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    Posted May 3, 2013 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Your 'Aha' weight-loss moments

    50 pounds in six months


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     M9arcelo says his biggest obstacle was overcoming food cravings -- especially to hamburgers and Mexican food.
    - JacqueCNN, CNN iReport producer

    At 5'6 back in 2010 I weighed almost 200 pounds . Going to school and working full time plus a very stressful life led to a weight gain of over 50 pounds.


    I began struggling with weight fluctuation at age 19 but at age 29 I was the heaviest I've ever been. I  was not even 30 years old and when I had no more clothes left to wear I knew I had to do something. Ironically, I would look at myself in the mirror but could not really see that I was gaining all those pounds. However, nothing would  fit anymore. I also noticed how quick I'd become exhausted by doing simple physical  tasks such as walking to class or standing.  I became depressed. A friend whom I had not seen  in a while was shocked to notice how heavy I was. He said to me "I can tell you are very unhappy right now. A Happy person- he added- would never do to his body the damage that you have done to yours" It hit me. I had also been struggling with mild depression and anxiety since I was 15 years old. I then realized that my weight struggle all these years had been mostly triggered by depression which led to poor food choices. I decided to change my life right then and there.


    I had been slim most of my life, but never really worked out or was into fitness, so in order to loose weight I decided to learn. I read book after book and searched for information on how to  loose weight and get in shape. Fitness became part of my life.


    I started out by changing my eating habits. For instance I changed white for wheat bread. Regular mayo for low fat. If I craved a burger I would go and get it but without sauces added and I would ask for wheat bread if possible. I was still enjoying  foods I like and never quit eating anything in particular. Something I learned is to never fight with your brain. If your brain commands you to eat a burger, trying to fight the craving will just lead to want it even more causing mood swings and more anxiety. As time goes by your brain will stop wanting certain foods and little by little you can make rational decisions regarding what you eat. Drinking a lot of water also helps to decrease cravings and hunger.


    I stopped drinking coke and alcohol because they are full of sugar in addition to having a lot of calories. One mix drink can have as many calories as a burger. I did not know that. I started eating fruits and low fat yogurts as snacks. At restaurants I would ask for a to go box with my meals and made sure to put half in  the box to take home before I'd start eating. Portion control was a key. I never stopped eating nor did I ever follow a diet.


    My goal was to loose 2 pounds every week.


    I started doing cardio for 45 minutes five days a week. At first I'd just walk on the treadmill since I was completely out of shape and did not want to get discouraged by doing too much or getting too tired. As time went by I began to increase the level of difficulty. I also started doing zumba at home  with some online videos. I lost 10 pounds the first month and 40 more pounds in the following six.


    My energy level and confidence improved tremendously. I have learned to stay  in shape by never letting my body go hungry. I now eat fruits, yogurts or small soups between meals and instead of 3 big servings of food I eat 6 small ones plus snacks. Eating smaller portions more frequently helps to boost metabolism because your body is constantly working to burn calories. Perhaps the biggest gain is my mental health. I have not felt anxious or depressed for over three years. I have a different, happier take on life right now and I feel like a much better person. I can concentrate more and focus on things I love and enjoy.


    Typing everything I eat into myfitnesspal.com also helped me to get an idea of how much I was eating every day. Many people do not realize how much or how little they eat and many times the perception of our food intake is completely wrong.

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