Got a success story of your own? Send it to us at email@example.com and you could be featured in our I Lost Weight series!
Name: Nikki Hauck
Before Weight: 251 pounds
How I Gained It: I've never been petite, but before getting pregnant for the first time in my mid-20s, I was always a reasonable size for my height. Then I had three children in three-and-a-half years! I dropped most of the baby weight after my first two children, but after my third, the weight not only didn't come off, I continued to get bigger. Three young children at home, a sedentary work life from my home office and a lack of athleticism after high school all contributed to a bad direction in my late-20s where my weight was concerned.
Breaking Point: I stepped on a scale and the needle topped out at over 250 pounds! I was shocked. How had I let this happen?
How I Lost It: I cried at my first ever fitness class. The instructor said, "It's a nice day, let's go outside," and I burst into tears; I was so embarrassed to be the "fat lady" who was exercising. The instructor rallied behind me and made me realize that I had already done the hardest thing by showing up. She ended up being my trainer for the past few years and has seen me through this weight-loss journey. I do "check-ups" with her like I would with a doctor. I don't see her all the time, but when I am in a slump and in need of motivation I go and see her. She taught me the correct ways of exercising and taught me to find my self-motivation. I would not be where I am without her knowledge and support on that very first day.
She also taught me the importance of eating healthy. I never even thought of protein before, and now I eat so much of it and healthy fats. I am that person with the three-wide jogging stroller running around a lake. The stroller alone provides an arm workout! I live in Minnesota, where we are inside for a significant amount of the year, so I work harder in the summer to lose weight than in the winters, where I am realistic and try to lose slower.
Any mom will tell you that between kids' activities, work, errands and so on, scheduling time to exercise can be very hard. So I got creative. I will do squats when I curl my hair and lunges during TV commercials. I do abs while waiting for the school bus to come and will walk on the treadmill in the morning while I drink my cup of coffee (any extra steps help!).
I started running, and I learned the right running form. I started setting small goals and letting myself feel good when I accomplished them. Some days it was just lacing up my shoes and going for that run even if it was just a mile. As the weight started to come off, it was easy to get complacent -- and plateaus are real and happened more quickly than I'd thought. I needed help to stay on track. Knowing when to ask for help, and setting realistic but inspiring goals all served to keep me going over the past 18 months.
Current Weight: 162 pounds, with a goal of 145 pounds
The Huffington Post publishes photographs as they are submitted to us by our readers.
Check out more of our inspiring weight loss stories below:
As told to Sarah Klein