Discover How Susan Lost 42 Pounds

Today I would like to share with you a story of a woman who refused to let any excuses get in her way of reaching her weight loss goals.  Susan is one of my most dedicated boot camp members.

If you watch her workout, you can tell she is on a mission and will give everything she has everyday.  Not only has she been extremely consistent coming to Workout Quest Boot Camp, but she she really made some drastic changes to her eating, especially over the last two months.

I asked her to share with you the driving force behind her amazing weight loss journey.  I hope you are inspired by her story and take notes, because Susan has a winning formula.

Please share this with any friend who you think would benefit from it.

Susan May 2010

Q: Before boot camp how long had you struggled with your weight/health?

My weight went up and down. I would lose the weight and keep it off for a while, then I would gain it back. It’s been a struggle for my entire life.

Q: When did you realize it was time to do something about your weight/heath?

Last March, my parents came to visit and I wouldn’t let them take any pictures of me. I was huge. Two days after they left, I started working out with you. But it’s little discoveries along the way that have helped. Exercise is only part of the equation. I conned myself into thinking I could cheat on the food and still lose weight. The food part I only figured out two months ago.

Q: Why was it so important for you to make a change when you did?

I was miserable. I hated looking at myself in a mirror. None of my clothes fit. I want to date. I want to be in a relationship and I won’t do that while I’m overweight. I won’t let anyone photograph me.

Susan Nov 2010

Q: What changes did you make in your diet / exercise routine?

Exercise: I work out five days a week at boot camp. I’ve had gym memberships before, but working out in boot camp makes me push myself so much harder than any gym. I’m held accountable. I do things that I would never do by myself in the gym and I do more repetitions or longer distances than I would at the gym. No one was holding me accountable at the gym. If I wanted to do fewer reps or quit early, I could. Now I don’t and get a better workout. And I have made heading out to boot camp every morning a part of my life, not an option.

Diet: This one was harder than motivating myself to get up at 5 a.m. every morning. It’s easy to fool yourself into thinking you are doing well with your diet. But I’ve learned some tricks along the way.

First, I gave up desserts by convincing myself that I don’t like dessert. It comes out of my mouth now before I even think about it.

But I was still drinking alcohol and diet Coke, eight cans a day! I gave them up two months ago. I can’t lose weight unless I give up these two forms of sugar.

I also started pairing a complex carb and protein with every meal. I try to eat three fruits and three vegetables a day and have found clever ways to incorporate them in every meal. They’re low fat and make dishes tastier.

I track everything I eat with an app called Spark People for my iPhone. And I show Tony what I ate every day. It’s easy to convince yourself that you ate well the day before when you don’t track it and you don’t show anyone.

I also weigh everything before I eat it and have little charts to keep with me when I eat out to estimate how much I ate and I add calories because I know there is added fat in there.

I also look at the ingredients list for sugar hidden in everything from mustard and salad dressing to canned tomatoes to chicken broth. All are hidden calories that can make you crave sugar. Just make sure sugar or one of its many forms is low on the list, and avoid high fructose corn sugar at all costs.

I shop on the outside of the grocery store: produce aisle and meat aisle where there are no ingredients that need to be listed so I know everything is natural. I try to shop organic when I can.

I use a lot of recipes from Cooking Light. I definitely cook a lot more at home. I don’t microwave anything unless it’s leftovers that I made.

Q: How is your energy level now compared to before you began boot camp?

It’s a different kind of energy. First you have to get used to waking up early, which means teaching yourself to go to bed earlier. Now I am in bed by 10 p.m. at the latest. I’m 42 pounds lighter, so I feel better too. My stamina has increased substantially, and I can do things in boot camp that I never imagined I could do.

Susan 42 pounds lighter

Q: You lost over 42 pounds and 14 inches off your waist, hips and thighs combined  since you started boot camp. What’s your secret to successful weight loss?

The food is the most important part of weight loss. I plan what I’m going to eat ahead of time. I try to eat different meals every time I eat so my body doesn’t get accustomed to processing that food. And the variety of foods has really helped me stay interested in eating. One of my problems was that I didn’t eat enough food, so I was in starvation mode and couldn’t lose weight.

