WHO: Tammy Ducharme, project assistant
CITY: Winnipeg, Man.
By The Numbers: 369 at my heaviest, and currently 233. Height: 5'9"
The Weight Gain: As far as I can remember, I've always been bigger, even as a kid. I was active and had a lot of energy and liked to be on the go, but I've always had extra weight.
The Final Straw: In March of 2009, I was asked to be a bridesmaid. I decided I wanted to lose as much weight as I could before the wedding in October. When I started, I weighed 369 (pounds) — I will never forget that number. Fortunately for the nutrition aspect, I was able to get help from someone at the gym. She gave me tips and was extremely supportive. I don’t recall how much I weighed at the wedding, but I do remember weighing 318 pounds at the end of November that year. After that I still worked out, kept eating better, but fell off track. I was like a seesaw. I could never get exercising and eating healthier at the same time and sometimes I would just fall off both.
In March 2012, my co-worker and I researched the 17 Day Diet. It took us almost a full month to finally get the motivation to try it. I was hesitant because I hated diets and hated the thought of diets. The weekend before I started it, I had started chatting to a new friend. I was asked if I liked being bigger. My reply was along the lines of "yeah, I've learned to deal with it." Then I realized this wasn't the question. "Do I LIKE it?" I sat for a few minutes and actually thought about it — the light bulb had finally clicked. "No, I don’t like it, I hate it." I finally realized it’s not who I am, not who I want to be, and I’m strong enough to change it.
Story Continues Below Check out more of our inspiring weight loss stories:
The Plan Of Attack: On April 17, 2012, I weighed in at 346 pounds. When you start the 17 Day Diet, it starts by purging your body of sugar. We ate salad and chicken, went to the gym, but I started doing my own thing. It started working: I lost 10 pounds the first week, seven the second and I decided rather than 17 days, I was going to keep going. I did keep going until I started losing 0.8 of a pound per week, I knew I had to get help.
I went to a personal trainer who specialized in contest preparation. He gave me an exercise plan and diet plan and I went home and did it. I lasted just over a week before I was injured. After a week I decided to try find another trainer. This time I sent an email out to eight or nine different trainers in my area. I got a reply from Jordan Cieciwa of One Fit City in Winnipeg, Man. We exchanged a few emails, and I was excited. I could tell I had found someone who was genuine and was not doing it for the paycheque.
As of March 20, I am down 113 lbs in 11 months. My one year anniversary is April 16, and I’m still going strong but have more to go.
The Food Element: I eat a lot of salads, vegetables, and proteins like chicken and lean beef. I also started eating Greek yogurt and egg whites. I stay away from sugar (unless it’s the odd cheat) and processed foods.
The Exercise Factor: Currently I do circuits three days a week. I also try to get in additional workouts on evenings and weekends when I can. Some weeks I can push out six to eight workouts, while busier weeks are four or five — always above three.
The Current Day-To-Day: I feel a lot better, physically, mentally and all around completely different. I feel more alive, more energetic, and I just feel like I’m becoming the me I knew I was all along.
I know how difficult it is to try make this change, to look in the mirror and not like who you see. It’s scary and you get a sense of anxiety to try something new, especially something where people will have to watch you. The biggest obstacle, however, is yourself. In my mind I didn't like myself, so I always felt like I was being judged. But in reality, it was me and my mind that did that. Start with baby steps, and start making the changes in your life for a healthier you. I know what it’s like to be in that situation, and now I’m learning what it’s like to change it.
Have a success story of your own? Send it to us at CanadaLiving@huffingtonpost.com and you could be featured on the site.