Losing weight — and keeping it off — is a slow, steady, and difficult journey, and no one knows that more than the women who've been there before. Like Taryn Haley, who decided in 2012 to start working out and eating right. By late 2013, she was down to half her previous size. Inspired? We are too. Check out Taryn's incredible story below!
POPSUGAR: What made you decide to start?
Taryn Haley: In January of 2012, I made the decision to try working out at a gym. This wasn't the first time I had worked out at a gym — it wasn't the first time I had tried to get healthy. People often ask me this question, and to be honest, I'm not entirely sure. I wish I could say I had some romantic moment where I had the whip cream aerosol can in my mouth and heard a divine voice say, "Taryn, this is not the life for you," but no. I had no "This is the time I'm going to succeed!" mentality. I had a few motivators, including wanting to conceive a child with my husband, and a faraway dream of being a certain size and looking a certain way. But mainly the reason I started getting healthy is . . . well . . . that's what you do when you're heavy — you think about losing weight and being thin, yet never really thinking you will.
PS: What's your favorite way to work out?
TH: My absolute favorite exercise is running. I enjoy many different types of workouts, both strength and cardio, but find that nothing gives me the results and the same endorphin-boosting satisfaction as running. I run on the treadmill and outdoors, and at the beginning of this year, I have committed to running at least one road race per month, my longest thus far being a 15K.
PS: What's your weekly exercise schedule?
TH: Sunday, Tuesday, Friday, I do a workout that combines strength training with some high-intensity interval training cardio (typically treadmill or elliptical). Saturday, Monday, Wednesday, I complete 45 minutes to one hour of straight cardio, typically running outdoors or doing the elliptical, and will add some core work (crunches, etc.) at the end. Thursdays are my "off" days, and that doesn't mean vegging out on the couch and doing nothing! I'll go out dancing or go for a nice walk, but nothing too intense, and I'll also foam roll to work out muscles and allow them a day to recover.
PS: How do you keep workouts exciting?
TH: I try new things all the time at my local recreation center, including Zumba classes, swimming, etc. To keep my strength-training workouts fresh, I will typically prepare a full workout on a note card the night before, writing down what I am going to do, and how many. When I feel that they're getting a bit stale, I will reference fitsugar.com for some great new workout moves! The other way I like to keep my workouts exciting is by beefing up my iPod — gotta keep that playlist fresh and funky if you're going to stay motivated! Shopping for cute new workout outfits helps as well! Recently I have also discovered and tried to participate more in working out with a partner — running with a buddy around town or doing a strength-training workout with someone also trying to get fit or going for a local hike with a friend you need to catch up with. It is a great way to pass the time and connect with someone while participating in healthy activities.
See Taryn's amazing transformation!
PS: How much weight have you lost?
TH: I have lost almost 160 pounds. I started out in January of 2012 at 310 pounds, and today I weigh in at 155.
PS: What was the first big difference, other than the number on the scale, that really made you feel proud and excited?
TH: I remember the first time I went through my closet and started putting on clothes that I hadn't been able to squeeze into in years and having them fit. I felt proud, accomplished, in disbelief. And it was so fun — it was like going clothes shopping at your favorite store and not spending a dime!
PS: How do you track your weight loss?
TH: I weigh myself every day, at the same time first thing in the morning. While I am very conscious of the fact that my weight will flux for several different factors, and that I cannot base my day (or mood) on the number on the scale, it's good information gathering on a day-to-day basis. Additionally, once per month, I take body measurements.
PS: What's a typical day of meals and snacks?
TH: I eat five small meals throughout the day, about three to four hours between each. My breakfast is the largest meal of the day for me and typically consists of a 1/2 cup of oatmeal with Stevia and cinnamon or flaxseed, and some kind of lean protein — egg whites or Greek yogurt. My morning snack is usually high in protein, like Greek yogurt with vegetables or low-fat cottage cheese with pineapple bits. Lunch is generally a salad composed of lots and lots of leafy greens, yummy vegetables, and protein, dressed by apple cider vinegar. Afternoon snack? You guessed it — more protein! Usually a handful of nuts or some peas. For dinner, I eat a lot of vegetables combined with protein in the form of some type of beans or quinoa.
PS: What's the range of calories you eat per day?
TH: On days I do strength training, I typically eat between 1,700 and 1,800 calories per day. The other four days per week, I try and stick between 1,300 and 1,400.
PS: What are the healthy staples that are always in your fridge?
TH: Lean proteins, some of my favorites being black beans, chickpeas, salmon, quinoa, cottage cheese, and Greek yogurt. And of course, vegetables! Lots and lots of vegetables, from every color of the rainbow, prepared and cut up for easy grabs for snacks, salads, or meals.
PS: How do you strategize for meals out?
TH: I have really had to educate myself on certain words that are found on typical restaurant menus that mean unhealthy choices, and will pick my menu items accordingly. I go for words like "baked" or "grilled" or "blackened" instead of "fried" or "battered." I will always skip the appetizers and desserts, finding that they often contain enough calories for a whole meal in themselves. Planning ahead is important as well, as most restaurants now have their menu items and nutritional value posted on their websites, and a quick five-minute review of the options before you head out can save you some seriously unhealthy choices. I was shocked to find one restaurant's main course salads contained nearly twice as many calories as their main dish burgers — in a salad!