Weight-Loss Win is an original Yahoo Health series that shares the inspiring stories of people who have shed pounds healthfully.
Sophia Hogan-Booker is 45, 5′7″ tall, and weighs 130 pounds. But in 2013, she weighed 222 pounds. This is the story of her weight-loss journey.
The Turning Point
One day when I was tying my shoes, I stood up and I felt like I couldn’t breathe. It was then that I said, “No more.” I had been on and off fad diets for years — pills, shakes, shots, you name it, I was doing it. I even got to 135 pounds at one point, but I was very unhealthy. I felt fragile and horrible, so I just put the weight back on again.
I knew that I wanted to stay alive and be here for my children and their children. I had many friends who lost their lives to obesity and I just didn’t want to go that route.
In 2013, I started working with an awesome personal trainer who started me off with a strict meal plan. I cut out all sweets, sodas, fried foods, and white bread, and drank lots of water. I worked out three days a week, and at first it was a struggle. Every time I worked out, I felt like I was going to pass out. I remember telling my trainer many days that I couldn’t come that day, but he would text back, “See you in a few and don’t have me waiting.” He was tough, but that was what I needed. He never gave up on me and pushed me even when I wanted to quit. Shout out to Mitchell Edwards, the best trainer ever!
My friend Lasondra kept me encouraged and was with me every step of the way, and for that, I am so grateful. I had a great support system.
At first when I lost weight, it felt surreal. I refused to get rid of my bigger clothes and was clinging to them. Finally, I made up my mind that it was time to let them go. I don’t think my mind had caught up with the fact that I had lost weight, so I had to tell myself, “Hey, you’re not going back, so stop thinking about the past and focus on your future.”
Who would ever have thought that little old me would be a certified spin instructor and licensed Zumba Instructor at the age of 45? I feel better now in my mid-40s than I did in my 20s. I went from wearing a size 18/20 to a 0/2.
Sophia before her weight loss (left) and after (right). (Photos courtesy of Sophia Hogan-Booker)
Today, I exercise at least five days a week and I love it. I really don’t diet, but I eat in moderation. I love vegetables and fruits, and I bake foods instead of frying. Yes, I dabble in other things a little, but not because I have to — because I choose to. I do allow myself a cheat day for things I normally don’t eat, but I find myself not even using that day because I have made this such a lifestyle change that I seldom get those cravings.
I have learned how to eat in moderation and how to eat correctly even through stressful situations. That has been a huge lesson. I have always had those types of jobs that led to emotional eating, and I still do, but now I have learned to balance the stress with exercise and moderate eating.
If I’m ever having trouble staying on track, I pull up my “before” and “after” pictures, and trust me, that snaps me right back. I actually have “before” pictures at my desk on my phone where I can glance and see where I was and how long it took me to get where I am. I feel so good at this point in my life that I never want go back there.
I try to eat fruit at night if I’m craving something, so I keep lots of that in my house. I drink lots of water and try to find things other than eating to do in my spare time. I also make time to exercise — and that’s a must for me, because it relieves so much tension and helps with that emotional eating side of me.
Never give up. Even if you fall off the wagon, get back on. Find a great support group — encourage your family, friends, and coworkers to start with you. Strive for your goals, but be ready for the journey and not just a quick fix. There’s no doubt that it’s hard, but it can be done!