Molly Jordan, after her 140 pound weight lossNAME: Molly Jordan
OCCUPATION: Environmental Consultant
HOMETOWN: Toledo, Ohio
FAMILY: Mother, sister, brother-in-law, and a 2-year-old niece
What prompted you to start working out?
I woke up one morning weighing almost 300 pounds and decided I didn't want to be fat anymore. There were only a few stores I could shop at to buy clothes (which was going to get harder if I kept on the same path). I was wearing a size 26 pants and 2X to 3X tops, and going to the mall was almost always upsetting walking past the store where the "tiny people" shopped. I remember going to bars a couple times with friends who were all skinny and knowing no guys were looking at me or would even give me a chance.
How did you start?
In October 2011, I started using an iPhone app to count calories and started doing a Wii fitness game. In June 2012, a friend gave me a pass to her gym and I ended up joining and working out that day. I had always wanted to run, but knew I was too heavy to do it, and when I would try, it was uncomfortable and embarrassing. My boss was an avid runner so in July 2012, I practically begged him to teach me how to run, and told him I wouldn't take "no" for an answer.
When we started, I could barely run half a mile and had to walk the rest of the trail back to the car. It was embarrassing, but I wanted to stick with it. When I wasn't running with my boss, I would walk two laps around the gym and run one. I did that for a few weeks and continued to try and run with him on the weekends. Eventually I would run two laps and walk one lap. I started to set my iPhone timer for 15 minutes and made myself run the complete 15 minutes. Finally, I started to be able to run the mile and could keep up with my boss and go longer. Now we run every weekend and I run by myself Monday through Thursday for 30 to 40 minutes. Now I can't imagine my life without running.
TRY IT: The Simplest Run-to-Lose Plan for Beginners
What was the biggest hurdle to working out and how did you get over it?
Going to the gym after work when it was packed and not getting home until 8:30 p.m. So since March I have been getting up at 4:40 a.m. so I can get to the gym by 5:00 a.m. There are maybe 20 people there working out, so I can get whatever piece of equipment I want. Then after work I get to run outside. Sure, it sucks to get up so early, but then when I consider going after work when it's insane that gets me out of bed every time.
What's the most rewarding part of your running life?
Meeting new people who love running as much as you do, learning what my body can do, and feeling so empowered that I can run miles. When I first started running, I could barely run half a mile without feeling winded or tired and without giving up. Now my longest run is nine miles and I want to run more. I just can't believe how much running has changed my life. I feel so strong and empowered, but going from being almost 300 pounds to where I am now? It's hard for me to believe.
Did you have a weight-loss goal?
I wanted to be at a "healthy for me" weight. I started at 298 pounds and now weigh 157 pounds, which my family physician is very happy about. I have a 26 BMI and currently 29 percent body fat-I had a goal of 145 pounds, but my doctor is happy with me being below 160, so I figure if it's good for the doctor it's good for me!
PLUS: The Golden Rules of Weight Loss
What's the secret to your weight-loss success?
There's no pill. No magic spell. Diet and exercise. That's it. You have to be able to say no to certain foods, but at the same time you can't completely cut those foods out of your life or you'll go crazy and then when you do eat them, you gobble down the entire package. Before I would eat as much pasta, bread, candy, anything I wanted. Now I measure everything. I bought two additional sets of measuring cups/spoons, I have a food scale at home and at work, and I read the labels. I not only look at calories, but I look at sodium, sugar, protein, fiber--the ingredient list. Everything that's on there is important.
Molly before the weight loss.What kinds of changes did you make to what and how you ate?
I measure everything. I rarely eat fast food. If I want a McDonald's burger I'll make myself wait. Usually we make dinners at home Monday through Thursday, so fast food doesn't happen and the "craving" will eventually pass. But if I really want one, I'll get one on Friday (my designated "cheat day.") I throw out half the bun and I'll get a salad, have carrots from home, or I'll split French fries with someone. I only allow myself to eat fries during the week at 5 Guys (where I get the lettuce wrap instead of the bun), and even then I don't eat them a lot. When I do go out to eat, I look at the nutritional information online and know what I'm going to get before I go to the restaurant. I know I made mistakes in the beginning and still make mistakes now about what I'm eating, but you can't dwell on the mistakes or think, Well, that's it. There goes the entire day! You just have to pick yourself up, remember not to make the same mistake, and keep going. Now I eat lots of healthy whole, natural food-fruits and vegetables make up a lot of my meals now. I basically have an apple every day, I eat plain Greek yogurt with fruit and honey two to three times a week, and I eat vegetables all the time.
RELATED: 10 Ways Restaurants Can Help You Lose Weight
What advice would you give to a beginner?
Just take it slowly. You won't be able to see results right away, but if you stick to it, you'll be able to keep going. You can't give up.
The scale isn't the be-all-end-all. A scale measures the force of gravity on your body. It does not measure how many miles you can run, how much you can lift, your happiness. Additionally, I know my "trigger" foods, so when I go to the store, I steer clear of them and won't buy them at all. If I do want a trigger food, I make myself wait on it and see if the craving goes away.
What is your long-term goal?
My long-term goal is to keep my weight loss off and to be healthy. At my yearly physical in July 2013 everything that had been dangerously elevated the year before was beyond healthy levels now. I basically had eliminated my risk for heart disease and diabetes.
More from Runner's World:
50 Quick Ways to Get Lean
6 Reasons You're Not Losing Weight
10 Rules for Lasting Weight Loss
Molly Jordan, after her 140 pound weight lossNAME: Molly Jordan