There are plenty of well-known strategies that people use to lose weight. You could try setting a goal weight and checking the scale often to gauge progress. You could pick an important start date like New Year’s Day or cut out certain foods based on your diet plan. You could even save “cheat meals” for very special occasions, like birthdays and anniversaries.
For Kimberley Webb, however, rejecting every one of those tactics has paid off in a major way. Her weight loss wasn’t always so easy, though.
She first started trying to lose weight about a decade ago while in her late teens. She tried different diets and approaches to dropping the pounds, but always ended up yo-yoing back to her original weight — give or take. Then, after giving birth to her first daughter about three years ago, she downloaded the MyFitnessPal app in an attempt to reverse her pregnancy weight gain.
At that point, she was 250 pounds and struggling to maintain her energy levels while taking care of her new baby. Using the app helped her count calories, and even though she didn’t use it consistently, she lost 35 pounds in six months. Then she and her husband decided to have another baby. During that pregnancy, Webb’s mother died on Christmas Day, sending Webb into a spiral of depression and anxiety, which was worsened by postpartum depression just four months later.
By the time she returned to her job as a gym receptionist, she had gained 20 more pounds. Fortunately, she had also gained a new sense of resolve about what needed to change, and her work environment played a large role in that mind shift.
“Working in a gym means I had no excuse about not being able to get to my workout,” she says with a laugh. “I also knew I had to be consistent about tracking my food and be aware of what I was really eating.”
While Webb understood she needed to focus on fueling her body with smart food choices, she didn’t place unrealistic restrictions on what she could eat. She eats carbs every day, for example, and says she eats healthy about 80 percent of the time.
“You need to find a balance between good and bad,” she advises. “But I don’t call them ‘cheat meals’ because that implies guilt and shame. I simply stay consistent with being in my calorie range.”
Other tactics that have helped? Not setting a big “diet starting day” like New Year’s or a birthday, and instead choosing a mid-week day to lessen the pressure of such an important day. She also pushed herself by signing up for a 10K when she was still 200 pounds — even though she used to hate running. Unsurprisingly, it’s now her passion.
Webb has also found success by taking power away from the scale. She has a weight goal, but doesn’t see that as her only endpoint. Instead, she relies more how she’s feeling and less on the number she might see on the scale.
“I have energy all day from how I eat and from running and lifting weights,” she says. “I sleep when my kids sleep. I’m happier, healthier and more confident than I ever have been. I’m starting to fit in smaller-sized jeans. My head feels clearer. These are the measures I use for success.”
Best of all, her approach is so sustainable and realistic that she’s committed to this lifestyle for the long run. Not only has she lost nearly 50 pounds in eight months, but she’s experienced significant changes in her emotional health and everyday energy levels as well. It hasn’t always been easy getting to this point, but even those past challenges are part of the reward, Webb believes.
“I’m at such a great place now,” she says. “I can climb trees with my kids without tiring out after five minutes, and I can take them out for ice cream without feeling guilty about having some. Once you tackle the mental game of setting goals and meeting them in a way that works for you, it’s amazing.”