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Making the Grade
College student loses 33 lbs.*, loves her new life
What do you do when you’re the girl who is known to have it all…but it isn’t really true? That was me in college. I was outgoing, very active on campus, and visible at Oklahoma State University, and was traveling the nation for leadership conferences. You would think someone with that much ambition and drive would be confident, right? Not the case. Through all the awards, titles and scholarships I won, I was still left with feelings of inadequacy.

I always thought, “What’s lacking in my life that isn’t there right now?” And it was self-confidence—not in my ability, but in my appearance. Deep down, when it came to my personal life, it was my self-esteem that was always an issue; I’d always been a heavy-set person, but most of my added weight gain was stress-related during college. It didn’t help that when I’d go out with my friends, they were so tiny—and then there was me. I always thought I was the “fat friend.” I just hid behind humor.

Best of times…worst of times

Since my self-esteem was very low because of my weight, I picked on myself a lot in pictures. I’d ask my friends, “Don’t tag me in that. That picture looks horrible,” or “Please don’t put that on there.” Still, I wondered how I got so overweight. I actually saw pictures and thought, “Wow, my mirror is very deceiving because I look good at home.”

It just continued to get worse; I started gaining weight more rapidly (as in two or three pounds a week); and I thought, What is happening? I decided it was time for a real change. I took an internship during the last semester of my senior year of college, resulting in me having to move away from everything I knew. This was when I realized: if I can reach all my academic goals, why not make weight loss a goal, too? Then maybe, just maybe, I would gain the self-esteem I’d been lacking. I knew that these were the “best years” of my life, the ones that everyone tells you about, and I was wasting them being fat.

I had tried other diets before, but they just didn’t work with my lifestyle—I am a very on-the-go, active person. I needed to have options and not be worried about counting or measuring. I needed something that was very user-friendly for me, and that’s what Nutrisystem was. So at age 22 and 174 lbs., I signed up for Nutrisystem and bought a gym membership.

Great food, on the go

When I got my food I was really excited because I love frozen dinners. And when I tried some I said to myself, “This is really good. I can handle this.” And that wasn’t just the frozen food, either: the pantry food was really good, too. I love blueberries, so I absolutely adore the Nutrisystem blueberry muffins. I also really enjoy knowing that I can eat pasta, so any of the Nutrisystem® pasta lunch options made me feel like I’m not being deprived of anything. And with all the protein and nutrients in the food, it definitely provided for a stable feeling of fullness throughout the day. It’s very handy to switch up your menu, too, so that eating is not monotonous.

And speaking of handy: you’ve got something you can put in your purse, you can put it in your backpack, you can take it to work with you, or if you’re planning a trip, you don’t have to take measuring cups or anything. You take your food and you go!

The rewards of a good education

I would definitely say the most important thing I learned is portion control—this program has taught me that a clean plate is not always necessarily a happy plate Before, I would eat healthy things but in large place settings—like two plates of something. But a true portion size is a lot smaller than what I had previously been eating (and it’s actually a lot of food once you start looking at it). Now I know what portions are and what’s acceptable for good health.
I’m able to do many more activities now. I enjoy being outdoors, walking and running. I had never been able to run well because my thighs would rub together; I always wanted to be that girl who stood somewhere and her thighs didn’t touch. So being able to run 11 miles a day and do a 5K are things that I never thought were possible, and now I can. And it just kind of blows my mind.

Going shopping is definitely a lot different as well. When I was heavier and shopped, I didn’t think anything looked good, but now I can pick up something and know it’s going to fit. Previously, I had to go in the fitting room and try it on; and by “try on,” I mean fit myself into it so that buttons weren’t popping off at some point. Now I can grab something off the rack, it’s my size (and it’s a low size), and it looks good. It’s an awesome feeling!

Remarkable reactions

I have recommended Nutrisystem to quite a few people because I’m constantly getting text messages or messages on social networking sites asking, “How, how did you do this? You look great” It’s constantly just “You look great. You look amazing. You look gorgeous.” They’re words that I never thought I would hear. I didn’t believe that I’d ever be considered “gorgeous.” And so when someone tells you that, it just hits you deep. In fact, looking at myself now, it’s still hard to believe it. And so it takes me a while when I look at myself and think, okay, I’m not going to be the fattest girl there. I’m not going to be that girl.
 
My self-esteem continues to get little boosts, too, such as buying a size 4 instead of a size 12* and people commenting to me at the gym. One of the best lines I’ve heard, though, was when I went back for my college graduation and someone said “Where’s the rest of you?” And I thought, I’m right here. I’m the same person, but completely different. Little things like that are what continuously make me smile.

I am now 23—and 33 lbs. lighter.* I feel really proud of myself for sticking to a goal and making it happen, and just achieving something that I obviously had been lacking for a long time. I’m living a much healthier life now—I am in love with my new lifestyle and could not ask for more!

—Shannon


*Results not typical. On Nutrisystem, you can expect to lose at least 1-2 lbs. per week. Individuals are remunerated. Weight lost on a prior Nutrisystem® program.