Abbey Perkins lost 72 pounds
I didn’t have the benefit of gaining weight later in life. I’ve always been a big girl growing up food was unconditional love. I ate when I was happy and sad. Sports seasons were even tough. When coaches handed out jerseys, skinny girls chose whatever number they wanted. But I took whatever jersey came in my size – the bigger the size, the bigger the jersey number. It was like a scarlet “A” for big girls on the field.
I couldn’t do teenage things like shop with friends, because I shopped in different stores for plus sizes. I wore a t-shirt over my bathing suit in gym class to cover my shape. For prom, I shopped alone and looked for dresses that covered my arms and made me blend in.
In college I found comfort in the buffet-dining hall. I also developed my worst habit drinking soda all day, every day. I averaged 4-5 cans a day until I began Take It Off.
In law school, new challenges emerged with a limited budget and limited time. Meals between school and work were fast food. Cooking meant boxed rice or macaroni & cheese. No protein, fruits, or vegetables because they were too expensive or would go bad before I ate them.
Before I knew it, I was 27 and 272 pounds. I knew it was now or never. So, I signed up for Take It Off, thinking I’d lose 10 or 20 pounds before I’d plateau and quit. A friend convinced me to join a gym to walk on the treadmill and gossip about work.
The biggest step was cutting out soda. Now I drink milk or water. I avoid juices and flavored coffee drinks that have as many calories as whole meals!
I record everything I eat. It helps me stay on course and lets me know how different foods affect my weight and my mood. It keeps me accountable to my Take It Off, my coach, and myself.
I’ve learned to measure portions and read labels. Unlike other diets with pre-packaged foods or “points”. Take If Off taught me how to eat in real life. I’ve developed confidence to go to restaurants or parties and eat smart. On special occasions, I go in with a plan and I adjust what I eat for the day. I even lost 4 pounds over Thanksgiving weekend!
When people ask about my diet, I tell them I’m not on a diet. I’m eating healthier. It’s different. I’ll stick with these eating habits forever. Grocery shopping is easier, as I avoid the middle aisles and stick to fresh vegetables, fruits, and meats. I’ve memorized nutritional information at my favorite restaurants so I can make healthy choices. I’ve joined an organic produce delivery program to broaden my choices.
I’m not a gym rat, but I’m even exercising! I go to the gym at 5a.m. I’ve hired a personal trainer. It’s an investment in myself that I know will pay off. I’ll have fewer medical bills and need fewer medications, as I get older. My clothes are cheaper because they’re regular sizes.
I’ve already lost about 72 pounds, and I’ve gained confidence to keep working hard and lose more. It’s a small victory to ask the waiter to change a side dish from potatoes to a vegetable, and to buy water instead of soda. It’s a small victory to pull up to the gym every day. But these small victories really add up – to more confidence, happiness, and pounds lost. My advice: relish the small victories and they’ll become a big loss!
– Abbey Perkins
- 27 years old
- Lost 27 pounds