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Winning at losing: How four nurses beat the battle of the bulge

Stress plus long hours usually equals unhealthy food choices and nearly nonexistent exercise. That, in turn, equates to putting on pound after unwanted pound. But as these four RNs have clearly proven in the Fall 2010 issue of Scrubs, beating the battle of the bulge is entirely doable.

Setting a Healthy Example

By the time Erin Smith, 27, had a beautiful baby daughter, she also had 40 extra pounds. She knew she should do something about her weight, but between throwing herself into motherhood and managing a full load of nursing school courses, she just couldn’t make it a priority. When she became pregnant with another daughter, taking care of herself literally fell to the bottom of her to-do list. It wasn’t until she was looking through family photos that she realized just how big she had become. “I barely recognized myself,” she remembers of herself at 232 pounds. “I knew I couldn’t put myself on the back burner anymore.”

Since Smith had never dieted before, she needed a plan. That’s where LA Weight Loss came in, helping her revamp her eating habits while keeping things easy and familiar. Instead of relying on frozen meals or takeout, she began making weekly trips to her local market to stock up on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. On her days off, Smith flipped through cookbooks and found healthier recipes for her family’s favorite foods, such as turkey chili, sweet-and-sour chicken and meatloaf. She kept a food journal to document everything she ate and checked in with her weight-loss counselor on a weekly basis to ensure she was on the right track. “When I started eating the right things, I never felt like I was dieting—I was full and didn’t feel deprived.”

Smith toted healthy meals to Rapid City Regional Hospital in South Dakota, where she’s a staff nurse and usually works the night shift. She learned about moderation and the importance of regular eating. “I brought a stash of fresh apples and oranges, plus protein bars, so I ate something every two to three hours,” she says.

By her third week, Smith was amazed to find out she had already shed 10 pounds. A few months later, a friend encouraged her to start exercising. She signed up at Curves because they offered half-hour classes that were easy to sneak into her schedule. “It was near my daughters’ school, so I left home half an hour before I had to pick them up. With exercise built into my day, there was no way to skip it.”

Six months and 50 pounds later, Smith happily had to buy a new wardrobe. “Once I got smaller scrubs, people really started noticing. They were stunned when I told them I just started eating more healthfully and exercising.”

Now Smith is a fit and healthy 165 pounds and feels great. “I used to be wiped out at the end of my night shift. No more—I feel good, regardless of how brutal it is.” At home, Smith is a positive role model for her daughters, now ages three and eight. “They see their mom eat healthy foods, so they do the same,” she says. “And my husband loves the new me—he calls me his model wife.”

ERIN SMITH STATS

Pounds Lost

65

Has Kept Weight Off

Nine months

The Workout that Worked

Smith always has a backup plan for days when it’s too cold—or she’s too busy—to get outside. She works out with Wii Fit, and her daughters often join in, making it a family affair.

• Wii Fit (combination of cardio and weights): 20 to 30 minutes, 3 times a week

• Brisk walking with dogs: 30 minutes daily

• Hiking: 30 minutes, once a week

Snack Tact

Light key lime yogurt with ground-up almonds

Smart Moves

Keep temptations out of the house until you feel you can avoid them. Out of sight is out of mind.

Remember…

You will hit plateaus and there will be weeks when the number on the scale won’t budge. Stay relaxed and don’t get discouraged. The weight will come off.

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Tajinder Rehal

Tajinder Rehal is a freelance writer in northern California.
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