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How to Lose Weight and Keep it off: 7 Years and Counting for this Fitness Pro

By- Kaleena Lawless

My story starts as an overweight, lazy teenager.  I loved fast food, donuts, and swore an oath to never exercise.  That’s right! I would miss the bus and wait for the next, rather than jog for a few seconds.  It’s not that I didn’t want to look and feel good, but I didn’t have the energy or motivation.

 My life completely turned a 180, the summer after graduating high school.  I decided to use my Mom’s treadmill in the mornings.  She had lost nearly 100 pounds herself.  I knew that weight loss was possible with this grueling chore, otherwise known as exercise.  At first, I couldn’t jog.  Actually, when the talk show I was watching went to commercial, I lost my motivation and hopped off.  It was really that bad.

 Fast forward to now.  I’m 60 pounds lighter, I run five miles every day, practice yoga, belly dance, lift weights, walk everywhere in favor of the bus, plus I have a fantastic career as a personal trainer. 

You may be scratching your head and wondering how I made the leap.  I’m about to tell you:

Three Factors that have to change to lose weight and keep it off for good

1.     Exercise

The most obvious solution to being overweight comes first.  Start exercising.  It will be hard at first, and you will hate it but you know what?  It gets a) a lot easier, especially when you become better at it and see results. b) It will be fun, especially when you find activities that are enjoyable.  c) It regularly re-enforces feelings of success and accomplishment into your daily life.  This makes you feel good about yourself.  As energy increases and your body changes, you begin to realize that you can do anything you set out to.  Whether it’s a dream job or climbing Mount Everest, goals become attainable with improved self-confidence, developed by daily bouts of “micro-success.” 

2.     Cut out junk and fast food

I loved fast food, and now I very rarely eat it.  After I started exercising I began to realize that the effort should not go to waste by consuming 3000 calories every night in milkshakes and French fries.  It was really hard at first.  I have an awful sweet tooth and to this day, I can eat like a locust.  The trick is to eat large portions but in healthy foods that come from the Earth, not an assembly line! Once you break the addiction to unhealthy food your palate changes.  I go for dried fruit instead of candy, and snack on raw almonds and walnuts instead of chips.  There will always be things you will never want to give up (chocolate, anyone? Yes please!), but once a week, in moderate portions, it’s more than okay. Occasional indulgences are part of a healthy approach to a balanced lifestyle. 

3.    Don’t give up

Becoming discouraged is the worst obstacle to keeping weight off.  Hey, you’re going to have bad days, weeks and even months.  Sometimes it’s nearly impossible to maintain weight loss, especially around the holiday season, or if you get benched by an injury.  You have to accept things for what they are, put the day (or month) behind you, and get started again.  Being able to face obstacles and overcome adversity will make you stronger, and more determined when you reach the other side of the hurdle. 

So get out there, get fit, and never give up!

Kaleena Lawless is a personal trainer in Toronto.  She writes fitness articles, and is a guest speaker for running clinics, within the GTA.  Her fitness hosts various articles on fitness, nutrition and motivation. 

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