Today we share with you Sherry Briggs’ inspirational story. In 2014, the Ohio mom was diagnosed with breast cancer with no significant family history; her only risk factor was being overweight – weighing 228 pounds at the time. After undergoing cancer surgery, weeks of radiation treatment, and numerous doctor visits; she began to feel as if she lost control of her life and her health. She soon realized there was one thing she could control – what she ate.
In 2015, Sherry found weight-loss app Lose It! and gained back control of her health. Since using the app, Sherry has lost 80 pounds, dropping from a size 20 to a size 8, and health issues such as heartburn and acid reflux have disappeared. Sherry accomplished this by tracking what she ate with Lose It! and increasing her physical activity. She started out by just walking, walking a half marathon last April which she will be running this coming April, and then started doing outdoor activities with her family such as cycling and hiking.wanted to share Sherry Briggs’ inspirational story.
To know more about her inspirational story, Women Fitness joined Sherry over a Candid Chat!
1. What was the exact time when you realized that you needed to lose weight?
In late 2014 I had a routine check-up and mammogram in order to receive a wellness reward from our health insurance. I was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma (breast cancer) at 46 years old. On December 23, 2014 when I had my cancer surgery I weighed 228 pounds. I had no significant family history. My only risk factor was being overweight. With lots of doctor visits, six and a half weeks of radiation treatments, and medication for the next 10 years I really struggled with the overwhelming feeling that I had lost control over my own life. Between facing the scale at every doctor appointment and feeling like an outsider in the decision-making process involving my cancer treatments, I knew that I was ready to get committed to becoming healthy. I was still undergoing radiation treatments in March of 2015 when I came across the Lose It! app and decided to give it a try. I had never tried actually recording everything that I ate, but I knew right away that it was going to be a great tool. Two years later I still log everything every day.
2. How has your weight loss journey been? What were the milestones that you had to overcome?
My weight was definitely something that I was always aware of. I would avoid doctor visits-getting on that scale was terrifying! I hated dressing rooms and those mirrors. I stayed away from cameras – occasions where photos were being taken were always quite uncomfortable. There were no photos of myself that I actually liked. I had no idea what the exact number was for my weight, but I did know it was much higher than it should have been.
This journey has been full of ups and downs. I tend to struggle with emotional eating, which continues to be something that I must be very aware of. Cancer treatments have caused an early onset of menopause that comes with its own set of challenges. I was unsure how much success I would achieve under these circumstances.
3. What was your fitness regime like during this period?
I started out slowly – by just walking at home on my treadmill a few times a week. That progressed into walking in our local park with my family on a regular basis. In September of 2015 we walked our first 5k and I was hooked. In April of 2016, I walked a half marathon. Shortly after that I transitioned to running. I will be running a half marathon this April.
Last summer we purchased bikes and started cycling as a family too. We have biked over 400 miles since then! We also love to hike and are preparing for a trip to the Smoky Mountains in a few weeks. This past December, we joined our local YMCA in order to add some additional strength training and cardio during the winter months when we can’t get outdoors. Our outdoor exercise has the added benefit of being some really great family time too!
4. In a typical day, what was your diet like?
I still eat good stuff – just less frequently and in smaller quantities. I didn’t want to end up feeling deprived of everything good – that always results in binge eating for me. So I try to make reasonable choices from all food groups and really watch my portion sizes. This has even worked for me on holidays and vacations. I have never had success with any of the trendy or fad diets and I knew that I would only be successful if I didn’t consider this to be an actual diet. I just try to focus on making good food choices driven by my calorie budget and goals. I do have a few guidelines that have worked to keep me on track such as not drinking my calories – that is much less satisfying to me. I never eat in my car or when I am distracted. I try to focus on eating slowly and enjoying my food and tracking everything I eat with Lose It!
5. Who/What do you consider the greatest motivation behind your healthy weight loss journey?
My husband has been doing this with me and has lost 50 pounds. My kids have been very supportive and encouraging as well. My sons are grown up and live on their own, but this has been quite a huge adjustment for my twelve-year-old daughter. She doesn’t always enjoy all the outdoor family activities, but we have definitely become closer as a family and made lots of great memories.
Another obvious motivation is the desire to reduce or eliminate the possibility of my cancer returning. I would also like to minimize the risk of developing other conditions that are prevalent in my family like diabetes and high blood pressure. I am working toward the goal of being in better shape at 50 years old (on my next birthday) than I have ever been!
6. How do you plan to maintain your healthy weight & body?
I sit for 40 hours per week at a desk job, so in order to maintain a healthy weight I know I must exercise. I am finding that I really enjoy exercise and it has helped to minimize some of the menopause symptoms that I have experienced. It is also a great outlet for stress which keeps the emotional eating in check too. I still have bad days every now and then, but I try not to let the bad days take control. I seem to do best when I can work towards a goal. Now that I have pretty much reached my weight goal I am trying to focus on other things that can be achieved like improving my 5k time, drinking more water, and eating more vegetables and less red meat.