As a teenager, Courtney Llewellyn struggled with self-esteem and confidence due to her weight, but it wasn’t until she was 24 years old that she decided to make some major changes — and it started with a pair of pants.
“The biggest size I had didn’t fit anymore, and mentally, I’d come to believe that size would be the largest I’d ever wear,” she says. “To realize that I had outgrown them was a turning point.” At the same time, she felt sluggish and tired every day, and had pain in her knees and back. Adding to that was the fact diabetes and heart disease run in her family, so it all stacked up to help her resolve to be healthier.
Llewellyn decided to change her eating habits and joined a nutrition plan that measured food according to points. But after only a few months, the shift wasn’t what she anticipated. It actually made her feel worse, she recalls.
“It ended up causing more problems with my eating habits because there was so much restriction,” says Llewellyn. “I felt like I had to be hungry for it to be working properly, yet I always managed to fit that high-calorie treat into the mix, so it created an unhealthy mindset around food.”
She pivoted to using MyFitnessPal and says tracking her food made her feel empowered instead of deprived. She gained knowledge about portion control that she didn’t have before, and over the course of two years — with daily tracking along the way — she’s gone from 294 pounds to 184, with plenty of non-scale victories as well.
“I feel about 100,000 times less sluggish now, and that’s helped me to start working out,” she says. “I began in January 2020, and now I do cardio and weightlifting, as well as recovery and yoga days.”
Although she still has some knee pain, it’s much less than she once had, and the muscle-strengthening work helps her feel like she’s supporting her body in new ways. “I also feel so much freer knowing that I’ve done everything I could in my power to avoid heart disease and diabetes,” she adds.
Along the way, she drew on the support of friends and family to keep her accountable, and telling them her goals gave them the insight they needed to make sure they were offering support and healthy options at get-togethers.
CLICK TO TWEET THIS ARTICLE > Read how Courtney lost 110 pounds with @myfitnesspal after trying other weight-loss methods. #weightloss
Llewellyn has also worked quite a bit on her mindset. When she started her journey, she couldn’t even imagine her body at a weight classified as “normal” on a BMI chart, especially since she’d been overweight most of her life. But, she set a goal weight of 170 pounds and, even though she continues to focus on that, there’s flexibility in her mind about that number.
“Wherever I feel comfortable in terms of maintenance is where I’ll stay. I don’t want this to be only about what’s on the scale; it’s more about how I feel,” she says. “That’s similar to why I exercise. It’s because moving makes me feel good, not because I’m unhappy about my body. It’s taken time to make this mindset change, but it’s very rewarding.”
Her advice to others is to simply start, and recognize everyone is a beginner at some point. It’s OK to change things up — as she did when she realized the point system wasn’t working for her — but that means exploring other options instead of giving up.
“It’s OK to do things your way and make mistakes,” she says. “You will learn what works for you and your body along the way.”
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