HEALTHY LIVING
04/22/2013 08:23 am ET Updated Jun 21, 2013

I Lost Weight: Crystal English Planned And Prepared Meals And Lost 125 Pounds

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Name: Crystal English
Age: 47
Height: 5'5"
Before Weight: 267 pounds

How I Gained It: I like to say I gained weight when "life happened." When you are young and have children, your life revolves around keeping them safe and happy. If you couple that with the desire to have a career and climb the corporate ladder, you lose more and more of your free time. As the children grow, you have homework, house cleaning, cheerleading practice, football practice, work and errands, and before I knew it, it was 20 years later, and I was drastically overweight.

Breaking Point: I was very close to the age at which my mother died from obesity-related congestive heart failure and stroke after several heart attacks. My mother died at an age I thought I was just beginning to live, from a disease that was preventable. It hit me like a slap in the face. I knew at 46 and 267 pounds, I was in line for the same fate. It was at that moment that I knew I had to do it this time and this time I had to do it right to be successful.

How I Lost It: I gave up all sugar and sugar substitutes and said goodbye to all processed and boxed foods. I started eating egg-white omelets with spinach and mushrooms for breakfast, only lean cuts of chicken and turkey with fruit and vegetables for lunch and dinner, quinoa, almonds, Greek yogurt, sweet potatos, rolled oats and protein shakes. Then I realized to be successful I was going to have to plan for success. I started to plan and prepare my meals on the weekends. I packaged each meal so that I had my own versions of "fast food," and I was prepared when temptation hit!

Then I hit the gym. At first I could only walk the track and I couldn't even make it a mile, but I kept going every day. After I worked my way up to a mile I started running. I would run a lap and walk a lap. All the time I was walking and running, I was watching the other gym goers on the machines until I had learned enough to start using the machines too. From there, I started watching the weight lifters. I would watch their form and the weights they used. I learned how to work on specific body parts by watching the bodybuilders in the gym and one day I wandered into the weight room.

To make a long story short, I never left the weight room. Now, I work out twice a day for a total of three hours a day, six days a week. I have found a new passion and a new confidence in myself that I never knew I had. I feel strong of body, strong of mind and strong of will! My life has changed in so many ways. I'm no longer fearful of walking into a room full of people. For the first time in over two decades, I feel comfortable being in my own skin. This new person that I have become is the one I was always meant to be. I smile more, hold my head up and my shoulders back.

My new goal is to become a competitive bodybuilder in 2013. I think that it's important to continue to challenge yourself and to reach for new heights. Being in control of my body and what I put into my mouth is such an empowering feeling. I am no longer powerless against food. I am armed to handle every situation and every emotion that once drove me to eat.

It took me over two decades to realize there is no magic bullet, no pill, no powder or drink that can replace what just eating every two hours with foods that came from our earth and exercising at least 30 minutes four to five times a week can do. It's a slow process but you do get there! The healthy you will begin to shine, you just have to be patient.

Current Weight: 142 pounds of solid, lean muscle
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