Saturday, September 13, 2008

Sheri Harkness Lost 127 Pounds!

Sheri Harkness Before and AfterAnd this 39 year old administrative assistant from Stroudsburg, PA did it in only 18 months!

Sheri started out weighing 282 pounds but after changing her diet and exercising 4 to 6 days per week, she lost 127 pounds and now weighs a svelte 155 pounds!

I think she deserves a hearty round of applause, don't you? She looks great.

“I grew up with the ‘eat everything on your plate or there will be no dessert’ mentality.” Most things seemed to revolve around food in Sheri's home, and it was regarded as a constant source of joy and excitement.

“We would begin weekends with an enormous breakfast that consisted of pancakes, homemade home fries, toast or biscuits, bacon and sausage and fried eggs — all generously topped with butter, syrup or catsup,” Sheri said. “For dinner, we would barbeque steaks with French fries while my mom would be making homemade ice cream for dessert.”

Since Sheri was active in sports and other physical activities, her overeating didn’t severely affect her size. Then, at age 16, when her parents divorced, Sheri’s eating spiraled out of control. Confused and emotionally distraught, she sought solace in food: “Food became more comforting than ever,” Sheri said. “It was always there for me when people weren’t.”

Sheri constantly struggled with her appearance and how strangers viewed her. People seemed to be less considerate, at times even rude. Even her own family members lacked sensitivity. “I remember my grandmother making a comment on one occasion. I was sitting cross-legged on the floor and began to get up and she said, ‘Wow, you get up pretty quick for a fat girl!’ I never really considered myself as fat, so it was surprising to hear that.”

When Sheri got married in 1994, she weighed 220 pounds. After giving birth to two boys, her sedentary lifestyle along with her poor eating habits, led to a gradual weight gain over the years.

For Sheri, the most painful aspect of being heavy was feeling like an embarrassment to her kids. She hated thinking her own children were possibly humiliated by their “fat mom.”

In March of 2007, Sheri went to see her doctor for a routine physical. Her doctor told her that not only did she weigh 282 pounds, but her blood pressure was elevated as well. Sheri was told that if she couldn’t get her blood pressure down, she would be put on medication. Sheri was only 38 years old and this news devastated her.

Sheri slowly but surely made the commitment to change – not only for her self-esteem, but also for her family. “It was more of a subtle dimmer switch that gradually brightened with each passing day,” she said.

“I had always believed that putting the needs of my family before my own was my duty as a loving wife and mother. I then realized that unless I took care of myself, there was no way I could be emotionally or physically available for my family. I had to invest in myself first.”

Sheri’s first step was to join the YMCA. “I walked into the cardio suite to see toned, tight, young bodies running on treadmills and Stairmasters,” Sheri recalled. “I knew they were laughing at me with their eyes, but I also knew if I could get through that first day I would not fail.”

With careful guidance from her sister, a fitness trainer, Sheri began walking on a treadmill for 15 minutes at 3.1 miles per hour, three days a week. Although winded and exhausted during the first three months, Sheri did not give up. Gradually, she worked her way up to 3.6 miles per hour for 20 minutes, then started weight training three days a week.

As for her diet, Sheri continued eating what she normally ate but she cut her portions in half and also eliminated soda from her diet.

After the first six months, Sheri began viewing food as fuel and incorporated fruits and vegetables into her diet along with lean meats and fish.

By sticking to a better diet and going to the gym on a regular basis, Sheri lost 127 pounds. Today, at 155 pounds and a size 4/6, she participates in 5K runs and makes time for an hour of cardio and an hour of weight training four to five days a week.

For Sheri, it was a slow and steady race to reach her goal. “My focus was on overall health and well-being and with that the weight loss naturally followed.”

She found that sticking to a daily mantra helped her stay on track. Whenever she felt she ate too much or cheated on her diet, she repeated one line: “I’m okay with that.” That was and continues to be her philosophy to this day. If she neglects her workout or indulges a weakness, she simply accepts the mistake without beating herself up. “I believe that we need to be kind to ourselves,” Sheri said. “We are human after all and will fail from time to time.”

While she still looks forward to eating, it no longer dominates her thoughts. It took months for Sheri to train herself to think differently about her needs and how to handle her emotional dependence on food.

Today, Sheri feels she has finally found the person she was meant to be. Her sense of self-worth has far surpassed her expectations, and she feels confident in achieving any goal she wishes to pursue.

“The bottom line is that it can be done if you make it a priority,” she said. “But I am also forever mindful that one does not travel a journey of this magnitude alone. I have such a wonderful support system in my friends and family, and this is what has helped me get to where I am today. At this point, I feel there is no goal that is out of my reach.”

You can watch the video of Sheri on The Today Show here.

Source: here

Related Articles:

Bianca Oros Dropped 100 Pounds!

April Wood Lost 105 Pounds!




© 2008 Thanks for taking the time to read A Junk-Foodaholic's Journey to a Healthy Lifestyle. Please feel free to peruse my blog for more great content.

My Other Websites: Are Your Vitamins Safe? Whole Food Nation Affiliate Link

9 comments:

Lilly's Life said...

Amazing - she looks fantastic and is a fantastic inspiration.

Anna @ Weight Watchers Recipes said...

It's unbelievable, she looks like a completely different person!

I love reading such stories (and seeing before and after pictures and videos), they're so motivational!

Laura-Junkfoodaholic.com said...

Hi Lilly and Anna! I thought Sheri's story was very inspirational. Doesn't she look fantastic? I didn't think she looked like the same person either. Thanks for stopping by! :)

Rachel said...

What an inspiring story. I really must start to forgive myself when I have a 'naughty' day. Punishing yourself is only going to make you feel worse than you already do.

PaulsHealthBlog.com said...

Hi honey. Another great post! And since you made some changes, your blog is looking good!

I loooove you!

Yer Man

Irish Mom said...

Wow!! that is amazing!! I love inspiring stories like that. She is beautiful!!

Marilyn said...

Inspiring. Surely I could lose a measly twenty pounds.

mrsbear said...

She looks fabulous. It's so encouraging to know that she did it all naturally too. She makes it all seem attainable.

Laura-Junkfoodaholic.com said...

Rachel - I agree. Forgiving yourself is very important (in every area of your life). We are all imperfect and need to be tolerant of our failings. When we fall down, we just have to pick ourselves back up and keep going forward.

Paul - Thanks, dear! :)

Irish Mom - I agree!

Marilyn - I know what you mean! Me too!

Mrs. Bear - I know, she really does look great! I get encouraged reading stories like this. It really is possible!

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