.
PS: How much weight have you lost so far?
EP: I [originally] weighed over 300 pounds, and I have lost more than 150 pounds!
PS: How did you do it? Did you follow a specific diet?
EP: Initially, I followed a low-carb diet and within a year lost 102 pounds. Now, I try to incorporate all types of foods into my diet in moderation. I love sticking to fresh and healthy items like fruits and veggies. I'm a huge zoodle fan! This Summer I had a huge vegetable garden, which really helped.
PS: Did you do a specific workout type or schedule?
EP: I did not start to incorporate fitness into my journey until January 2015, as I was recovering from major back surgery. Now that I'm back in action at The Edge Fitness Club, I follow a strength-training routine developed by my trainer along with cardio, such as running or the StairMaster. And to change things up, I like to participate in group classes from time to time to keep things interesting!
PS: What are some nonscale victories you've experienced?
EP: There have been so many! One that really stands out is running. When I weighed in at over 300 pounds, I used to have dreams that I was running, and now with my weight-loss journey, I can! I love entering 5Ks. I actually just completed two in one weekend a few weeks back. I'm not the fastest, but it's a great challenge and it makes me feel great.
PS: How do you stay motivated?
EP: Some days it can be tough, but I remember how far I've come and that fitness has been a true lifesaver for me. The Edge has a weight-loss competition, The Edge Challenge, which is an eight-week challenge that I have done several times. It's a great way to stay on track, and the teamwork is excellent; it really pushes you to try new things and get out of your comfort zone.
PS: What does a typical day of eating look like for you?
EP: I have really embraced meal prepping, so Sundays at my house is usually a big cooking day.
- Breakfast usually consists of eggs or egg whites with a carb. My favorites are sweet potato or oatmeal.
- For mid-morning I will have a protein shake or bar. My faves are the Power Crunch or OhYeah! One Bars. If it's a shake, I usually add one cup of frozen fruit and some cashew milk along with a protein powder.
- Lunch is usually a lot of veggies and a lean protein. This week is zoodles with a fresh cherry tomato sauce I made (from my garden!) and four ounces of lean ground turkey and a salad.
- Dinner will usually be more veggies and a lean protein, such as chicken breast or lean pork chops.
- Snacks could be fruit. My favorites are berries or an apple, and I do love my peanut butter in moderation.
PS: Any advice for people on their own journey?
EP: Don't give up; it truly is a journey and not a race. You're going to have bad days, but don't let that derail you from your goals. I can't tell you the number of times I've wanted to quit or I've cried or just felt totally bad about myself, but you have to pick yourself up and keep going. If you haven't started, it's never too late. Even if you start with the smallest changes, over time they can really add up. Never let anyone hold you back from what you know you can achieve. You can honestly accomplish so much more than you ever thought you could.
PS: Anything else you want to share?
EP: I suffer from chronic pain, as I know so many people in life do. I've had multiple surgeries, including a 10-hour spinal fusion in 2012, as well as a knee and hernia repair in the last year. I will always have pain in my life; I've come to accept that and decided to move past that. My hope in sharing my story is that people who also suffer from pain or chronic illness will find inspiration and know that it can get better and there is hope. There was a time when I was happy to just walk a few steps around my house, and then down my street, and then eventually I joined a gym . . . from there I've accomplished physically things I never imagined I would or could. You should never let a diagnosis define who you are or what you can accomplish in life. Just keep going, keep your head up, and don't ever quit.