After Christelle, 33, joined us in September 2016, she lost more than 55 pounds (25 kilos). We asked her how she did it. Here’s what she told us.
When I took stock of my life, I realized that my happiest times were when I was active, always on the go, feeling energized. And the times when I was less intellectually curious, less open, more withdrawn and generally feeling like I couldn’t be bothered, I was unhappy.
Excess weight and obesity are affecting more and more people worldwide, with consequences that we are all familiar with. We are often left powerless by weight gain. The change is slow, sometimes barely noticeable. In these circumstances, breaking out of the vicious circle takes tremendous strength of character.
The day I saw myself
Three years ago, I had to make a tough and painful choice in my personal life. I thought I would be able to get through it fairly easily. For some people, going through a tough time can lead to an addiction to one thing or another. In my case, I sought refuge in food…and inactivity. I didn’t notice that I was putting on weight, perhaps because I didn’t want to.
I started at Withings the day after my birthday. My sister took a selfie with me to capture the moment. And I was in for a real shock.
I realized that I had put on a lot of weight; it was all I could see. But it was exactly what I needed: new year, new job, new life—it still took me a month to decide to go to the gym, though. I was very intimidated.
One step at a time
Once the decision was made, I decided to go for it, but without any pressure. My weight gain had been gradual and painless; I would take the same approach to losing it. So I started off small, with things that I could easily do and above all, stick at. Fruit instead of a dessert, stopping eating when I was full—those kinds of things.
There was a great deal of support at work. We all go to the gym together and go running together. If you are not that into running, there are team sports you can do.
In any case, say you’ve taken the weight loss plunge. Walking 10,000 steps a day, for example. At the start, I could never manage it, but I didn’t change the goal, and I got there in the end.
Now I regularly walk more than 100,000 steps a week. I have added my colleagues to my leaderboard to spur me on. This has helped me to get into good habits, such as sometimes getting off a stop early to get in a few more steps. As an employee, we get to personally test all our products, and the main ones I used were Body Cardio and Steel HR. And having connected devices changes everything.
The more you weigh yourself, the more aware you are. It gives you knowledge. I was able to review my situation and make the right decisions. The advice and tips the app gives you also keep you motivated on a daily basis.
Patience and time
I started going to the gym. I used the elliptical trainer first, then took group classes, and gradually I’ve progressed through the programs. A few months later, I wanted to push on further by setting myself more specific goals. My weight loss had plateaued, so I decided to use a personal trainer. I needed to know exactly what I had to work on. It was the right decision! They gave me not only advice on fitness, but also on nutrition and other things. It was a truly holistic approach.
I started on cardio. I learned to use the machines I needed, and began doing muscle-strengthening exercises—my personal trainer, Narjiss Dkaki, removed the mystique surrounding the gym. I could see the results very quickly.
Above: Instagram used with the kind permission of Narjiss Dkaki, Christelle’s personal trainer.
The most important thing is to keep focused on the end goal and to get a little closer to it each day. It will never happen overnight. I am not a superhero.
I just took it day by day. Last summer, I indulged a little and put on a little weight without feeling that guilty. What counts is the long term: I have never lost sight of this.
Staying on track
There are different ways of keeping motivated. You have to find what suits you. For me, it’s using DietBet. It’s an app that brings together a community of people who have the same goal of losing weight. You bet on yourself losing 4% of your total weight over 4 weeks by staking an amount.
If you manage it, you get back your stake—and pick up the pot from those who lost.It’s also a social network. You share your successes, your activity sessions, photos of what you are eating, and you encourage everyone involved.
To inspire me, I looked a lot at Instagram and blogs—stories from people in my situation. I didn’t want to follow an official and impersonal program.
Each week, I keep my sister updated on my progress. My next goal is to do an official 10K run before the end of summer. To succeed, you need to continually set yourself goals, surround yourself with people who encourage you and who want to adopt a healthy lifestyle. It’s really important to keep it fun and reward yourself. And this can help you to take good care of yourself. Say, “If I reach such and such a goal, I’ll treat myself to a manicure!”
The best version of me
I felt below where was I was at before in terms of energy and body image. I got tired very quickly. I was slow, and I could clearly see the effect that it was having on my body and on my mind. Slowly but surely, I grew stronger. I’ve managed to do things I couldn’t do before, all because of micro-goals. Playing sports first twice a week, then three times, and now three to four times a week, without ever overdoing it.
I’ve given pretty much everything a try in the gym, and I’ve just continued with the things I enjoyed. I love the skipping rope and do it a lot. I tried the cycling machine, but quickly got bored and stopped doing it. I have now reached the goal I set myself, and my BMI is virtually normal. And with the Health Mate app, you can easily view your weight curve.
A healthy lifestyle
It’s funny, because a year and a half ago I told myself: When I get to a certain weight, I’ll be OK. Now I’ve reached it and I’ve realized that beyond the weight displayed on the scales, what matters is to look back each day at just how far you’ve come and be kind to yourself. Of course, you are always influenced by how others see you, and you compare yourself to others, which is why positive thinking about your own body is so important.
Losing weight has been a starting point to discovering a new lifestyle. We need to be curious, try things out, do our research, consult specialists—like a nutritionist, fitness trainer, or psychologist—and see what is right for us without modeling ourselves on someone else. It’s not about motivation or desire, it’s about discipline, being consistent and keeping at it. This is why you need short-term goals to reach the long-term goal. If I had set myself a goal at the start of my weight-loss journey, it would never have worked.
Today, I want to continue living better, and feeling strong. Even if I reach my goal—or rather, when I reach my goal—I am going to keep trying out and discovering new activities that will help me to feel good about myself.