Weight-Loss Win is an original Yahoo series that shares the inspiring stories of people who have shed pounds healthfully.
Trina Crosland is 40, 5′2″ tall, and weighs 155 pounds. In 2013, after realizing her weight was keeping her from enjoying the best parts of life, she decided to make serious changes for the sake of her future. This is the story of her weight-loss journey.
The turning point
My weight started to climb in high school. My sophomore year was the last time I participated in organized sports, because I no longer could keep up with the other girls on the team. However, at that time, I didn’t realize it was an issue; I just thought they were a lot faster than me. It didn’t occur to me that I was slow because of my weight.
After undergoing several traumatic and stressful events, I relied on eating to cope. Instead of talking to anyone, I numbed the pain with food. I ate out a lot, and it didn’t matter to me what it was, I just ate. Mexican, Chinese, Thai, buffets, sports bars, or wherever was close by when I wanted to eat. Sometimes I would feel guilty for a moment, and think, “Geez, how did I eat that much?” And yet I would continue to eat, because the damage was already done. I would go home and cry because I knew I was causing damage to my body, and needed to change, but did not know how.
It was not until I was in my mid-30s that I realized how big I was. I lost my breath walking a short distance. When loved ones came to enjoy the roller coasters at Cedar Point, where I worked, I babysat belongings while they rode the rides. If I dropped change, I left it because I could not pick it up. Most embarrassingly, if I ever fell, I would need somebody to help me up. My biggest fear, in fact, was falling in the middle of winter and freezing because I would be unable to get up on my own.
When I went home for my sister’s graduation, I saw a photo of the two of us, and noticed the sizable difference — she was wearing a size extra-small, while I, much shorter than she is, wore a 6X top. It was also that weekend that I realized how ashamed I was of myself when I refused to eat in front of other people. I did not want to be judged by what was on my plate, or how much I was eating. So I stayed inside most of the day and avoided contact with people to spare hurt feelings or questions.
I did not want to spend the rest of my life in seclusion. It was not fun hiding from the rest of the world. After seeing the photo of me and my sister together, I signed up for Weight Watchers.
I was on Weight Watchers for six months to get my eating under control. When I first weighed in, I was 350 pounds. I was humbled and embarrassed because I did not think I was that large. During those first months, I mostly tried to control my eating, because I knew if I tried doing anything too extreme without professional help, I could end up hurting myself in the gym. So, I just kept to walking. I slowly started to cut back on the number of pops and chips I had at work. I also started choosing healthy options when eating out, or packing my lunch for work
Six months after I joined Weight Watchers, I was given a chance, through the Sandusky Register, to participate in the FIT Challenge, a six-month-long competition where five locals competed against each other to see who would lose the greatest percentage of weight. We were all given a free gym membership and a personal trainer. The winner of the contest would be awarded a free one-year membership to their sponsor gym.
During the contest, I worked out five or six days a week. On three of those days, I worked out with my trainer, Ryan Rose at Health and Strength Gym. It was during this time that Ryan taught me a lot about proper nutrition and meal planning. I relied on high amounts of lean protein and veggies in my diet.
Cutting out the sugar, processed foods, and any carbonated beverages was the hardest for me in the beginning. Not getting to go out to eat was a huge issue for me, because I loved to go to out to eat — but I had to stop, because there was no way I could control or be sure of what was going into my food.
At the end of my Fit Challenge, I had lost 92 pounds, making me the first-ever female winner in the competition. It was also the most weight any contestant had lost in the history of the FIT Challenge at that time. With the additional year membership for winning, it meant that I could continue my quest for a healthier lifestyle. When I won, I still weighed 222 pounds, which meant I still had a way to go to an ideal weight. After a short break at the end of the contest, I continued to train with Ryan.
In December of 2014, 11 months after I started training at the gym, I ran my first half-marathon — something I never would have thought possible. It was such an amazing moment for me when I ran across the finish line that day, and seeing my trainer there to greet me with a hug. It was by far one of the proudest moments of my life.
Nine months later, in September of 2015, I ran the Air Force Marathon, in Dayton, Ohio. I weighed in at 155 when I crossed the finish line.
I knew that by getting healthy, I could make better life choices. It was no longer going to be a life of accepting things as they were, always trying to improve them. I was no longer going to settle for less than I knew I deserved. I had to stop cheating myself out of greater opportunity.
Since getting healthy, my life has changed in many ways. I have been going out with friends more often. Being willing to go out in group settings, spending time with guys, being willing to put myself in settings where my feelings could be hurt — it’s all new for me, but it’s worth the risk of getting to know different people.
Also, I have had the confidence to improve my position at work, where I have been promoted twice since losing weight. It was just a matter of me taking charge of situations and being confident in what needed to be done without being told what to do. I stopped blaming or making excuses about why things were not happening in a positive way for me. I started putting in the effort and made the positive things happen.
One of the things that surprised me is how I have been treated in life. Strangers are a lot kinder to me now. There was a time when I was I was moving, and something dropped on the ground. I stopped to gather up my things and reload. Several people stopped to offer a hand, and I turned them down because I was not used to having the help. I cannot count the number of times I dropped something at my heaviest, and never once was I offered help. Strangers are more willing to make eye contact and smile now instead of smirk as they try to get out of my way.
What has inspired me greatly is knowing that I could abandon my own “I can’t” mentality. All I had to do was believe in myself, and I could accomplish anything. Going from being almost immobile at one point to running a full marathon in less than two years was more than enough proof that I can, and will, accomplish anything I want in life. There was no excuse that could come between me and my goals. Detours happen, but the final destination was not going to change for me.
I still eat like I was taught when I first met my trainer — by planning my meals and fueling my body for the day’s activities. There are a lot of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins in my diet. I eat more often now, but because the food is more filling, I don’t eat as much. I have also learned to time my meals around my day. I gave up all processed foods and sugars over two years ago and no longer crave them. Sometimes they are part of a rare cheat meal, but not often.
My workouts are still four or five days a week. I train with Ryan once a week. I alternate the days I am in the gym weight training, so I am never training the same muscle group two days in a row. There are rotations of weights and resistance training and cardio. During my running season, at least once a week I’ll do a long run early in the mornings.
Recently, I had the first of my skin-removal surgeries, so my training is limited to just walking, but I’m finding new ways to still maintain my activity level while in the healing process. At this moment, it’s all a matter of mental strength and controlling my food intake while my body recovers, since I’m not as active.
Most people will make excuses about why they can’t lose weight. There are no excuses. There is no better time than the present to lose weight. Obesity is an epidemic that can be beaten. Would you rather cry tears of joy as you reach goals and milestones in your journey, or cry because you are once again missing out on making incredible memories with loved ones?
It comes down to our choices — simple choices and swaps in food, activity, and mental thoughts. It’s all about remaining positive even when faced with setbacks. Big goals are attainable through small steps, and it’s important to remember and celebrate the small victories along the way. It will all be worth it in the end, because you are worth your own time and the investment to improve your life and the world around you.
(All photos courtesy of Trina Crosland)
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