New year, new you: Two Utahns lose weight, gain confidence
Just about now, you need some inspiration.
The motivation you had at the beginning of January to eat better, exercise, lose some weight has waned or maybe even disappeared.
VaLyn Sorensen and Andrew Clark have been in your shoes and know what you're going through.
They agreed to share their weight-loss success stories and show off their new figures in some trendy clothes from Macy's to inspire you to stay the course.
Who • 32-year-old pharmacy technician from Garland, in Box Elder County
What • Lost more than 100 pounds and five dress sizes
How • Exercising, eating healthy, avoiding refined sugars and joining Smith'sFit, an employee wellness program at Smith's Food & Drug where she works. It is a 16-week program whereÂ teams of co-workers have weekly weigh-ins and compete against other teams for incentive dollars and prizes. VaLyn was on a winning team and won a trip to Los Angeles where she attended the season finale taping of "The Biggest Loser."
Motivation • "My dad died of pancreatic and liver cancer, and before he died I promised him I would get healthy. I also keep a photo on my phone of when I was bigger. That adds extra motivation to get me to the gym."
Life changes • "I always think of the consequences of my food choices. When I ate bad I never felt satisfied, but by eating healthy and exercising it was amazing how much better I felt."
What she gave up • Chips. Now she snacks on raw almonds, fruits and vegetables. And no more late-night eating, nothing after 9 p.m.
Wardrobe challenges • VaLyn does not have much to wear right now. She is still shedding pounds and not yet at her ideal weight so she doesn't want to invest in new clothes that will soon be too big. Finding the proper fit is a challenge. "The most frustrating thing is every style and brand fits different, so I never actually know what will fit."
Looking forward to • "Skinny jeans, I would definitely wear them now. When my arms get more toned I would love to wear tank tops outside of the gym or my house. I always wore things big so I could hide my weight; now I embrace it."
Tip • "Always work out even if you don't feel like it, I promise you will feel better the whole day. Never deprive yourself of something you want, just eat a little then move on."
Philosophy • "Never say you 'lost' weight; if you lose something it may find its way back to you. If you 'shed' pounds, you get rid of them forever. If you fall off the wagon one day, remember it's just one day, get back on and enjoy the ride."
Who • 25-year-old financial lender and University of Utah student from Salt Lake City
What • Lost 40 pounds in three months
How • Participating in the Lean Body Transformation Challenge, sponsored by Bodybuilding.com. It includes weight training five to six times a week, seven small meals per day with whole foods, nutritional supplements and his self-made recovery shakes. Andrew won the body transformation challenge grand prize a cruise for two to Cozumel, Mexico.
Motivation • "Getting to my goals. Feelings of success and work. I plan onÂ winning a bodybuilding competition in 2013." Andrew is also motivated by his girlfriend, Meagan, little brother James and Mr. Olympia Phil Heath.
Life changes • "I enjoy hard work and life a lot more. At first I just wanted to lose weight, but now I love weight lifting. My life has changed for the better in every way."
What he gave up • Dr. Pepper, peanut butter M&M's and cookies. "After three months I ate Oreo cookies with my victory meal, they were the best Oreos I've ever had. Now I have peanut butter M&Ms in a much more sparing fashion."
Wardrobe challenges • "I fluctuate in weight based on my goals, whether I am trying to gain more muscle mass or lose fat. This makes it so I have to change the size of my clothing often. I can range from a medium up to 2XL. I have given up on pants. I just wear a 38 with a belt cinched to however big my waist is."
Looking forward to • "I never wanted to be seen in a swimsuit â¦ ever. Now on my cruise, I will wear one for sure!"
Tip • "Eat seven times a day. Don't follow the three-meal standard; that is archaic. Get in the gym. Invest in your body."
Philosophy • "If you are determined and put your effort into a goal, you can accomplish your dreams. Don't let your stomach make any decisions; you know what it's going to say."
New You fashions
All the clothes, shoes and accessories in today's photographs are from Macy's. Makeup by Estee Lauder.
Formal look • Metallic sweater ($79) and black pencil skirt ($84) both by Jones of NY. Patent leather pumps ($60) by Guess. Jewelry ($19-$26.) by Style & Co.
Casual look • Turquoise ombre cowl ($54) by Elements; skinny jeans ($114) by Not Your Daughters Jeans; platform penny loafer ($60) by Fisher; teardrop earrings ($15) by M. Haskell; and bling cocktail ring ($20) by Style & Co.
Formal look • pinstripe suit ($400) by Ralph Lauren (only coat is shown in photo); sky blue dress shirt ($15) by Izod; and black loafers ($80) by Kenneth Cole Reaction.
Casual • checked hoodie ($59), flannel button up ($39) and red v-neck tee ($10) all by American Rag. Slip-on sneakers ($50) by Polo.
Tell us your success story
I Have you reached a fitness or health goal that might inspire others? Have you quit smoking, lost weight, lowered your cholesterol? Let us know what inspired you and the steps you took to reach the goal. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and put "Success Story" in the subject line. Please include a first and last name, city of residence, age, occupation and a daytime telephone number in case we have questions. (Numbers will not be published.) A healthy cooking or fitness book awaits those whose stories are selected for publication.