02/03/2012 08:01 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Weight Loss Success: Jaki Sinclair 'Nudged Out' Unhealthy Choices And Lost 125 Pounds

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Name: Jaki Sinclair
Age: 48
Height: 5'5"
Before Weight: 247 pounds

How I Gained It: I've been overweight since I was in grade school. I started my first diet and took my first diet pills around the same time. All my life I ate a lot of fast food, chips, candy, ice cream, soda -- and all in super-sized quantities. My portion sizes were so out of control, I was eating beyond being full. I rarely ate any fruit or veggies or drank any water. I thought I didn't like them. I was having a hard time just walking around the house, and I'd get out breath just getting ready for bed at night. I hurt all of the time from carrying around the extra weight and didn't want to do anything.

I tried many diets and have lost the weight many times, but I was never able to keep it off. I was sabotaging myself (and didn't even realize it) with negative self-talk. I didn't believe in myself. I felt so uncomfortable and even embarrassed giving myself compliments. It was easier to beat myself up and tell myself I was a failure because I was overweight. I didn't have the tools I needed to keep the weight off.

Breaking Point: My husband, who has been my eating partner for the past 20 years, was laid off a few years back. I was terrified for us. We were both right around 250 pounds, and I knew the stress of him being without a job could send us looking for comfort in food and surpassing the 250-pound mark. I told my husband I was going to come up with a plan for us to follow so that we could both get healthier inside and out.

How I Lost It: I took the bits and pieces I thought would work for us from my lifetime of following more diets than you could imagine. I knew deprivation was not the answer, because I didn't want to punish myself or my husband and make us feel worse about ourselves. I wanted to build us up and make us feel good from the inside out. I made a plan of lifestyle changes that I thought we could stick with forever. We followed the plan like it was our own little university and jokingly called it "Slim Down U."

I came up with what I call the "Nudge Out" plan, and it has been awesome for both of us! I am maintaining a 125-pound loss and my husband is maintaining a loss of 50 to 55 pounds! The idea was to "nudge out" the unhealthy choices we were making by eating more healthy foods, including fruits, vegetables, grains and lean meats. I still allow myself to have a cookie, but since I start out with healthy foods, I don't need or want to eat the whole bag anymore, I can stop at one cookie. Now I am sipping water all day long and munching on raw vegetables or fruit instead of candy and chips.

My mom and sister were both so excited at the positive changes they saw in me that they started following my tips, too. My sister has lost 20 pounds, and my 67-year-old mom (whom I am so proud of!) has lost 62 pounds now! It makes my heart smile to see these positive changes in the people I love! I even have a blog now because I feel so strongly about encouraging other people to get healthy!

I get some kind of activity every day. Walking outside is my favorite way to get exercise; I walk almost every day. I also enjoy jumping on my mini-trampoline several times a week, and I'm so excited that I have my first bicycle in almost 30 years. I have been having so much fun taking 30- to 40-minute bike rides with my husband (with our doggie Sassafras in a basket). Life is great!

I took it so slowly, starting by adding in positive thinking, then activity and healthier foods. I take care of myself now and want to be kind to my body and feed it healthy things because I believe I deserve it. I have my life back, and I wake up every morning excited for the day ahead. I hope to help everyone around me start making small positive changes so they can live their lives to the fullest. I want people to know they can get healthy without following fad diets or having surgery.

After Weight: 122 pounds


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