10/23/2013 08:43 am ET Updated Oct 30, 2013

Jaime Coakley Cut Out Processed Foods And Lost 75 Pounds

Jaime Coakley

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Name: Jaime Coakley
Age: 27
Height: 5'7"
Before Weight: 210 pounds

How I Gained It: I always say that I have been dieting for as long as I can remember. Like many people, I am an emotional eater. Ice cream was always my biggest comfort. After a bad day at school, I would make myself a big ice cream sundae to make myself feel better. I was somewhat active in high school, being on the track and golf teams. At home, my mom always made mostly healthy food, but when I went away to college a whole new world of fatty food was opened to me. I drank soda at every meal, ate lots of pizza and drank lots of beer. I got a bar tending job my senior year, and that's when the pounds really started to pack on. I worked all night and slept all day and because of those hours, I never wanted to do anything active. Things didn't get any better when I met my fiancé and moved to another city. We ate out for almost every meal, mostly at fast food restaurants. I had many failed attempts at weight loss. I tried every fad diet under the sun. I had some success, but the weight always came back.

Breaking Point: I hated my body. Whenever I looked in the mirror, I felt like I was wearing a fat suit, that it wasn't really me. I hated being in pictures, so when I was asked to be a bridesmaid in a friend's wedding, I decided to order my dress a size smaller to motivate me to make some changes. Weeks went by, and I had done nothing. I finally got the dress in the mail, and it was way too small. I could barely fit into it. That was really the catalyst. I joined a gym near my office and signed up for a personal trainer in an absolute panic.

How I Lost It: I decided to change my whole mindset about weight loss. I wanted to stop counting calories and depriving myself. I stopped trying to find the quick magic cure and focused on what really works -- good, old-fashioned hard work. I read everything I could get my hands on about healthy weight loss and nutrition. I decided that I would start eating clean, whole foods. I cut out most processed foods and cooked every meal that I ate. Every day at my lunch break from work, I would go to the gym and work out for 40 minutes, then eat my lunch at my desk when I got back. I was seeing my personal trainer twice a week as well.

The more success I had, the more dedicated I became. It is hard work. Preparing and cooking all your own meals is like a second job! But by the time my friend's wedding came around, the dress was a little too big on me!

I didn't stop there. My own wedding was coming up, and I wanted to look back on the pictures and be proud of what I had accomplished. Once my fiancé started to see the changes in me, he was motivated to start eating healthfully and working out, too.

I stopped seeing the personal trainer but joined a boot camp class, and now I really enjoy working out and pushing myself. I always have one cheat meal, on Fridays, where I eat something I have been craving all week. Weight loss really comes down to how bad you want it, how much you are willing to make yourself a priority. I know that this will be with me for my lifetime.

After Weight: 135 pounds
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