And going to boot camp every morning is very important. Without it, I wouldn’t be building muscle to replace the fat.

Q: Many people find it difficult to consistently eat healthy and exercise for long periods of time. What keeps you so motivated month after month?

Results! Seeing those numbers go down on the scale and inches lose, along with my assessment tests that get better every month is quite motivating.

Guys! Now I am thinking about dating again.

Clothes! I picked out a dress I wanted to look good in. I bought it. And I have dropped another 25 pounds since buying it (which reminds me, I need to try that dress on again). I just picked out another one that I bought and use as motivation to wear in another 20 pounds. Plus I have been trying on old clothes to see how they fit now.

Compliments! Nothing better than when someone notices how much weight I’ve lost.

Q: When you started boot camp you smoked, enjoyed wine regularly and had a habit of drinking up to eight diet cokes per day. Now you don’t do any of that. How and why did you change?


I had to change so that I could lose weight and be healthy. With smoking, I wasn’t running very well (I still don’t, but I feel better running and cut down my time on the big run by 1 minute).

With the diet Coke and alcohol, I knew I couldn’t lose weight if I kept drinking them. I had to choose between being miserable at my former weight or give them up to lose weight. I wanted to look good, and that was more important. Once I gave them up, it wasn’t that difficult. I tried diet Coke about two weeks ago and didn’t like it!

Q: What keeps you from going back to those old habits?

Results keep me on track. Weight loss is really an easy concept once you realize that you can do it if you just follow the rules. The rules are the difficult part. I think once you decide what is most important to you, and that answer is losing weight, then it’s easy. You can’t think you’re giving something up. You have to spin it into a positive. For me, the positive was looking good.

Q: To reach success you always have to sacrifice something. What other sacrifices have you made to find success in your weight loss journey?


I gave up diet Coke, alcohol, starches and sugars to lose weight, but I prefer to think of it as a positive instead of a sacrifice.

I gained a healthier lifestyle. I gained a healthier self-image. I gained two hobbies I really enjoy, cooking and working out. I gained a lot of great new friends in boot camp who have the same goals as me.

The ultimate goal is to feel good enough about myself to be in a relationship. Still working on that one.

All of these things are more important to me than alcohol, diet Coke, starches and sugar.

Q: I know you get compliments all the time from friends telling you what a great job you’ve done. When they ask how they can lose weight what advice do you give them to endure the long journey ahead of them?


1. They need to find a workout that works for them. You have to exercise to lose weight and maintain weight once you’ve lost it. If going to the gym works for you, good. If you need someone to help you, try boot camp. If you like walking, walk, or bike, or play tennis. But you have to be active for your health.

2. It’s not going to happen overnight. It’s a lifestyle. You have to be willing to change your life. One of the biggest problems I had was that I could lose weight but I couldn’t maintain. I feel like I have to tools to maintain once I reach my goal. I try not to call it a diet; that sounds so negative. I just think of it as the way I live now.

3. You really need to learn about foods and what works for you. I know I can lose weight eating chicken, but that might not work for you. I know I can’t eat too much beef or I will stall. I avoid pork. Once you know how your body ticks, you can feel when you’re retaining water and when you’re stalling. You can tell when you’re losing weight. And it’s fun.

4. Have fun at it. One of the reasons I enjoy boot camp so much is that it’s fun. I enjoy it and look forward to it. I like it when my muscles ache because I know I got in a good workout. And I miss it when I don’t do it.

I enjoy cooking, so finding dishes that are healthy has become a fun challenge for me. And I enjoy finding dishes at restaurants that I can eat that are healthy, but still dining out.

5. Find like-minded people. I think you and I talked about this the other day. When you surround yourself with people who want to have a healthy lifestyle, it’s easier to maintain. I have doubters in my life who don’t like it that I don’t drink now. I know they feel guilty drinking in front of me, but I don’t mind it. You have to be strong enough to believe in what you’re doing and not let peer-pressure convince you to slip up.

Great job Susan!  Does anyone have questions for her?  I am sure she would love to respond.  Please write questions in the comments section below.

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