Name: Sylvie Roche
Why I Got Started
I have always been a big girl. As a child, I was the biggest girl in class. When I was 8-years old, my father had a stroke and I was shattered. I turned to food. Significantly bigger than my classmates, I was the odd one out. I remember going on my first diet at the age of 10, cutting carbs for 2 months for my ballet audition. The weight came off and I passed the audition process with flying colors. My weight went up and down throughout those 2 years and this is when the battle with weight truly started. I quit ballet when I started high school and started packing on the pounds instantly.
I became extremely introverted, isolated myself and used food for comfort. By the end of high school, I was over 200 pounds. By the end of my post-secondary studies, I was well over 230 pounds. I was disgusted at myself and my self esteem was low. After months and months of research, I fell upon a carb-restricted diet. It worked for me as a kid so I knew I could pull it off again.
Needless to say, I had managed to lose about 50 pounds without exercising. I was at my lowest weight, 180, and was on top of the world. I also toyed with diet pills, diet shakes, crash diets and succeeded at losing unwanted pounds only to have it come back with a vengeance, more weight than I had initially lost in the first place. I also flirted with the idea of getting gastric bypass but I never truly qualified for it. Unfortunately, the weight came back and then more.
After many failures, I was convinced that I was destined to be fat and discarded all my skinny clothes. I turned to food since it never turned me down and never judged me. I was carrying 235 pounds on a 5-foot-4 frame and it was more than what my body could handle. My body was talking to me but I was ignoring it. Shortness of breath, backaches and feeling lethargic were part of my everyday life. At 25, I was miserable.
How I Did It
After Ali Vincent became the first female Biggest Loser, I knew I could do it too. I saw myself in her and we had the same starting weight. Not being to apply on the show because I'm not a U.S. resident, I decided to give weight loss one last try. On May 19th 2008, I decided to go through with my New Year's resolution, dusted off my old gym card and gave exercise a chance. I never set a goal based on numbers on a scale, I just wanted my life back. I enlisted the help of a trainer, worked out diligently and I started to eat clean.
I had no knowledge of exercise. I was giving a basic full body weight training program. I couldn't do much back then but I stuck to it. I added cardio to my workouts as well. I read books and magazines about health and fitness, learned about clean eating. The weight came off slowly but surely. Hearing people's feedback on my weight loss made me want to push harder. I made it clear to myself and to the people around me that it was NOT a diet, it's a lifestyle change. Diets don't work.
2 1/2 years later, working out 4-to-5 times a week, including weight training in my exercise regimen, eating clean have got me where I am now, 95 pounds lighter and only 10 more to go. I have never been healthier and fitter. I went from a snug 22 to a comfy size 5. I finally love myself. I'm in the best shape of my life.
Once I hit goal, I'm looking at competing. I've shed a lot of fat and I'm building muscle. This is the new me! I'm embracing the new me and there's no going back. I'm working toward getting a certification as a personal trainer and as an aerobics instructor. I feel the need to pay it forward!
Suggestions for Others
- Believe in yourself and you'll achieve whatever you put your mind to. Remember that you have not gained this weight overnight and it will not come off overnight. Slow and steady wins the race. You deserve a healthier and happier you, you're worth it.
- Journal your food intake. Calories add up quickly!
- Get rid of your fat clothes, don't hold on to them. Know that there's no going back! Keep one item to remember how far you've come.
- Find a support network: partner, friends, online buddies. It's a must! You're not in this alone!