Home: Irmo, South Carolina
Starting Weight: 411 lbs
Current Weight: 210 lbs
"Now I have the strength and energy to run in the yard with my three-year-old daughter." Being a single parent of an impressionable toddler completely changed Marcie Calvert's views on food and life.
Marcie Calvert - BeforeFor most of her life, Marcie Calvert never knew what it was like not to be overweight. In grade 7, she weighed 250 pounds. But at a dangerous 411 pounds in her early 30s, she knew she had to do something. As a new mother, soon to be divorced, Marcie felt that she had the greatest motivation of all: her daughter, Chrysa. "I knew I had to be there for my little girl," she says. "I realized I was the only person she could count on Ñ the only person who would run in the park with her."
A succession of tried-and-failed diets resulting in a steady and frustrating weight gain led Marcie to see that she needed a lifestyle change. In April 2006, she decided to try Jay Robb's Fat Burning Diet, a healthy, whole-food meal plan that alternates low- and higher-carb days. Committing to the plan, Marcie drove to the hospital to get weighed on the laundry scale.
Learning Better Ways
Marcie had years of bad habits to break from childhood breakfasts of packaged snack cakes and Coke to an adult diet of fast-food meals and plenty of candy bars and processed pastries, which she kept stashed in her teacher's desk at the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice. Driven to be the best mother she could be, Marcie jumped into her new clean-eating plan with both feet, abandoning her two-liter-a-day Coke habit for water and ditching all foods laced with chemicals, including artificial sweeteners, in favor of three healthy meals a day.
After one year and a 200-pound weight loss, Marcie has learned to "work" her meal plan so that she doesn't get bored. On high-carb days, she swaps her usual chicken, potato and veg for turkey-and-tomato sandwiches on high-fiber flax bread or rice pasta with lean ground sirloin and no-sugar-added pasta sauce. Occasionally, she pumps up her motivation and her weight loss with a three-day fruit flush plan to detoxify from temporary diet detours and get a fresh start.
Moving to Lose
When she first began the diet, Marcie didn't exercise. But as the summer heat abated, Marcie began using her lunch breaks to walk the campus where she teaches delinquent teens. Last February, the facility opened a wellness center, so from Monday through Thursday, Marcie heads there after classes to circuit-train, ride the exercise bike or hop on the treadmill. At home, she dances with Chrysa or does step-ups while she plays.
Buoyed by the compliments of coworkers and delighted when Chrysa asks for watermelon or grapes instead of unhealthy snacks, Marcie remains focused on her fitness goals. "I want to help people who are way overweight and too embarrassed to go to the gym," she says. "It's hard for someone who's a bodybuilder or trainer to understand their feelings and their needs. I think I can offer that compassion and insight."
Marcie's Workout Regimen
(1 to 1 1/2 hours a day, most days of the week)
Cardio 30- to 45-minute walks on the treadmill, around campus or with her daughter in the stroller
Weight training 30- to 45-minute circuit training, two or three times a week
Marcie's Top Tips
Find a plan you can live with. I'm eating food that's organic and healthy. I love the way my skin feels, and my energy now is amazing!
Eat for your health. I eat lots and lots of salads. And I start each day with a cleansing glass of lemon water and stevia.
Stay active. It gives you more energy. I take walks during my lunch. When I get home, I take my daughter out in her stroller and push hard.
Look for inspiration. I do get tired of planning meals and going to the grocery store. But I have to do this for my little girl. I keep her pictures all around me!
Enjoy a weekly "free meal." I do have a sweet tooth, but I push through it. I tell myself I can just hold out for my "free meal." For that meal only, I eat anything I want!
Don't wait until Monday to eat right. I started on a Friday!
Don't feel defeated. I broke through a six-week plateau by writing down exactly what I should be eating Ñ including how many carbs and fat grams and following it strictly. But if you do mess up, hop right back on!
Eat enough to lose. When I wasn't losing recently, I checked my food diary and saw that some days I ate only 900 calories. It wasn't enough. After making the adjustment, the pounds dropped off!
Marcie’s Sample Menu for Clean Eating Weight Loss
Marcie eats three meals a day – and no snacks!
On awakening Lemon water with stevia
Breakfast: A whey protein shake made with nonfat plain yogurt and stevia and sometimes an apple, pineapple or cherries
Lunch: A salad with turkey or tuna, salmon or other fish, occasionally with cheese or almonds added
Dinner: Chicken breast or fish with either asparagus, zucchini or squash and potato or sweet potato on high-carb days