Sunday, January 26, 2014

Guest Post: Stephanie Clemmer and a Triumph Over 25 Pounds

Hi all,

I have known my friend Stephanie for several years now and am really happy to say that I have watched her and (hopefully) helped her a little bit discover the drive to lose 25 pounds through exercise and healthy eating. I am so proud of her and because of her amazing work, I asked her to write a guest post for me to post on my blog.

Here is her guest post and I offer a huge congratulations to Steffi and her weight loss!

Steffi in Summer 2012 (left) and 2014 (right)

"My name is Stephaine Clemmer and I have always struggled with my weight. I've tried the crash diets, diet pills, the "magic" shakes, and finally I think what worked for me to get in the best shape of my life, GETTING ENGAGED!

I was at my all time heaviest, I was not happy.. I never wanted to have my picture taken, always compared myself to other girls and said why can't I look like that. Well November 16th, 2012 it all changed.
(left) Starting weight vs (right) 1st years progress

My amazing fiancĂ©, Craig McClintock, asked me to be his wife! I could not be more excited to spend the rest of my life with such a caring person who always saw the best in me and pushed me even when I wanted to stop. He made my life so much better. So, of course my first thought was omg I need a dress. I wasn't happy with myself so I said come the new year, I will get into the best shape of my life for my wedding and find a dress I'll look awesome in. January 1, 2013 comes around and I made sure that I went to the gym with all the other resolutioners. I had a gym membership for about a year before I actually became, I guess you could say "obsessed" with it, but never really stuck to it until after I was engaged. I started on the elliptical and getting in other forms of cardio. I cut out fast food restaurants, tried to eat more fruit and vegetables, and also had a team of five or six friends in different states who had a private Facebook group to help motivate each other. Another incentive for losing weight that my friend found for me was an app called, Every Move. This app offers rewards for discounted health food, sneakers, fitness gadgets, and a ton of other things - this was awesome so I definitely stuck with recording my activities. I also tracked my calories using MyFitnessPal, which is AMAZING.  

When starting my weight loss journey in 2013, I started working out 5-6 days a week and started watching what I ate. I also tried ViSalus which is a nutritional shake from Body By Vi. I used the shakes for about a month and a half and lost 8 lbs so I was excited. I just couldn't do with the two shakes a day so I cut my 90 day challenge short. I still use the shakes every once in a while. I tried the Special K diet for 2 weeks because it said you could lose up to 6 lbs every in two weeks, so my friend and I were believers so we tried it out. With this diet, I lost 4.2 lbs. After this challenge, I fell off of the "crash diets" and "magic shakes" and just decided to keep better tabs on my calorie intake and exercise. I started taking gym classes such as Cardio Fusion (a mixture of strength training and cardio) as well as Les Mills Pump. While doing these classes I was also getting into the habit of running as I had signed up for my first Half Marathon. In May of 2013 I ran my first half marathon in 2 hours 46 mins. I was so excited to be able to finish. At the end of May 2013 I was down 20 lbs. I started to slow down a little on running and tried to start building some muscle, and continued with Les Mills Pump classes - I did however, do a few 5k races throughout the summer. In November 2013 there was a new race added in Pittsburgh which was the EQT 10 Miler and I definitely had to sign up for this. Two long distances runs in 2013 was an achievement I never thought I would ever accomplish, it was an amazing feeling.

Eventually I noticed I wasn't losing the weight as quickly as I was before, and I was at a plateau for a good 5 months and come January 2014 I told myself I would get back to my 5-6 days a week working out as we were only 4.5 months away from the big day. Since January 1, 2014 I have been working out 5-6 days a week, started eating clean, and recording my calories better. I am officially down 26.2 lbs as of January 24, 2014. I began my journey at 166.8 lbs, and now weigh 140.6 - I am 3 lbs away from my High School weight, and 5 lbs away from my goal weight.

Tips for the weight loss journey: Get a fitness gadget - I started with a FitBit Zip, got the Jawbone UP and now have the FitBit Force and I absolutely love them - you have friends you can compete with so it makes it fun and I'm an extremely competitive person. If you have a friend into fitness - recruit a friend to be your gym partner! Try to eat clean, Set realistic goals, reward yourself - I reward myself with new running shoes or a mani/pedi. Lastly, switch up your routine every 4 weeks.

Struggles along the way: Sweets - my biggest downfall. Convenience - meal planning was not really ideal all the time so this caused me to slack off sometimes. The Plateau - this was my biggest struggle because I went 5-6 months without losing any weight and constantly fluctuated 2-3 lbs and couldn't understand why I wasn't losing until I changed up my diet and added more strength training into my routine.

My goal now is to lose my last 5 lbs maybe 10 to be at my absolute IDEAL goal weight and continue to add some muscle definition or as some call it "tone up". The big day is May 12, 2014 in the beautiful beach in the Outer Banks, North Carolina and I am beyond determined to look amazing in my gorgeous Maggie Sottero dress.. If I can do it, ANYONE can."

Note from Mackenzie:

I have to say how proud I am of Steffi. Losing weight, sticking to a plan and getting into exercise can be a very difficult thing to stick to and she is one of the few people that I personally know that stuck with a plan and didn't stop until they achieved their goals. I am so happy for her and I give her so much credit.

Great job Steffi!

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