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How I lost 90 pounds: No fancy gym, no fad diet

Philippa Dawood started slowly with aquafit at the Y and cutting out junk food, which led her to shed 90 pounds.

Philippa Dawood

41, Scarborough, Ont.

Pounds dropped: 93

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My turning point: It was the fall of 2011, and I had read a magazine article about a woman who gave so much of her time and her self to her job, friends and family that she realized that her only source of comfort was food – ice cream or chocolate. It clicked with me; I saw myself in this woman. I was exactly the same. I had told myself I deserved these daily treats. The pop and chips were my source of temporary rewards for all the effort I put in elsewhere. I put down the magazine article and knew I had to tackle my addictive eating behaviour.

My method: Every day on my bus ride to work, I'd see the local YMCA in the distance and think for a second about signing up. It was a place I sensed an overweight girl could be comfortable in gym clothes. I finally listened to that tiny voice in my head – that I could make a real, impactful change in my life – and so I walked in, and became a member on Sept. 19, 2011.

The initial idea was to take it slowly. I began with aquafit classes, and was simply going to see how it went, play it by ear. But after a few weeks, I weighed in and I saw 9 pounds had melted away. From that point, I was hooked. I thought 'wow! I can do this!' So it began: My mindset changed and I wanted to go to the gym often, and I truly believed that I could lose the weight. I started to do cardio, weight lifting and group fitness classes. I designed a simple spreadsheet, showing Monday to Friday and plugged in the classes I liked and could work with my schedule and commute time.

My diet (I prefer the term healthy eating choices) consisted of slowly weaning myself off the junk. It sounds simple, and it was. Replacing my daily intake of ginger ale and potato chips with fruit and vegetables made all the difference. I need my food to be easy and convenient. So, instead of a bag of chips, I started bringing sliced fruits and vegetables in Ziploc bags to work, for a quick snack when in a hungry mood.

My kryptonite: I no longer touch the really bad stuff. I've totally sworn off pop and chips for good. That said, I do love my Starbucks coffee with a banana chocolate chip muffin, but I recognize these are treats and not meals. I've learned to listen to my dad's words of wisdom: Everything in moderation.

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