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How I lost 52 pounds: I started small with no magic number in mind

Laura Michaluk

33, Greater Toronto Area

Pounds dropped: 52

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My turning point: In October, 2012, I surrendered. It wasn't because I had reached my heaviest weight (in 2004 I weighed 221 pounds and at my turning point I was 202 pounds). It wasn't that I had a health scare. It wasn't even me trying to fit into a certain size of clothing. I threw in the towel because I had a moment where I was tired of fighting. I have become an expert at what didn't work: yo-yo dieting, binging, cravings and constant fighting with myself. Up until that moment, when I ate I went into a different zone. For as long as I can remember food has been a constant companion, a friend, but something changed in that moment. I just knew.

My method: For the first time in my years of battling with weight, I didn't set a weight-loss goal or have any expectations. I didn't focus on some magic number. Instead, I started small. I eliminated the problem foods that I know I cannot safely consume: original Skittles, Ruffles sour cream and onion chips and cookie dough. I started out by only weighing myself once a month. I made a commitment to eat three meals a day even if I didn't feel like it. I made a decision to stop eating when I was full, even if that meant leaving food on the plate. Eventually I stopped getting any of my meals from a drive-through window. Then I cut out processed foods and have begun eating whole foods that I prepare from scratch for myself.

A few months into this process, I started going to a gym – like so many other weight-loss attempts. But this time was different. My only rule at the gym now is to produce sweat. It doesn't matter how I do it, as long as I'm sweating there three times a week.

Today, my life is completely different: I have a delicious breakfast smoothie to start my day. I eat a snack mid-morning and have lunch on the earlier side of things. I have a handful of nuts with fruit or yogurt and granola in the early afternoon so that I'm not starving before dinner.

Little by little, the weight came off: I've had to replace my wardrobe twice. It turns out 150 pounds is my magic number. I catch my reflection and I still don't recognize myself. A proud moment: I just bought yoga pants, size small.

My kryptonite: I get about a handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips that go into my breakfast smoothie. It is a simple and effective way to give me my fix, but safely and consistently so that I don't feel deprived.

This interview has been condensed and edited.

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