Deedra Kerby, 47, Melbourne, FL, Artist
How much weight have you lost? 100 Pounds.
Tell us what the “old you” used to be like: I was always a happy fat person. I was not a dieter. I actually tried to have weight loss surgery and was disqualified because I had no history of dieting. I am tall 5’9, and for a lot of years I carried my weight well. The 10-15 pounds I would gain each year eventually caught up with me. I was 300 pounds at my heaviest. When I turned 38, I started having issues from my weight. Then the real struggle started for me and I have spent the last nine years battling this problem.
What prompted your weight loss? I have three key reasons that it stuck this time. I had a friend that started losing weight and she was encouraging me to get started. I got a Fitbit for Christmas. My past success, although very brief, was enough to make me want to be thin again.
How did you lose the weight? Eating healthy, exercise, and emotional support. I started walking 10K steps a day with my Fitbit. I signed up for a marathon that gave me a long term goal. After the marathon, I hired a weight trainer. I spent time reprogramming my brain by reading books on food. I had to start from the bottom when it came to understanding nutrition. I created a Facebook group called OWLS where I shared my soul. I treated my weight loss like a job.
How long did it take? 12 months of hard work. I feel like I have spent nine years in the battle though. It all finally came together for me. I have had 12 great months and I went from 300 to 199 pounds. I had two other weight loss tries and hopefully this time it sticks.
What was the hardest part? The hardest part for me is getting over the food addiction. I still struggle with cravings. I so want to be finished with the poor eating, but I just don’t see it ever happening. I have way more good days than bad days now. I have accepted that my brain will never forget some tastes and there are times I have to give into them. The hard part of the cycle is never giving up. I have three rules for cheat days now.
Sticking to those rules and getting right back on course hopefully will keep me from going completely off the deep end. My three rules are: Doing it with my husband (never alone). Only buy enough for that day. All leftovers go in the trash.
Most fun part of your weight loss? The people in my life are the most rewarding. Losing weight forced me to get outside and I met many of my neighbors. My neighborhood has been phenomenal. I never in my life expected to have so much support. One neighbor actually came and coached me during my marathon. I would go through this all again just so I could experience the love and outreach.
Most rewarding experience? Doing this with my husband. Losing weight has grown and strengthened my marriage. We have been married 26 years and my husband tells me it’s like having a new wife. He praises me constantly. He is my reward. The praise I get from him is incredibly satisfying. It feels soooo good.
Who/what inspires you when you feel like quitting? All the goals I set for myself. I am training for a Tough Mudder now. I don’t ever want to live my healthy life without goals. The goals are key to my success. I really like my trainer too. It’s taking this journey to a whole new place for me. I am inspired by his mind and his belief system. All I wanted for so long was to be thin. Now I am starting to see that being strong feels better than thin. I feel very inspired by this and I can’t wait to see how this year goes.
How has this weight loss changed your life? Everything has changed. Top to bottom nothing is the same. Weight loss is freedom. I am not embarrassed any more when I go places. The way I feel inside and outside is totally different. The confidence I have is priceless. I love the strength I have. I can do anything. Cutting my toenails, squatting down on the floor to play with my grand-kids, how fast I can move from point A to point B. EVERY space in my life is different. I love it.
Have any advice for others who’d like to lose weight? My advice is try to be an expert in all things weight loss. Take the best of the low carb people and add that to your life, the best of the vegan people, the best of the paleo people etc. I tried to box myself into a type of person. Now I feel like no one group has the answers and you can take something from everyone and have balance.
Your must-have fitness equipment. Without question a FITBIT. Everyone in the world, kid, adult, all people should have one. I feel that strongly about it. If you can afford it, hire a coach or trainer. I didn’t for a long time. I wish I had done so sooner. A good trainer will coach you and guide your path. It makes my job so much easier. I stopped losing weight in October. Even with marathon training I didn’t lose any weight. When I finally hired a trainer, he added 700 calories a day to my diet. He took my ridiculous long workouts down to one hour a day. I started losing weight again and I am so happy.
Favorite healthy food: Watermelon. I consider myself a Cheagan (cheating vegan). I love all fruits and vegetables.
Favorite not-so-healthy food: Bacon. It has a hold on me.
Funniest /weirdest/most awkward experience during your weight loss journey. I am 47 and I have a 47 year old bladder. Training for the marathon would sometimes strand me out in the middle of nowhere without a bathroom in sight. I asked a few runners what do you do when you have to go to the bathroom. Time after time people would say, I just go (woods, pee down their legs, pee in depends). That has been the most awkward for me. Learning to pee while running, standing up, in a depends under garment. Once I did though, it really freed me up to run anywhere.
Future goals: To complete the Tough Mudder in November.