FFFC: Please introduce yourself to our readers (i.e. your name, occupation, hobbies, etc.).
RB: My name is Risa Bledsoe. I am a stay at home mom to three kids, ages 7 (daughter), 20 months (son), and 6 months (son). I am studying for my Masters degree in Clinical Counseling. I also write a blog about my life as a Christian wife and mother called Counting My Blessings (http://countmyblessings1.blogspot.com).
FFFC: What sparked your weight-loss transformation journey?
RB: My weight has been like a yo-yo over the years. Instead of gaining the freshman 15 when I went to college, I lost about 25 pounds. Over the years, I gained it back and then some. After I had my first child, I had to have my gall bladder removed. That started more weight gain. I will admit I kept making excuses. I think the thing that really made me want to lose weight was when my feet started hurting so bad that I couldn’t stand up in church during worship, I couldn’t chase my kids around or even stand in line for something for more than 10 or 15 minutes. I got winded going up a few flights of stairs when I was pregnant. That’s when I knew that I needed to get healthier for myself and for my kids.
FFFC: What was your beginning and current weight or measurements?
RB: The highest weight I hit was about 225 pounds. I am 5’3”. The 225 was when I was pregnant with my first son, but I didn’t really gain any weight while I was pregnant with him, so that was all from me not exercising and not really eating right. After he was born, I got all the way down to 185 before I got pregnant with my second son. I gained about 15 pounds with him so I was up to 200 pounds. I am now down to 170 pounds.
FFFC: How long did it take for your weight-loss transformation from beginning to end?
RB: My weight loss journey is not really over yet. I am still trying to get healthier, exercise more, and lose more weight. My husband and I were talking about it and he thinks that it should be more about toning up and losing fat on those problem areas than weight loss at this point. I agree with him!
My weight loss journey really began after my first son was born (in 2012) but was put on hold while I was pregnant with the second son. So I guess you would say it officially began in February of 2014, after my youngest son was 6 weeks old and I had the ok for more aggressive forms of exercise.
FFFC: What physical activities did you participate in during your journey?
RB: So far, I’ve tried to fit workouts into my normal daily life. Most of the weight loss came from walking my daughter to and from school each day. It was about a mile each way, so I walked a total of about 4 miles, 5 days a week, from March until the end of May. I also like to play Just Dance and EA Active on the Nintendo Wii. My family and I go to the zoo sometimes, and that involves a lot of walking as well. I have recently worked in some weight training.
FFFC: How did your eating habits change?
RB: I ate more frequent, healthier meals because I am breastfeeding . I am hungry quite often, but I try to make sure I don’t eat junk food or unhealthy things. I will try to eat fruits, veggies, etc. The most unhealthy snack I eat is probably peanut butter or cheese and crackers.
FFFC: What do you typically eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner?
RB: For breakfast, I usually have a bowl of healthy cereal like Honey Bunches of Oats, Cheerios, or Mini Wheats (I like the kind with fruit in the middle). When it’s cooler outside I will have a bowl of oatmeal.
For lunch, I will eat whatever is available. It’s usually something like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, ramen, or chicken nuggets that my children eat. Not the most healthy choices for lunch, but I’m so busy with the kids sometimes I just have to eat what I can. At least it’s not fast food! I am trying to buy healthier foods for lunches, but I am still learning a lot about what’s healthy and what’s not.
For dinner, I try to make things that are fairly low in fat. I make chicken, pork, ground beef (85% lean or higher), etc. I always have a vegetable of some sort and will usually throw in some kind of grain/carb like rice, bread, or potatoes.
FFFC: What is your favorite fitness activity?
RB: I like to play Just Dance on the Wii. I like to play it with my daughter.
FFFC: What do you do now to maintain your physique?
RB: I have to make sure that I work out at least three times a week for at least thirty minutes. This can be challenging sometimes with a six month old who still wakes up during the night. I am sometimes very tired, but I do it anyway.
FFFC: How did you develop and sustain the willpower to avoid the bad stuff (i.e. junk food, bad drinks, lack of activity, etc.)?
RB: For junk food, I just keep it out of my house. If I do want something like ice cream, cookies, etc. I let myself indulge every once in a while, but I don’t buy a lot of it so it won’t be around the house for me to eat for a long period of time and I share it with the rest of the family so I don’t eat it all!
Lack of activity is a big one for me. My husband was always telling me I needed to exercise more and I really just didn’t want to listen. It was hard to start the habit of exercising and I admit that I sometimes still fail on this one, but I realize that I feel better and look better when I keep up with the exercising. That is what has really kept me going!
FFFC: What advice do you have for someone starting out on their weight-loss journey but unsure of how to begin?
RB: You need to be consistent. It’s tough, but you are your own worst enemy. Only you can be the one to say, “I am going to work out today.” Don’t let anyone else prevent you from doing this. Make time. Work it into your daily life. Walk somewhere you would usually drive. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Every little bit helps!
FFFC: What do you think is the biggest misconception about this journey?
RB: I think the biggest thing for me was that I had to be athletic to enjoy working out. That is not true at all! Find something you like to do and incorporate it into your workout. You don’t have to be an athlete to be in shape!
FFFC: Do you have any fitness idols? Who are they?
RB: I honestly have to say my biggest fitness idol is my husband. He was an amateur boxer for 8 years and then went into professional boxing for a few years as well. He found the time to work out even when he was going through school for his Masters Degree and working a part time job with a baby at home. He still spent time with us and did very well with his school and boxing. Now it’s a little tougher for him because his job demands a lot of his time and we have three kids instead of just one, but he still makes fitness one of his priorities and has worked to get me to see why it’s so important.
FFFC: How can readers learn more about your transformation and journey online (i.e. Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, etc.)?
RB: My blog is http://countmyblessings1.blogspot.com
My facebook page is http://www.facebook.com/countmyblessings1
My twitter is @RisasBlessings