Secrets of a Weight Loss Champion

By Chrissie Kaufmann, YMCA of Greater Michiana

For many of us, January is dominated by our weight loss resolutions. We may start off strong by counting calories and working out, but slow progress may discourage us. Programs that promise “Lose 100 pounds in three months!” sound perfect, but are infamous for delivering disappointing results.

Let me introduce you to a local weight loss champion: Angie Marciniak. Angie started her weight loss journey two years ago on January 6, 2020, and since then has lost 116 pounds. I asked her if she would be willing to share how she did it, in her own words. Here are the highlights of our recent interview:

What were the reasons that you started on this journey?
Honestly, I wish there was some big thing that pushed me; it was so many small things that eventually I couldn’t ignore them. My doctor told me that I would have to begin blood pressure medicine, (I have) a hernia that requires surgery that my doctor will not do until my BMI (body mass index) is under control, and the constant aches and pains in my knees and legs.

What have you done in order to lose weight?
I knew it was going to take a real lifestyle change for me to stick with it. I began looking into different programs and I knew that I had to be able to do this with real food. I needed to be able to still cook for my family and share this new lifestyle with them.

I landed on Weight Watchers and this plan assigns a points value to foods and gives the user a number of daily and weekly points. The three things that spoke to me were the “free foods,” the easy-to-use app, and the simple fact that you literally can eat anything if you have the points! There surely are other plans that work, but the bottom line is that you have to have accountability when you are making these big changes.

What benefits other than weight loss have you gained from this process?
The whole first year of this journey I did not exercise at all (other than some walking). I focused primarily on my relationship with food and my eating habits.

The second year I decided to join a gym and start working out. The weight was not coming off (anymore) with diet only, so I decided to up my workout game and try to make myself LIKE it; not LOVE it, just LIKE it. In August of 2021 I hit my first major goal: 100 pounds down.

I made it to the gym more than 200 times in 2021. I converted a spare bedroom into a home gym so I wouldn’t miss workouts over the winter. I feel stronger now, at 48 years old, than I did 20 years ago.

Are there people who have helped you along the way? What are the most helpful things they have done?
My husband started on this journey the same time I did and together we have lost nearly 200 pounds. We work out together whenever we can and he is always game to try a new recipe.

What keeps you going now?
I keep going because now I know it works. In the beginning, I took it one day at a time, sometimes even one meal at a time. Now I know that I am in control of my choices and (that) good choices and hard work equal results. Averaging 1.13 pounds lost per week might not seem like a lot, but to me, it has been everything. I feel better, I look better, and I really do have so much more energy.

What advice would you give to others who feel overwhelmed by the amount of weight they want to lose?
Three pieces of advice:

  • Focus on one thing at a time. Focus on your diet first, then exercise. The easiest exercise you can do is walking. Just walk.
  • Log all your food. Whatever you eat, log it!
  • Be accountable. Share your journey with others. I don’t feel very inspiring, but when I look back at how far I’ve come in the past two years and imagine someone else telling me this story, I would be inspired.

Well, I am definitely inspired and I am so thankful that Angie decided to share her story with us. Let’s turn our inspiration into action! If we need a warm place to walk this winter, we can take advantage of the YMCA’s $0 join fee through the end of January. If we need a greater workout challenge, we can sign up for the YMCA’s February fitness challenge: to complete the equivalent of an Ironman Triathalon.

Thursday, January 13, 2022 - 9:18am