Name: Stacey Beaman
Before Weight: 265 pounds
How I Gained It: I think many factors go into weight gain, but ultimately it came down to feeling hopeless and giving up. I had gone through several difficult events in my life including a divorce and a very difficult job situation. I felt hopeless and sad, and I just stopped caring. I ate my troubles away and went numb. The pounds slowly but surely piled on, as my heart broke more and more.
Breaking Point: There were several moments I knew I needed to lose weight, events that are absolutely humiliating to recall. I'll never forget struggling to fit into a booth at a restaurant. It was devastating. I was constantly saying no to various invitations (especially in the summer) because I didn't want to be seen in a bathing suit, or I didn't feel confident that I could physically handle a hike or going water skiing. However, the final moment came last spring when I had a horrible panic attack in the middle of the night and I could not breathe. I thought I was going to die. I went to my doctor, who said my blood pressure was high. That scared me into taking action. I did not want to go on any kind of medication. I wanted to take control of my health.
How I Lost It: Changing my diet was a huge part of my weight loss. Portion control, eating more often, removing soda and fancy drinks from Starbucks, eating more protein and fewer carbs. I started eating more veggies and fruit and less of foods like chips, tortillas and bread. I started drinking tons of water!
I also found a workout that I fell in love with called PlyoJam. I had tried so many different fitness programs over the years -- bootcamps, treadmills, kickboxing, hot yoga -- and nothing stuck. It was so hard at first. I was embarrassed by my lack of conditioning, I was embarrassed to wear workout clothes, I was embarrassed that I couldn't quite keep up at first. But I kept at it, and I fell in love with it. Last summer I challenged myself to take 40 classes in eight weeks, and I accomplished that goal. Dance fitness has become an integral part of my journey. I think anyone on a weight-loss journey must find a method of fitness that fills their heart with joy.
I say yes to just about everything now. Fear doesn't hold me back. I took a year off from teaching to travel the world, which I don't think I would have done in my old body. I was recently asked to do a short segment on the news for PlyoJam where I was going to have dance on TV. GASP! I'm certainly not at my goal weight yet, but I decided to go for it and celebrate how far I've come. Also, now I can go into stores and shop for clothes -- how fun! I feel more energetic and lighter on my feet. My happiness has soared, the numbness is going away and my broken heart has begun to mend.
Current Weight: 190 pounds. I'd like to lose another 30 pounds, and I know I will, but right now I celebrate every single day how far I've come.
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The Huffington Post publishes photographs as they are submitted to us by our readers. As told to Sarah Klein.
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