Dani Holmes-Kirk battled weight issues for most of her life. Despite spending hours in the gym, her unhealthy eating habits—including pig-out sessions after exercising--kept piling on the pounds. “I had one component down, but not the other,” Dani says. Her weight peaked at 217.
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The Turning Point
In 2009, Dani saw a photo of herself from Halloween and was so unhappy with what she saw that she walked into her first Weight Watchers meeting two days later. (Search: Find a Weight Watchers meeting near you) “I finally got to a point where I was done,” she remembers. “It was time to make a healthy change.”
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Weight Watchers gave Dani the support she needed to sustain a healthy lifestyle. “In every meeting there were so many people who understood what I was going through, and so many good ideas,” she says. “I couldn’t do a diet overhaul, so I picked up little tricks and tips.” Dani started incorporating more fruits and vegetables into her diet and learned to eat in moderation. “I still like tater tots, but now I don’t eat them every day,” she says. Over time these habits became second nature. “The other day I was sitting in my car eating cantaloupe and I thought ‘who am I?’” she says. “I used to be the person eating French fries in my car.”
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Dani also revamped her workout routine—but unlike many people trying to drop pounds, she hit the gym less, not more. “Weight Watchers taught me that I could cut that time back, and eat better food.” Expanding her exercise regimen beyond the elliptical and Stairmaster also helped her reach her goals. “I used to do the cardio machines a lot, but once I became more comfortable with who I was, I was willing to get out of my comfort zone.” Dani fell in love with Spinning, and experiments with hip-hop dance, Zumba, barre, and BodyPump classes. She also began running, starting with a half mile. Dani’s come a long way: She recently finished her second marathon, and will run the Boston Marathon for charity in 2013.
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Social media has played a crucial role in keeping Dani on track. In December 2010, a back injury took her out of commission for several months. To cope, she started blogging about her weight loss at weightoffmyshoulders.com during the following May. “It’s a way to get thoughts out, and it’s crazy to think that people want to read what I have to say,” she says. Sharing her successes and setbacks with readers introduced her to a whole new support system. “I owe so much to Twitter, Facebook, and my blog,” she says. “Now I call the people I’ve met online my friends.” (You can also find Dani on YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr)
Dani also became a Weight Watchers leader. “Seeing new people take this journey is so awesome,” she says. “Those people keep me going. I want to show them that if I can do it anyone can do it.”
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Dani has shaved more than 15 minutes from her 5-K personal record. In 2005 she finished her first 5-K in 38:21; more recently she ran a 22:20. “I’ve learned that I’m stronger than I thought I was,” she says. “There are so many things I thought I couldn’t do, but I learned if you have desire, motivation, and dedication, you can do anything you want.”
Find a friend who will hold you accountable. “Find someone you can confide in, someone you can share challenges with, and someone who will help you celebrate,” she says.
Stick with it. “There are times when you’ll want to throw in the towel, but just think of how far you’ve come,” she says. “Know that if you stick with it and create healthy lifestyle changes the weight loss will follow.”
Get social. “Reach out on social media,” she says. “It’s a scary thing to put yourself out there on Twitter, Facebook, or a blog, but you’ll find that so many people are going through same journey that it pays dividends to have that kind of outlet.”
Weight Loss Before and After: Dani Holmes-Kirk
Social Media Helped her Get Fit
Image: Courtesy of Dani Holmes-Kirk