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12/17/2013 02:57 EST | Updated 01/25/2014 04:01 EST

Weight Lost: How This Woman Lost Almost 80 Pounds -- At 54

Tina Davis

WHO: Christine (Tina) Davis, retired

AGE: 54

CITY: Bolton, Ont.

By The Numbers: 263 at my heaviest, and currently 185, total weight loss of 78 pounds.

The Weight Gain: I didn't have any weight issues growing up but the weight gain started after the birth of my daughter in 1988. At first, it was easy to manage until my thyroid decided not to work properly, adding 60 pounds to my body in less than six months. From that point on, the battle began in earnest. With the ups and downs that life threw at me, my weight started to keep going up slowly, over many years. This caused many health issues like high cholesterol and severe back issues.

The Final Straw: 2012 was the year that changed everything for me. My husband went through a serious life-saving surgery and I had a hard time nursing him to health. My back pain was so severe that I could hardly stand or walk.

Shortly after his recovery, my mother-in-law passed away suddenly. Just before she passed, my own mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. All of the above started in December of 2011 and ended in my mother's death in June 2012. That's when the switch turned on in my head.

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The Plan Of Attack: I knew I needed help to change. I couldn't do it by myself so I went to my doctor. He told me I had two options: to have serious back surgery or lose weight — I went with option two. My doctor suggested Dr. Poon's Metabolic clinic and at first I was hesitant. I was not sure if I was strong enough to make the changes needed.

The Food Element: Dr. Poon's diet was focused around what I ate. I ate mostly proteins, more than usual. I gave up all sugars, starch and made a major reductions in fats and sodium. I also cut out bread, pasta and potatoes to start.

When I removed too much from my diet, it was difficult. Being aggressive about reading all food labels, cooking regularly, not eating out, having to plan my menus daily — it was all a hard adjustment.

I also didn't focus on calories. What worked for me was a reduction in my carb intake, so I counted the carbs I ate and not the calories. I'd like to call this a diet, but it was really a lifestyle change.

The Exercise Factor: In February of 2013, I joined a gym — I never thought I would be able to do that again. I started very slow, I still needed to watch what I did with my back, but I now work out three to five times a week.

I also got a personal trainer, but I worked slowly until I lost the first 50 pounds. Once that weight was gone, I could move with less pain and more ease. At first my fitness was very poor but I kept at it. Today, I can keep up with my 25-year-old daughter!

These days I do core work, planks, push-ups, squats and cardio on a stationary bike.

The Current Day-To-Day: Today I am happier and healthier and I feel great. Looking back now, I am most proud of my family's reaction to how I look and my energy level. I can walk, I can stand for longer periods of time and I have eliminated one of my cholesterol pills and most of my painkillers. My family is so proud of me and have been my greatest support.

My advice for weight loss is to look for help. Find a doctor or a support group and don't ever ever think you are alone. But most importantly, don't give up. We all have good and bad days and when we have bad ones, we should let them go! Start the next day fresh and get back at it.

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