Photo Credit: Paula Thomas
At 311 pounds, Paula Thomas was suffering from debilitating physical pain due to her obesity.
So the 43-year-old mom decided to embark on a weight loss journey by exercising and following the Atkins Diet — a program that provides participants with simple, low-carb recipes — to get fit for her children.
Since starting the meal plan three years ago, Paula has lost an astonishing 115 pounds!
"I feel like a different woman. I had someone show me a picture of me [before] and at first I didn’t recognize myself!" Paula exclusively shared with 'Closer Weekly.'
Read on to find out how Paula successfully lost the weight and turned her life around!
Paula (right) before her 115-pound weight loss. (Photo Credit: Paula Thomas)
- What was your life like before the weight loss?
I was very sad and depressed. I hated my body. I was in a lot of pain; my knees, and back began to be a problem and limited what I could do. I didn’t feel like myself, like I was in another person’s body. I hated that so many people knew and accepted me as big [and] their acceptance just fueled my denial. While in the supermarket one day, I was in so much pain I thought I was going to faint. I was so scared. I knew that day that I had to make a change so I wouldn’t end up disabled by my obesity.
- How did you get started with your weight loss journey?
I searched the Internet for weight loss plans. I knew I had a lot of weight to lose and I wanted something healthy but effective. I chose the Atkins Diet when I learned about the [program's] Quick-Start Kit. [To start], I began preparing my meals ahead of time. I would make chicken breasts and turkey loaf and I tried different Atkins recipes to keep me interested. I finally decided to use my treadmill that had become a glorified clothes hanger. In the beginning I could only walk for five or ten minutes before being in pain, [but] as I continued, I found myself going longer and at higher-intensity intervals.
Paula after her weight loss (Photo Credit: Paula Thomas)
- What were the most difficult aspects of losing the weight?
Surprisingly, the most difficult part was the mental change, not the physical change. I had to change my mind, how I thought about food and most importantly, how I thought about myself. I had to learn to love myself enough to not mistreat my body by overeating and eating the wrong foods. When I needed extra motivation, I remembered my girls and how I never wanted to become a burden for them over a health condition that could be prevented.
- How does it feel now that you've lost the weight?
I feel like a different woman. I never dreamed I’d wear a size 10. I don’t ever remember wearing that size. At my largest I wore size 24 pants. I had someone show me a picture of me [and] at first I didn’t recognize myself! I said, 'Oh she’s pretty and she looks a lot like me!' It wasn’t until I recognized the decor in the background and recognized that it was my living room that I realized it was me! I was like 'OMG, I’m so skinny!'
To submit your own weight loss story, email (firstname.lastname@example.org).