A year and a half ago, 53-year-old Angie Estes weighed 294 pounds and her doctor said she needed some changes. “He said I would have more health problems in another 10 years. My life expectancy is not that long and I would probably have heart problems,” she said. Estes has her four children and her two grandchildren. “I had to do something. I wouldn’t be able to play on the floor with my grandchildren or even live to see them grow up.”
Estes was already dealing with some health conditions. Since his early thirties he had high blood pressure and it was getting worse. She had her heart problems, acid reflux and sleep apnea.
Additionally, she was conscious of her weight. If I was sitting on a bench or in a church pew, I would take up a lot of room and think that others were being crushed because of me.
A conversation with a doctor motivated her to turn her life around. She had been on a diet since her early 20s, but her weight was gone and she gained it back. This time she’s made her sustainable lifestyle changes and it’s working.She currently weighs 178 pounds and she’s aiming to lose another 15-20 pounds.
her health improved dramatically
Not only has Angie lost weight, but she’s also scored important wins off the scale.
- Her blood pressure is low and her medication is minimal.
- She doesn’t need medication for reflux or stomach problems.
- She no longer needs a CPAP machine to treat her sleep apnea.
- She says she feels “amazing.” She hasn’t been sick or needing to see a doctor because she’s lost a significant amount of weight, except for her regular checkups.
- She no longer needs to see a cardiologist every three to four months.
- Her clothes size has shrunk from 3X to M so she can wear her 16 year old daughter’s clothes.
how she improved what she ate
Estes knew she was eating too much, so she started paying attention to her portions. “I was probably eating 3,500 calories a day. I wasn’t focused on what I was eating,” she says. So I reduced the portion size quite a bit. I ate about half of what I used to eat. ”
Cutting calories made her feel hungry at first, but she learned that incorporating more protein into her diet helped control the pain. “I don’t get hungry between meals now because my body has gotten used to it,” she says.
Consistency is what Estes believes has helped her the most. I knew I had to learn how to eat in proportions that worked,” she says.
She still eats a lot of her favorite foods. “If I want something, I know I can fill myself with five or six other things, but I still want what I crave. I just eat it.”
Estes also recognizes that one snack or meal that isn’t a “healthy” choice shouldn’t derail her entire meal plan. “Before, if I tried to eat something I shouldn’t have, I would just give up,” she says. “I know that eating this much won’t make up for everything I’ve lost.”
She replaced some of the foods she and her family commonly eat with healthier alternatives.
- cauliflower rice instead of white rice
- Zucchini noodles or whole wheat noodles instead of pasta
- Low-carb or low-calorie bread instead of white bread
- spray butter instead of stick butter
Estes also drinks water with her meals because she’s found it helps her feel fuller.
After losing about 70 pounds, Estes leveled off, and her doctor suggested she try Weight Watchers. “I’ve done Weight Watchers many times in the past but didn’t keep doing it, but this year I did it and started seeing the pounds drop again.” I use my Apple Watch and apps to track my food, water, walking, and other activities.
Here’s how she added movement to her routine
At first, Estes could only walk for 10 to 15 minutes. However, he found that walking for 10 to 15 minutes was better for him than doing nothing. After she got home from her job as an adult GED teacher, she started walking in the late afternoon in her North Texas neighborhood. She often walks and talks to her mom and dad on the phone, so time flies by.
Estes slowly increased her walking time, and once she could walk a mile, she began trying to walk faster to get her heart rate up. At first she was walking a mile in her 21 minutes. Now she can cover that distance in less than her 16 minutes. She also increased her distance to her 3 miles and signed up for 5k. She got a treadmill so she could walk indoors in bad weather. In addition to walking, she likes to take a total of over 10,000 steps throughout the day.
How to connect with support
Estes credits her success to the encouragement she got from her family, church family, colleagues, and people on Facebook. “There’s never a day that goes by without someone saying, ‘Wow, you look great,'” she says.
She joined the Start TODAY Facebook group after seeing it mentioned on the TODAY show and loves the support she gets from there. When she posted about her success there, over 3,000 people liked her post and over 900 people commented. Many have asked her to continue sharing her progress, and she tries to encourage others within her group because she knows it makes a difference.
accept weight loss
Estes is thrilled with her improved health and energy levels. However, she still faces physical and emotional struggles. She’s self-conscious about her now-flabby skin and will probably get rid of it eventually, and she says her own brain hasn’t kept up with her weight.
She regrets that her children were overweight when they were young, but she is happy to be healthy for her grandchildren. They can sit on my lap. I didn’t wrap up for my own kids because I had a big stomach, but when I’m holding my grandkids, I don’t have that problem. That’s exciting for me. ”