People magazine’s Half Their Size 2011 winner Denise Giesbers took some time from her busy schedule recently to talk to me about how she was able to trim down from 304 to 152 pounds.
Giesbers of Forest Grove, Oregon, was featured in People magazine along with Christina Cores, Josephine Reed, Dallas Carter and Sheri Cameron.
Now the Take Shape for Life health coach, who is 5 foot 7 inches, is working to drop another 12 pounds.
Giesbers wore a size 28 when she first started Medifast, and is now consistently wearing a size 8. She is just now starting to slide into size 6 pants, an exciting accomplishment.
She talked about how she gained the weight.
“In college, the freshman 15 turned into 30,” she said. “Then, I started working full time at a desk job. Then, I got married and gained some weight. Then, I had kids and gained weight. Then, you get busy with your kids, work and everything. I just did not make good choices.”
Giesbers, who was 32 when featured in the January 2011 People magazine Half Their Size edition, had maintained her weight loss for 18 months.
She shared a sample of her daily diet.
Half Their Size Winner’s Sample Meal Plan
Breakfast: Medifast hot cocoa
Snack: Medifast protein bar
Lunch: small salad with turkey
Snack: Medifast nacho cheese puffs
Dinner: grilled chicken breast with side salad and salsa/ranch dressing on side
Snack or Dessert: Medifast brownie or celery with peanut butter
Living in Oregon, she loves to eat berries when they are in season.
For exercise, Giesbers said she doesn’t go to a gym, but incorporates exercise into her every day life.
“I take a lot of stairs,” said Giesbers, who works as an administrator on a college campus. “I’m more active. That’s what’s important for people to know; you don’t have to go to a gym to get exercise in.”
One of the key lessons she learned was to eat small meals to fuel her metabolism. She lost, on average, 2-5 pounds each week. Her first week, she lost 8 pounds and the first month she dropped 18 pounds.
“It’s important for people to know exercise alone will not help you lose weight,” she said. “Unless you also think about what you are eating, you won’t lose it.”
She said heavy people sometimes think if they eat less often they won’t gain weight, but the opposite is true.
“If you go for long periods of time without eating, you tend to overeat because you are hungry and your body goes into starvation mode because it does not know when you are going to feed it again,” she said. “I learned I was killing my metabolism.”
Being featured as part of the People magazine Half Their Size edition has been an amazing experience, according to Giesbers. As a Take Shape For Life health coach, she has clients from all over the country. She first became a health coach in February of 2009 after losing her first 80 pounds.
“My reason for becoming a health coach was to do what I did not think was possible for myself, but now I know different,” she said. “It’s a rewarding job when someone comes to you who is struggling as much as you were and to see them lose weight. That’s so motivating.”
She said the Medifast/ Take Shape For Life program includes three phases: weight loss, transition and maintenance.
She is back on Phase I so she can lose another 12 pounds.
“The program is 800 to 1000 calories a day,” she said. “It’s everything: low carb, low sugar, low calories, and high protein. You also learn how to eat lean and green. You think about food differently and not eating processed foods, which is important.”
Instead of calling it a “diet,” Giesbers considers her approach a life change.
“When people say a diet, 85 percent of diets don’t work,” she said. “A diet is what you put into your mouth. What you are eating is your diet. I call it a program, not a diet. For me to keep the weight off, I still embrace how I got it off.”
As a busy person, she likes the convenience of using meal replacements in addition to her healthy lean and green meals.
For more information on Giesbers, visit www.lifeispriceless.net or call her at (971) 248-0369. For more information on Medifast, visit their website at www.medifast1.com.
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Sources: phone interview with Denise Giesbers and www.medifast1.com