Woman sheds nearly 80 pounds with simple diet, exercise changes
Emphasis on wholesome food that’s as natural and as unprocessed as possible
By SARAH DEETH/Examiner Staff Writer
May 31/ 2011
Mitzi Young used to weigh almost 200 pounds.
She used to smoke and drink. Not thinking about what she ate put her in size 18 pants.
You wouldn’t know it to look at her today.
After three years of exercise and diet changes, Young is 122 pounds and a size 2.
Young, 33, explains that a tearful 30th birthday was her inspiration to change.
Her friends had promised to take her out dancing to celebrate the milestone.
The only thing she had in her closet that could fit her was a pair of size 18 pants that she wore when she was pregnant.
“I couldn’t go. I had nothing to wear,” Young said, shaking her head.
At five feet six, Young weighed 198 pounds and had a body fat percentage of 39%.
“People think that you have to eat less to lose weight. But you really have to eat more.”
Young said she’d struggled with her weight since the age of 12.
“I was big all my life.”
She doesn’t shy away from talking about it, showing pictures of herself three years ago.
Food, she said, was always a source of comfort for her. Eating made her feel happy.
She got a job at St. Joseph’s at Fleming as a personal support worker. She had two children.
She didn’t place any emphasis on a healthy lifestyle, she said, until that one night, when she wore maternity pants to the bar because she couldn’t pull a size 16 pant over her knees.
“My choice was to sink or swim,” she said.
Three years later, Young has lost nearly 80 pounds and has a body fat percentage of 10%.
“I just kept swimming,” she said, shrugging her shoulders.
She began a journal, something she carries with her to this day.
Young has written about her weight loss journey and filled the pages with healthy recipes, article clippings about exercise routines and inspirational words.
“I said to someone once that I wanted a six pack and they laughed at me,” she said.
She continues to work at St. Joseph’s, but now holds a second job as a membership co-ordinator at Gold’s Gym on Chemong Rd.
Young advocates the Eat Clean Diet, which she learned about when she saw creator Tosca Reno’s book at the library.
The diet doesn’t involve counting calories and doesn’t include any specialty products, she said.
The emphasis is on wholesome food, she said, such as oatmeal and fresh fruits and vegetables, and food that’s as natural and as unprocessed as possible.
Food, Young said, eaten the way nature created it.
A healthy diet accounts for 80% of her weight loss success, she said, and exercise and training makes up for the other 20%.
A typical breakfast for Young is about a half cup of oatmeal with crushed flax seeds and applesauce and four hard-boiled eggs with the yolks removed.
She eats six meals a day and said people are always joking that she’s always eating.
“People think that you have to eat less to lose weight,” she said. “But you really have to eat more.”
Cutting calories and increasing exercise at the same time forces your body into starvation mode, she said, and it’ll cling to fat and slow weight loss.
You don’t need fancy products, she said, or diet pills or expensive meal plans.
You do need a good grocer that carries lots of wholesome foods, she said, and how to add and keep flavour without adding fat and calories.
A scale can help you keep an eye on how you’re progressing, she said, though those numbers can shift easily, especially for women and where they’re at in their monthly cycle.
“A better guide is how your clothes fit.”
She stressed that it’s all about healthy choices, moderation and portion size.
Young said she never got a personal trainer, taking her weight-lifting tips from magazines such as Oxygen.
She spends one hour doing weights four to five times a week, working on different muscle groups each session.
Each weight session is followed by a half-hour to an hour of cardio.
She bench presses 70 pounds, curls 40, squats 120 and leg presses 210.
On Saturday, Young competed in the International Drug Free Athletics competition in Toronto, an organization natural bodybuilding and fitness.
Young placed fourth in the fitness model category and was a finalist in the Inside Fitness Transformation Challenge, a nod to her three-year weight loss journey.
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