Combination of weight-loss plans and exercise yields visible results
JUNE THOMPSON, The Gazette
Published: Tuesday, September 02, 2008
At 287 pounds, Erika Rath says she just wanted to feel invisible.
"I would wear black all the time and just wanted to fade into the background," she told me.
But that has all changed now for the 26-year-old resource teacher at Bialik High School: After having shed close to 100 pounds, she still likes to wear black, but there's no keeping her in the background.
"I have incredible energy," she enthused to me over the phone. "I exercise every day and I feel amazing."
Rath said she started gaining weight at the beginning of high school and just kept on gaining. "I pretty much feel that I've been on a diet since I was 12 years old."
And there aren't many diets she hasn't tried. In the end, it was a combination of plans that helped her reach her current weight.
Between 2005 and 2007, she worked with a nutritionist, attended Weight Watchers and hired a personal trainer - a combination that helped her shed 50 pounds. But a wedding that was going to take place in June of this year - where she was to be a bridesmaid - spurred her on to try and lose another 40 pounds.
Because her weight had plateaued and was no longer dropping, she decided to give another plan a try. She had heard about a local company, Weight No Longer, that delivers three, dietician controlled, properly proportioned meals a day, including snacks, directly to a client's home.
The plan fit Rath's lifestyle perfectly.
No more counting points, weighing and measuring food, not to mention staying up late at night in order to prepare two meals a day for her to bring to work (she works during the day and is studying for a masters degree at night).
Rath met with Ilene Gilbert, Weight No Longer's resident dietician, to discuss her weight loss goals, exercise level and food preferences. Gilbert then came up with a food plan that allowed Rath to choose between two meal options per meal per day. The food is made fresh daily and delivered to her door half an hour before she leaves for work in the morning. On Fridays, her weekend food is delivered along with the meals for that day.
Rath said she loved to cook, but this takes all the guesswork out of it. "I don't have to think about food anymore and, even better, there's no more cleaning up," she said with a laugh.
The plan doesn't come cheap: it ranges from $29 to $39 per day, which covers all food except milk/yogourt. Rath's father is paying for the service as a gift.
"My parents have always tried to help me lose the weight," she told me. "My dad always said that if he could lose the weight for me he would - I guess this is his way of doing that."
As the pounds came off, her appetite for exercise increased. Rath goes to the gym six days a week and walks for an hour every single day. Add to that her three softball games per week, which she describes as "more fun than exercise."
Rath reached her 40-pound weight-loss goal in June, but is continuing on. She'd like to lose another 20 pounds.
What has made it even more worthwhile for Rath is leaving her eating behaviours behind. "I was 100 per cent an emotional eater," she said. "Now I'm much more conscious of the emotion behind the eating which helps enormously."
That's not to say she never has a bad day, but since she has no reason to keep trigger foods like ice cream in the house, if she really wants it she has to go for a walk to get it.
I like it. She doesn't want to be invisible anymore - but the ice cream is.
© The Gazette (Montreal) 2008