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After breaking her ankle in 2013, Heather Crockett Oram was mostly immobile for three months. During that time and the months following, she gained about 80 pounds.
“It was sheer boredom. I was on crutches, I couldn’t even walk,” Crockett Oram, 33, told TODAY. “I got into a lazy mood and I would think, ‘What’s the point? I will eat better tomorrow’ and tomorrow never came.”
Growing up, Crockett Oram was always overweight. She didn’t understand nutrition and exercise so she simply gained weight. When her mom became addicted to pain pills, Crockett Oram relied on food to make herself feel better.
“It was emotional eating and trying to cope,” she said.
In January 2015, she was in grad school and working full time when her mother passed away from her drug addiction. After her death, Crockett Oram tried to gain custody of her 11-year-old brother. That same month, a friend asked Crockett Oram if she wanted to try a meal plan designed to help with weight loss. She felt stunned.
“I was offended when they approached me,” she said. “The last thing on my mind was to lose weight.”
Crockett Oram, who weighed 260 pounds and is 5 feet 9 inches tall, begrudgingly started the meal plan in the beginning of February 2015. After three months, she had lost some weight and started going to the gym. She’d ride a stationary bike and play games on her phone.
As she dropped more weight, she added lifting to her routine and also started HIIT (high-intensity interval) training. In a year, she lost 82 pounds.
“I lost the weight and I still am continuing every day working at it,” she said.
Even when stressful situations occur, Crockett Oram, who lives outside Salt Lake City, Utah, has not returned to emotional eating. Last June, her 26-year-old sister died from sepsis, a complication from a heroin addiction, and still Crockett Oram did not turn to food. Through this process, she’s learned that she's stronger than she realized.
“I can do hard things and I don’t have to rely on eating my emotions,” she said.
There’s joy in her life, too, and she shares her successes on Instagram. She’s starting a four-month body building class to continue to add muscle to her body and she and her husband, Jason Oram, are hoping to adopt a baby. She shared this advice to those hoping to lose weight:
1. Remember that mistakes don't make you a failure.
Maybe you had some late-night ice cream or you skipped the gym. That’s OK. Just keep working at it.
“If you make mistakes a few days in a row that doesn’t mean you are a failure. You need to crush it the next day,” she said.
2. Set weekly goals.
Thinking of losing a lot of weight at once seems daunting.
“If you look at the big picture you are going to be overwhelmed … You will set yourself up for failure. You go weekly,” she said. “First week, cut out soda. Eat how you normally do, then you cut out soda. When you reach your goal by Sunday, add on another goal: sugar, plus no soda.”
3. Switch things up!
For three months, Crockett Oram did not lose any weight. So she changed her exercise routines and stopped weighing herself. At the end of three months, she shed 16 pounds.
“I think when you hit the plateau, you have to re-analyze. Not everything is going to work all the time,” she said.
4. Make a choice to lose weight.
Losing weight means dedicating yourself to it.
“You consciously make that decision every day: ‘I am going to eat better today.’ ‘I am going to drink that water today.’ ‘I am not going to eat that donut.’ It comes down to consistency,” she said.
5. You can stop emotional eating.
When Crockett Oram considered using food to cope with the hardships in her life, she remembered the shame and guilt she felt when she used food to cope.
“There definitely (was) always that mentality in the back of your mind of going back to emotional eating and filling that void with the fleeting euphoria of bingeing and overeating. However, it is always fleeting,” she said.