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'I smashed it': Woman ditches scale after losing 200 pounds in 15 months

'The scale wasn’t going to be the thing to dictate my life anymore.'
/ Source: TODAY

When keeping up with her children felt too tough, mom Megan Christensen took a look her health. At the time she weighed 351 pounds and it kept her from enjoying activities with her children.

“I have been overweight my entire life. It really became out of control after I had children,” the 37-year-old from Windsor, Connecticut, told TODAY. “Being a parent at 350 pounds, there’s so much that you can’t do like climbing stairs or going for a walk or a trip to the amusement park.”

When Megan Christensen struggled to enjoy activities with her family, she decided to look at her health. She started making small changes that ended up having a big impact. Courtesy Megan Christensen/@ maintaining_megan

That encouraged her to make several small changes. At first, she examined the foods she ate.

“For the first six months, I focused 100% on nutrition, looking at the calories I was eating,” Christensen explained. “The calories I was eating — it was a lot of processed foods. It was a lot of carbohydrates.”

When Megan Christensen decided to lose weight she made small tweaks to her diet. That helped kickstart her weight loss. Courtesy Megan Christensen/@ maintaining_megan

Making small changes to her diet had a big impact. In just six months, she shed 100 pounds. But keeping it off felt like a different challenge.

“I needed to do something different to maintain that weight loss,” Christensen said. “All the research that I had done suggested that people who successfully maintain their weight loss focused on strength training."

So Christensen hired an online fitness coach and focused on exercise goals, including helping increasing her cardiovascular health and becoming stronger. Soon, she found herself running. Again, she started small, which helped her build her stamina.

“Running the 5K the 10K, then running the half marathon and continuing to build on that strength,” she said.

During her weight loss, Megan Christensen celebrated victories along the way, such as when she had a low enough weight so zip line with her children. Courtesy Megan Christensen/@ maintaining_megan

In 15 months, she lost more than 200 pounds going from 351 to 146. While Christensen loves that she can run long distances and is stronger, the real joy comes from what she can do with her family.

“Things like going on a vacation with my kids and going zip lining for the first time because I was finally under the weight limit or going roller skating with my son, focusing on those things and those milestones really helped keep the momentum going,” she said.

When Megan Christensen reached her weigh loss goal she smashed her scale to celebrate. Courtesy Megan Christensen/@ maintaining_megan

After she has lost so much weight, she no longer felt beholden to the scale.

“The funny thing that happens is when you hit your goal weight, you have this moment where you say, ‘Well now what?’” she said. "The scale wasn’t going to be the thing to dictate my life anymore. I actually took it to a smash room and I smashed it. And that, to me, symbolizes moving from beyond goals associated with a number and goals associated with what my body could achieve.”

As part of her weight loss, Megan Christensen added strength training and cardiovascular exercise. Courtesy Megan Christensen/@ maintaining_megan

While wanting to be active and engaged with her family kept her motivated, losing so much weight meant she had excess skin that no amount of lifting could tighten up. Christensen decided to undergo skin removal surgery. Recovery felt difficult, especially because she couldn’t exercise as rigorously as she wanted. But her doctor said she could walk as far as she could. So she laced up her shoes and started.

“I said, ‘OK. Challenged accepted,’” she said. “My friend Karen comes over and we go for a walk together. Such a release being out in nature and just having the challenge of the hills and we held each other accountable, even on days that weren’t so great. Before I knew it, I was at 10, 15 miles a day.”

Megan Christensen hopes that others understand they have what it takes to successfully lose weight if they want to do it. Courtesy Megan Christensen/@ maintaining_megan

Christensen hopes her success helps others see their own potential.

“I had convinced myself that I was just meant to be overweight and I think we have a tendency, as a culture, to look at these before and after post photos and get really enamored with the girl on the right, the girl in the post picture,” she said. “If you’re sitting there as the person that is the before photo right now, know that you already have everything inside you to be successful. You just have to embrace it and grab onto it.”