Weight-Loss Win is an original Yahoo series that shares the inspiring stories of people who have shed pounds healthfully.
Pam Horrocks is 46, 5’1” tall, and currently weighs 119 pounds. In 2014, after an embarrassing trip to an amusement park, she realized she had to make good on a promise she made to her late mother to take control of her health. This is the story of her weight-loss journey.
The Turning Point
I have been heavy all of my life. Growing up in Ohio, my mom was a great cook and family dinners consisted of meat, potatoes, bread, and butter at every meal. I have always enjoyed food and I remember often going back for seconds at meals. We rarely had healthy food options like fresh fruit or vegetables (green beans, lima beans, and corn were our normal vegetables, and mostly from a can).
I have always been an emotional eater as well, but when my mom was diagnosed with liver cancer, my emotional eating started to spiral out of control. After reaching my highest weight of 240 pounds, I knew I had to make a lifestyle change. I felt discouraged. Not only did I have 110-plus extra pounds, but I didn’t feel like myself. I was constantly worried about what people were thinking about me, so I hid behind food.
One day in 2014, my husband, son, and I went to Legoland, a local amusement park. It was my turn to get on a ride with my son, and I did not fit on the ride. I felt every single emotion one could imagine — embarrassment, sadness, regret, and even hate.
In that exact moment, I remembered a promise that I made to my mom before she passed away in 2010. She was diagnosed with liver cancer in 2008, and during one of my visits she said that she was very worried about me because I had gotten heavier than I’ve ever been. I assured her that I would take care of myself.
Fast forward to that moment in 2014, I immediately realized that it was my time to worry about myself. After leaving Legoland that July, I decided to make a life change.
I was on Facebook and saw my sister was looking thinner in each picture. I immediately messaged her and asked what she was doing. She introduced me to Take Shape For Life, and it transformed my life. I knew this program was different than ones I’d tried before. Take Shape For Life combines the personalized support of a Health Coach, a Habits of Health course, and Fuelings (healthy, Take Shape for Life-approved foods), to give you the resources and skills you need to live a healthier life for the long term. I was on the Take Shape For Life Optimal Weight 5 and 1 Plan, which consists of eating five healthy Fuelings throughout the day, along with one healthy meal of lean protein and low-carb vegetables.
A month into my journey, my friends started noticing my transformation, and then everyone started noticing. They were amazed at my progress. Every week the scale moved down, my clothes got bigger and bigger, and even my shoe size went down. I felt empowered. For once in my life, I liked the person in the mirror. That kept me motivated.
This program has truly transformed my life! My family and I headed back to Legoland in 2015, and not only was it a fun trip, but it also took me full circle in my weight-loss journey. I got on that ride with my son, and this time, my son rode that ride with his healthy mom, in both her body and mind. Through my journey, I have learned so much more about myself than just how to eat healthy, I learned about being the best me that I can be, and I am forever grateful.
When my son was small, he was never able to sit on my lap, because I did not have a lap for him to sit on! My biggest accomplishment was picking up my son (even though he was too big at this point) and putting him on my lap, and giving him the biggest bear hug ever. That was an emotional moment for me, and one I will never forget.
Another moment that stands out to me is the first time in my life that I was able to cross my legs!
I continue to eat six small meals a day and I drink lots of water. On a typical day, I eat a ⅓ cup egg white omelette first thing when I wake up. Then between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m., I eat a healthy Fueling or 100-calorie snack. At around noon, I eat a chicken salad lunch. Between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. in the afternoon, I eat a healthy Fueling or 100-calorie snack, and then at 6 p.m., I will make a Lean & Green-style dinner.
One thing I have discovered on this journey is that I love fitness. I love both strength and circuit training. I work out with an incredible personal trainer two times per week and she pushes me to be better every day. I also attend group fitness classes, like Orangetheory Fitness. I have learned to love myself. I have confidence, I am strong, and I am powerful.
I am and always will be an emotional eater. When I am tempted or having an emotional day, it is important to control the conversations that I have with myself in my head. Before, I would beat myself up and inevitably lose the battle. Now, I follow the “stop, challenge, and choose” technique that I learned through Take Shape For Life. I stop and question what I want and why I want it. Also I reach out to my health coach, who is a wonderful support system whenever I feel like I’m struggling. My health coach is there to help me refocus on my goals and get back on track.
My best advice for others wanting to lose weight is to take your favorite foods and find healthier options. Rather than mashed potatoes, try mashed cauliflower. Rather than spaghetti, try spiralized zucchini or spaghetti squash. Rather than a burger on a bun, wrap it in lettuce. Don’t deprive yourself from food.
I would also recommend finding a great support system. Support is vital on a weight-loss journey and I am so thankful I had my health coach and my entire community rooting me on.
All photos courtesy of Pam Horrocks.
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