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My Story

Back when I was in high school, I was a cheerleader, and fairly active. I was one of the bigger girls on the squad, always self conscious about it... after many attempts with diet pills and fasting to lose weight, a dear friend told me that I would never have the body that I wanted, and that I should try something more suited to my body type. Offended at first, I asked him exactly what he meant by that. He said I should be a female bodybuilder. I didn't even know what it was, but once I saw a picture of Rachel McLish, I was hooked. But getting married, having a baby and buying a house all before turning the legal age of 21 put a stop to any dream I had about bodybuilding. I spent the entire 20s, a decade where I should have been at my best, over 250 pounds for the most part, fluctuating between 228 and 285 pounds... for ten full years. Before Images of Anne Via

Finally, in April of 1999, I put on a pair of shorts that were a size 26 and they were getting tight! I was at the top of the clothing charts even in the plus-size store. I joked with my husband, "what do you do when you outgrow the PLUS SIZED stores??" At that time, I had an otherwise great life…. a good husband, two wonderful kids, two businesses I was running, a big beautiful home, you name it…. my only complaint was that I wished I could lose some weight. I had some VERY humiliating experiences... Fat people are not treated equally! I was "mooed" at like a cow by a man in a parking lot (and he weighed over 300 pounds himself!). I was told in 2 different stores over a 6 month period NOT to go try on clothes I had in my hand, because they "weren't (your) size and you might tear them!" I had another lady in a store take one look at me and say " we have NOTHING in your size here!" She didn't even know what I was looking for when she said that!! I was shopping for a gift for my niece at the time! It was so unfair. This didn't even take into account how many times people asked when my baby was due... and I wasn't even pregnant. It got to the point that I wouldn't leave my house unless I could put on a pair of tailored pants or jeans (NO ELASTIC WAISTBAND FOR ME!) and tuck in a shirt. Because if I left the house wearing what I was comfortable in, leggings with the oversized tshirt (you know the look I am talking about) I would get too many unsolicited comments about when my baby was due. Eventually, I just stopped leaving my house. I reasoned, that I was "safe" at home. No one would say bad things to me there, so if I stayed home, bad things would not happen to me. My husband never complained about my weight. So I was comfortable in my home. The only problem was, I started getting used to that. And that wasn't my personality. I was a very outgoing person, but I was becoming a recluse, not wanting to go out anymore.... at all. So I decided I had to lose some weight. Even if I could lose 20 pounds, I calculated, it would put me back down into a comfortable size 20, and that, I could live with. Unable to get started on my own, and quite frankly, not wanting to waste time doing the WRONG things, I hired a personal trainer. She took the guess work out of what I was doing and not only pointed me in the right direction, but also did something else for me…

Before and After Images of Anne Via Weight Loss

She believed in me when I didn't.

I never realized the true value of a trainer until I hired one. Then I knew why I failed all the other times on my own. She pushed me in ways I would have never dared myself to go. She yelled at me when I needed it, supported me when I was unsure of myself, and never ever let me miss an appointment to work out. She made me consistent. And she held me accountable.

Did I like to exercise at first? NO WAY! I hated it.

In fact, I was so embarassed about working out, that I refused to go to a gym. My plan had to be one that I could do in the privacy of my own home. So, with a treadmill, and hand weights in 3, 5, 8 and 10 pound increments, I got started.

As I mentioned before, my initial goal was to lose just 20 pounds, and following the advice of my trainer, I quickly reached that goal in just 3 months, and got into that size 20. THIS was pivotal for me. Setting a SMALL goal was critical. Because here is where I celebrated my victory. I had set a goal to lose 20 pounds (which at 285 pounds was really just a drop in the bucket) and I reached it. Reaching that goal, even though small, made me feel like I had accomplished something. Had I set a loftier goal of 100, 75, or even just 50 pounds, then upon reaching the 20 pound mark, instead of celebrating a goal met, I would have said, "big deal! I still have 80 pounds (or whatever balance left) to go..." and I would have felt defeated. But the smaller, shorter goals gave me something more easily attainable.

So, I set another goal... 5 pounds more. And then another 5 pounds and so on. Eight months later, I had lost 33 pounds, and was getting in very good shape cardiovascularly, if not totally on the outside. I remarked that while I was still "fat," my heart was in much better shape! I also knew that I had probably hit the limits of what I could do at home with the equipment that I had, and I either had to invest in more machines, or simply join a gym. I figured, I was much slimmer having lost the 33 pounds, and I knew I had the confidence to be able to do an hour on the treadmill, so there was no fear in going to the gym now and being the 'out of shape fat girl'.... Still heavy, yes... of course... but I could hold my own on the cardio equipment. What I needed now was the versatility of other cardio: bike, elliptical, stepper... and the machine weights. That was my LOVE! In the next 3 years, I became a gym regular, and lost 75 pounds total, getting down to a size 16 in the misses department. I was no longer a plus size girl.

The next 4 years, I joined a new gym, and began on a journey that would test my patience... I plateaued for 4 years. That means I trained hard... 5-6 times a week, 2-3 hours a day, and never lost another pound. People remarked constantly on how amazing it was that I had lost so much weight. But I always corrected them. I told them that losing the 75 pounds was not so amazing... that anyone can stick with something when it is working.... the truly amazing part was that I was STILL going to the gym, even though I hadn't lost a pound in 4 YEARS! That, I was proud of... and when I realized that going to the gym was so much more to me than just losing weight. It had become a lifestyle change for me, finally. Make no mistake, I was certainly proud of the achievements I had made, and that I was able to maintain my weight loss (something that few are able to do), but I wanted more. I decided I wanted to pick up on my old dream, back in the days of highschool...I wanted to be a bodybuilder, and I knew that I had a lot of work ahead of me. Image of Anne Via After Losing 107 Pounds

So, I found a new trainer and made some radical changes in my diet once more. Oddly enough, I changed to "eating clean" which just means that I gave up on processed food and started eating healthy foods that were high protein, complex carbs, and had healthy fats. Nothing else was allowed. I upped my calories from about 1000-1300 a day to a new 1700-2200 calories a day (which was a VERY scary thing to do!!!), and ate 6 times a day instead of only 3 times. The result? I dropped another 32 pounds in the next 6 months, bringing my total to date of 107 pounds lost in just under 8 years. I have now kept that weight off for 17 YEARS.  I now wear a juniors size 7/9. My waist has gone from 42 inches down to 27 inches.

I look at my before pictures, and I see a girl with the *Results Not Typical!