“Progress—not perfection—is what I’m going for. I firmly believe that’s how I’ll meet my ultimate goals, with progress and little changes over time. The weight didn’t come on overnight, so it’s not like it’s going to fall off overnight either,” says Ashleigh Whitcomb, a member of the UP community since 2014 who is on a weight loss journey to lose over 300 pounds.
Ashleigh’s Quick Tips Guide
- Drink more water
- Avoid fast food, cut out soda
- Exercise, even if it’s only 10 minutes a day
- Stay motivated with the UP App
- Follow your passion (Ashleigh loves karate!)
For Ashleigh, her personal journey towards weight loss began after a trip to Walmart with her husband. Ashleigh recalls that trip vividly: “When my husband and I would go shopping, I would ask him drop me off at the entrance, hoping to save myself from—what at the time was—an exhausting walk from the parking lot. I weighed 536 at the time, and visibly remember just getting hot and sweaty from the walk around the store. I was wandering the aisles and feeling terrible.”
“Another motivating factor hits even closer to home. We actually ended up losing our baby due to my weight in 2010. And I just decided I wasn’t going to put us through that again. So I started doing what I could. Every week I set different goals for myself, because at first I was trying to tackle the big goal and felt like it was taking forever to show progress. Now I make small, achievable goals like eating less than 2250 calories a day, avoiding fast food, and working out regularly.”
Using her strategy of small incremental changes over time, Ashleigh has stayed down 111 pounds from her original weight of 536 pounds. As she continues to work toward her target weight of 180 pounds, she has a few new tools that are helping her tackle her goal.
“I love my new UP3. My favorite thing is the heart rate monitor, but I’ve been using UP for awhile. My friend gave me her old UP24 when I first started losing weight, and I was using that to keep myself on track. I’m a very goals-oriented person; I even have a white-board where I write down all my goals. I love the UP App, especially the Today I Will feature—it keeps me motivated. I also love that the UP App cards are customized to me and my goals.”
“For example—It was insane how difficult it was to drink enough water; it’s probably one of my most consistent daily goals. Before I began to work on losing weight, I was drinking— oh my gosh— I couldn’t even tell you how much soda. I’ve realized that in order to even maintain what I’ve lost, I need to stay hydrated and leave the bad soda habit behind. So, I started by switching to flavored water over soda at first. It was the carbonation that I craved.”
“The other big change for me was exercise. I was very immobile, and I still have emotional eating issues, but I make an effort to stay active with deliberate walks or exercise even if it’s just 10 minutes, because it makes me feel more accomplished and confident.”
One of Ashleigh’s biggest victories came after she lost 100 pounds and was able to return to her favorite sport: “Once I had taken that weight off, I was feeling much better and my mobility went way up. My all-time favorite exercise is Yoshukai Karate. Sadly, I quit when I was 13, but after losing the weight, I went back to it this past February. I’m a 2nd kyu brown belt, and my passion for the sport is still there after all those years.”
As Ashleigh reflects on her continuing journey, and her 100 pound milestone, she has a bit of advice for those on a similar path toward extreme weight loss.
Follow Your Passion
“One thing I’ve learned is you have to have passion in order to be dedicated and inspired to keep going. Karate, and the passion to be healthier, keeps me going. There was a time when my husband was dropping me off at the door because I was so heavy, and now I can wear a seatbelt, and walk 3 miles with confidence. It’s a huge win, and personal motivator for me.”
“I’ve had a few times where I let myself fall back into bad habits, but the important thing is that you bounce back even stronger. My grandmother passed away, and I went on a 10 month binge. She was my rock, and my motivator. She was the one I called when I had reached a health goal. Then all of a sudden—she was gone. I’ve learned that I slip up due to a variety of reasons beyond my control, but in the end, I have control over myself. Now, I do overeaters anonymous online, and that’s helped me develop better coping skills after an upset. In the past, I would have eaten 9K calories a day to make myself feel better. Today, I throw myself on the treadmill and drink more water to cope.”
Build Your Support System
“My husband is one of my biggest supporters along with my parents and my siblings. However, I found that since my husband’s not obese himself, he couldn’t understand all of my challenges firsthand. I found all of my UP teammates through social media. We don’t do Duels or anything, but seeing the encouragement back in the App from them has been phenomenal.”
Keep It Interesting
“For exercise, I try to mix it up. When I’m not doing karate, I try to find kickboxing videos. I like more intense, get to the point, get it done workouts. Other than that, I enjoy just walking. It’s easy, burns calories, and it’s relaxing. I find that walking on the treadmill gets tedious after awhile, so I walk outside for 30 minutes which feels incredible. Sometimes I do a charity walk, too.”