Who: Sarah Courtney Timleck
Occupation: Occupational therapist
City: Courtice, Ont.
By The Numbers: Total weight loss of 115 pounds.
The Weight Gain: I was always on the heavier side, but remained active and healthy. In 2003, when I went away to university, the weight gain had started. I tried Weight Watchers a few times, but it was difficult to maintain while living the university life.
Final Straw: On New Year’s Eve, just before ringing in 2011, I promised myself the year would be different. I promised I would not let another year go by without making a change and taking steps to get my life back. Previously, I would set a weight loss goal only to be even heavier the next year. My weight was just too overwhelming as I was not far from the 300 pound mark.
But this time was different. This time I was going to do it no matter what. I felt unstoppable. I was so tired of being trapped inside my own body and not letting the real me shine.
Accepting the reality that I was almost 300 pounds, wearing size 24 jeans, at a high risk for heart disease and well on my way to diabetes at only 26 years old was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life.
The Plan of Attack: Life before my weight loss journey was great. I was the bubbly and fun Sarah that always lit up the room. I was the “life of the party” kind of a girl, always making people laugh, and very social. One day I stopped ignoring reality. I finally realized that morbidly obese girl in the mirror was me. I accepted the harsh reality of my situation — my 290 pound situation — and I realized I was responsible for it. Until I accepted it, I could not do anything about it. I am just like everyone else, and like everyone else, I didn't want to be that way anymore.
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The Exercise Factor: In January 2011 I signed up at GoodLife Fitness and connected with a personal trainer. I started working with an incredible trainer, Jody, who I will never forget because she truly got me started on my journey and made me believe I could do it. In April, Jody moved to a new role and was no longer able to train me. She reassured me that Giraldo Fernandez was an incredible trainer and she felt he would be a good match to continue on my journey with me. I started working with Giraldo and he has truly changed my life.
While working with Giraldo my strength and endurance improved drastically and my body continued to change. Giraldo recommended I follow a weight-training program and work out four days a week. I also joined a local running group called Running Maniacs in March 2012, and trained for my first half marathon in May 2013. I ran my second marathon in May 2014. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be able to complete a half marathon! I also joined an Ultimate Frisbee league.
The Food Element: When I started my weight loss journey I joined Weight Watchers. I think Weight Watchers is an amazing program for those looking to get started with losing weight. The group provided excellent support and I remained a member for about a year.
I then decided to continue on my own with the support of my trainer. I have never believed in diets. From day one I knew this was a lifestyle change and dieting was not the answer. I never deprived myself of any foods or cut out any food groups.
I love food, and always will love food. Food is not something to be scared of and I embrace it every day. Now more than ever I enjoy cooking, trying new recipes and exploring new types of foods. The hardest adjustment for me was being able to control cravings and take the time to know when you are full.
The Current Day-to-Day: As I continue on my weight loss journey, I can’t say I have a magic number that I want to get to, but my trainer has always told me, “You’ll know when you get there.” The closer I get, the harder it is to lose, but I know this journey will never be over. This is my life now. This is the lifestyle I have chosen and I will continue to fight every day for my health and to keep my weight off.
There are so many things I am proud of: I am proud of the person I have become and I know that I will never go back. I love living a healthy lifestyle and I look forward to each and every day.
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