Name: Paula Copeland-Lindo
Occupation: Air Force wife, stay-at-home mom and full-time psychology student at Park University at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.
Height: 5 feet 7
Weight when you started the program: 150 (two years ago)
Health/fitness accomplishments: Originally lost 50 pounds, then two years ago lost another 12 pounds to reach her goal weight. Toned up; dropped her clothing size from a 9/10 to a 4/6.
Background: I’ve always had a slender body and weighed about 130, but after the children came, I went up to 200 pounds with both of my kids, who are now ages 5 and 7. I tried Slim-Fast and it didn’t really work for me. I had to change my habits.
When my husband deployed, I got serious and started working out. I would walk in the morning with their strollers about two miles. I did that for about three months and that’s how I lost most of the baby weight. I hit a plateau and then gained weight, when we moved to California, to weigh 150 pounds.
Two years ago when we got stationed in Tucson, I decided I wanted to lose it again.
What finally got you motivated or led you to make a change? Whenever my husband deploys, I want to impress him when he gets back. It motivates me to make a change. I guess when he’s here we just get comfortable, eat snacks, watch a lot of movies. Recently, I’ve been able to maintain my weight and workouts even when he’s here.
How did you do it? What steps did you take? First, I decided to change the way I was eating. In the morning, I would eat a bowl of cereal instead of eggs and sausage with the kids. At dinner, I’d eat what I made the kids, but I’d eat less. We rarely eat fast food anymore and I don’t drink soda or juice, just water.
Then I looked at my workout routine. To get it started I worked out twice a day, five days a week. I’d do Tae Bo in the morning and then walk or run with my kids in the afternoon. After about a month, I worked out just once a day.
The hardest part was the first week. I had to force myself to get up at 5 a.m. before the kids woke up. I would set my alarm and I didn’t want to get up, but after the first week it was a normal part of my day. It becomes an addiction, I guess. I’d have more energy throughout the day.
What was one of the biggest obstacles in reaching your goal? Chocolate. I love sweets and breads and I knew I had to cut down. I haven’t eliminated it completely or I’ll overindulge by the end of the week. If I eat a little bit every day, like one cookie, I’m fine.
What lessons did you learn in reaching this goal? If I put my mind to it, I can basically do whatever I want. Working out not only changes my body, but it also changes my outlook. When I do work out, it encourages me to do well in school and in all parts of my life, and when I don’t work out I just kind of get into a slump.
How would you encourage someone else to get started/do the same thing? You have to really want it and you have to go for it. It’s not something you just wish for. People get discouraged about where they are but they are not actually making a change. At 200 pounds, I felt horrible. I hated looking in the mirror. I couldn’t stand feeling that way about myself and I really wanted to change. Also, it takes me a while to notice a difference, so I can get discouraged easily. When I first wanted to drop from 150, it took me a month to notice a difference. Be patient.
What bad habits did you have to replace with good habits? Eat less. Right now, I don’t eat to where I’m full. I eat to where I’m satisfied. I don’t make as much food as I used to. I make enough to feed us. I put my portion on my plate and I won’t go back for seconds.
What is your new goal? Toning – mostly my stomach area. I wouldn’t mind losing a couple of more pounds.
PAULA’S SAMPLE DIET
Breakfast: Water at 7:30, followed by a bowl of Great Grains cereal with raisins and dates about 10:30 a.m.
Lunch: A tuna fish or cheese-with-cucumber sandwich on whole wheat bread with no mayonnaise.
Snack: A chocolate chip cookie or a snack-size candy bar.
Dinner: Whatever I make the kids, chicken with rice, etc., and I eat until I’m satisfied. No seconds.
HER SAMPLE WORKOUT
Monday-Friday: Two to 2 1/2 hours in the gym daily from about 8-10:30 a.m.
• Run on the treadmill for 30 minutes, followed by lunges for 15 minutes.
• Weight room to work arms (bicep and tricep curls; three sets of 20 reps); legs (leg press, leg curl and inner thigh machines; three sets of 10 to 12 reps), glutes and abs.
• She doesn’t do heavy weights but she incorporates weight-lifting with aerobics to increase fat-burning.