How Regina Lost 74 Pounds with a Sugar Addiction and Sedentary Job

The challenges were big, but so was Regina's determination. Here's how she soared over the hurdles to build a healthier, happier life.

“I always thought, ‘If I lose weight, I’ll feel better,’ or ‘If I lost weight, I’d be perfect,’” says 46-year old Regina, a dental hygienist who’s made a career of advocating oral prevention to patients. However, it took her own weight loss journey for her to realize that prevention is something that extends beyond teeth and gums, and to the entire body.

“When I was young, I lacked confidence,” Regina says. “I never really felt good about myself, so I started dieting in my teens and joined Weight Watchers. I did Herbalife and began going to the gym. I was so young, but that was the beginning of my dieting career.”

The feelings associated with being an overweight teenager can be far-reaching. While the physical demands of an obese body come with their own set of problems, it’s often the emotional ones that create bigger waves. Teens who deal with feelings of insignificance, lack of confidence, isolation, and depression are quite possibly facing a difficult future. In fact, those emotions can surge into our adulthood and manifest themselves into a whole host of new issues.

A fact not lost on Regina as she moved into her own adulthood.

“My dad has diabetes and had a quadruple bypass,” she says. “I had a long history of inactivity, and there were a lot of health issues in my family. So here I was at forty-five and I knew, every single year, I was pushing my luck. My Dad had his first heart attack at forty. I knew it was time for me to get serious about my health. I had to do something to help stack the odds in my favor!”

So when she read about DietBet in a magazine, she decided to give it a try. “I joined with one of my husbands’ cousins,” she remembers. “Talk about motivation! She really inspired me. I was super excited and signed up for a Transformer. I lost money on that first one, but I learned a few things too.”

Regina eventually discovered that short-term goals worked better for her, and so she turned around and signed up for a Kickstarter. This time, she was successful.

In addition to joining DietBet, Regina began looking for other tools that made sense to her. She read a lot. Studied. Educated herself on fitness and nutrition and in the end developed a hybrid program catered to her needs. She understood there were components of various diets that could work for her, but in the end, Regina’s fitness plan was unique to Regina.

One of her first strategies was monitoring her physical activity level and finding tools to increase it. “I have a somewhat sedentary job as a hygienist,” she says. “But, I started tracking steps and pushing myself to hit the ten thousand step goal each day. I also just signed up for StepBet, and that’s really challenged me! I wasn’t sure I could hit those Stretch days, but I’m doing it! It’s amazing how that’s helped push me along!”

Perhaps the most important tool in this effort was her trusty FitBit. “That FitBit made the biggest difference for me,” she says. “I’m much more aware of my daily activity now. It doesn’t matter if I’m marching in place or on the treadmill. Now, at 46, I understand the importance of being active. When I joined the gym this time around, I took my girls with me. I want to give them a love for fitness that I never had.”

That love means keeping things interesting—exercise isn’t all treadmills and free weights.

“I love gadgets!” Regina laughs. “We saw those Simply Fit Boards on Shark Tank, so I bought one. It’s a neat tool to have around the house and you can use it in the living room. I also bought a weighted hula hoop! I’ve never been able to hula hoop until now!”

But even with all the gadgets and a newfound affection for exercise, Regina knew that wasn’t enough. The biggest obstacle, as it is for so many of us, wasn’t exercise, but diet. Specifically, her sugar addiction.

“My eating had to change. Now, I stay away from sugar completely. I can’t have just one cookie or bite of something sweet. I have to stay away from sweets completely,” she says. “I surprised myself though—I’m perfectly fine without eating the sugar. I’m able to go without. But if I have even one bite… I’m lost! I’ve finally realized I cannot have it. Ever.”

In addition to nixing the sugar, Regina upped her protein intake, started eating a lot of fresh produce, and cut back on the carbs. She also began experimenting with new foods, admitting she never knew she’d love avocado on toast. “Who would have thought something so simple would satisfy me?”

For some of us, it’s tough to think of weight gain or obesity as an illness. But in a way, that’s just how Regina views it.

“I’m not cured,” she clarifies. “I’ve always been a yo-yo dieter. I’d reach a goal or lose a few pounds and I’d feel like I was finished or that I could stop or not be diligent. Now I know I’m not done. I need the support of Weight Watchers meetings. I need to maintain a high level of physical activity. I can’t maintain on my own. I need to be held accountable.”

So what keeps her going? Especially on days like today, when to anyone else it would seem like she’s at the end of her journey—after all, she’s hit her goal weight by losing 74 pounds.

“I keep a vision of the future in my mind,” Regina answers. “These preventative actions, like eating right and exercise and just taking care of myself…this is how it works. I don’t want to spend money on doctors’ co-pays and expensive surgeries. I want to go on great vacations! I want to go out there and do amazing things!”

We certainly believe you will, Regina.

Individual results may vary from Success Stories.

Make it WayBetter

A sedentary job and a sugar addiction were Regina's enemies. Fitness gadgets and a no-sugar policy were her ammo to fight back. Identify your own enemies and ammo to help you forge your own path to victory!