Heather Switzer

All Heather Switzer had to lose was 10 pounds to shrink her waist by five inches

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Almost every morning, Heather Switzer steals out of bed while her family sleeps and heads to the basement for what’s becoming one of her favourite things: exercise.

The 25-minute walk on the basement treadmill is a novel passion for the 27-year-old mother of two. Between working as an educational assistant and caring for her two small children in Swift Current, Sask., she rarely made time for fitness. “In the spring I played slo-pitch,” she says. “But that was about it.”

Then in September 2004, Heather and her husband decided to join a few family members and celebrate their five-year wedding anniversary in Mexico this March. That meant bathing suits – and to Heather, who has struggled with her weight since having her daughter in 2001, that meant six months to get in shape.

Like she had done so many times before, Heather tried to do it all at once, all alone, exercising every chance she got, obsessing about everything she ate and expecting instantaneous results. She lost only one pound that month and was so devastated she gave up. “In October, my four-year-old told me I had the biggest bum in the house,” she recalls. “I laughed, but it hurt.” She weighed 176 pounds and stood five foot five.

Heather did a lot of thinking and in December, with the trip only four months away, she decided to try again. But this time she wasn’t going to do it alone. She asked her aunt to join her on the weight-loss journey. “We decided to put in a big effort and be accountable to each other.” Heather also started going to Curves three times a week. She dusted off the basement treadmill and vowed to roll out of bed and walk on it every morning (she stashes her workout wear right beside it, ready to go). Heather started scrutinizing what she ate by using an online food diary. Not only does it help her keep track of what she eats, it has shed light on some of the food choices that were holding her back from losing weight. “It’s funny; you’ll eat things you think are healthy and discover they’re loaded with calories!” For example, Heather cut 600 calories a day from her diet by switching her Honey Bunches of Oats for Special K. Heather logs what she eats four times a day and says that while she still enjoys a treat now and then; knowing she has to write it down helps her make better food choices. She has lost 10 pounds and better yet, five inches from her waist. She continues to add variety to her fitness routine so that she doesn’t get bored and give up again. Her current fitness fave: Carmen Electra’s Aerobic Striptease (Paramount Home Entertainment).

Heather’s tip:
Get some entertainment out of exercise: Heather is a reality TV junkie so she set her treadmill up in front of the television and walks as she watches her favourite shows, guilt-free!

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