08/26/2013 03:54 EDT

Weight Lost: How This Secretary Lost 29 Pounds, And Is Still Going

Liz Minaker

WHO: Liz Minaker

AGE: 34

CITY: Kitchener, Ont.

By The Numbers: 245 pounds at my starting point, and currently 216, total weight loss 29 pounds

The Weight Gain: I was always the “heavy kid” even though I was active in dance and t-ball. I noticed the weight gains as I entered high school and then university – I was for sure a victim of the “freshman 15”. During that time I tried a number of diets like Weight Watchers, but nothing serious.

The Final Straw: I had lost my job and was feeling pretty low. I was sitting watching the Biggest Loser for the first time for fun. While watching the show I had a BIG bowl of ice cream. It hit me that those people were just like me and I needed to step up and do something.

It was fall 2009 and I realized that I truly wasn't happy or healthy and I needed to get on track to make both of these things happen.

Story Continues Below. Check out more of our inspiring weight loss stories:

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The Plan Of Attack: In November 2009, I signed up for the January 2010 session of Booty Camp Fitness. But I immediately started swimming at the local pool and getting out and walking. Once January came around I started Booty Camp twice a week. After two classes I signed up for four more weeks!

I am still in the battle of losing weight and have put some back on. It has become a constant figure in my life but after that first 14 months, I had lost 51 pounds and just over 60 inches and was happier than I ever remember being.

The Food Element: I started adding a variety of fruits and vegetables that I had not tried before. I became more conscience of the cuts of meat and the “leanness” of my beef. I also didn't give anything up, I just enjoyed my favourite “unhealthy” choices far less frequently. They became part of cheat days.

I started a food journal covered in motivational quotes and I still use one. It has become part of my daily routine. I chose not to use the word diet because to me, it seemed negative — I changed my lifestyle.

The Exercise Factor: My first original goal was to lose 100 pounds. But I saw that was going to be unreasonable. So I quickly changed to small 10-pound goals as it kept me in a positive head space.

I attempt to walk on a daily basis. I have not stopped going to Booty Camp, so I still do that twice a week. In the summer months I do swim classes at a local pool.

The Current Day-To-Day: My days seem to be filled with a bit more stress which has lead to gaining back some weight. The difference from four years ago is that I am active so I still feel healthy.

Make a plan and keep to it. When I first started I took pictures every four weeks to remind myself of how great I was doing. This is a great idea I stole from my Boot Camp instructor to keep me focused on my goal. Do what is best for you and make getting healthy a main priority in your life.