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by John McGran, Columnist

 
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As if going to school fulltime while working part-time isn't tough enough, try doing that and losing weight at the same time.

Diet.com super slimmer Valerie is doing just that... and doing it very well thank you!

"What a great journey it has been so far!" Valerie raves.

"I have lost 32 pounds since joining Diet.com, and I feel healthier since I now have more energy and endurance."

Valerie, who fellow Diet.com members may better know as niemand88f, recently proclaimed in one of her many member blogs, "I am officially considering myself a size 10 now. I used to be size 16. I've been wearing some size 10 pants since last fall, but had 2 pairs that were too tight. Two weeks ago, one of those started fitting... and today, I put on the second pair! I am now looking forward to being a size 8!"

The blogs here at Diet.com are one of the many perks that keep Valerie entertained, informed and motivated.

The 21-year-old from Utah loves to read about what other dieters are feeling or doing, but isn't shy about revealing her ups and downs too.

A recent blog entry proclaimed: "I lost another pound this week, so I am at 150 for the first time since... maybe middle school? All I know is that it has been a loooong time. My highest weight was over 200 during high school, so I suppose I could say I have lost 50 pounds. I started really trying to lose weight when I was at 182..."

No matter how you do the math it all adds up to fantastic weight loss success for our 5-foot-2 friend.

The photo at left shows Valerie when she weighed 182.

That was before she joined the Fall Challenge and then the Back on Track Challenge here at Diet.com.

"There are so many reasons and motivations for me to lose weight," she says. "I do not want to have weight-related health problems when I get older. I want to be able to go hiking with friends next summer. I want to become a doctor that people will trust when I talk to them about healthy habits. I want to surprise my family at Thanksgiving and Christmas with 'the new me.' I want to feel confident when I apply for internships and medical school next year... The list definitely goes on."

Valerie says the Weight Loss Challenges are a great opportunity to identify and work on her weaknesses.

"I knew I really needed to increase my intake of fresh food, particularly fruits and vegetables, so I built two milestones around that need," she says.

"I also recognized that my schedule is crazy and often unpredictable, so I have too many opportunities to slip up and eat poorly during a week. Solution? Plan my meals! Then, since eating healthy is only part of the weight loss battle, I made my fourth milestone all about exercising more consistently."


Valerie can't help but smile when she looks at the photo at right. Thanks to her newfound weight loss she's once again able to enjoy skiing with her family.

Valerie explains, "Before I lost weight I dreaded my family's ski trips because I didn't have the endurance to go for more than an hour or so, and I would be very sore from tight boots and using muscles I rarely used.

"This Christmas and spring break I went skiing, and had a lot more fun than I have in the past because I have more endurance, am stronger, and actually fit into ski boots comfortably!"

Completing her personal milestones was only part of Valerie's Challenge accomplishments.

"The wonderful, supportive community here at Diet.com helped me get back on track, and stay on track by leaving helpful comments on my blogs," she says.

"I truly enjoy reading every single blog that is posted, and commenting when I can. It is very motivating and helpful to see other people struggle with and overcome the same things I struggle with, and to see people make such amazing changes in their lives!"

Even though her goal weight of 130 is within range, Valerie has no plans to bid farewell to her friends in dieting.

"I am so glad that I found Diet.com," she says. "The tools are so useful and keep me accountable, and the philosophy of exercising more and eating healthier, smaller portions, really resonates with me.

"I apply things I learn on Diet.com to other areas of my life, such as goal setting. I set many small goals, like my challenge milestones, to accomplish along the way and keep me motivated. I have a long-term goal of becoming a medical doctor, and since beginning this challenge, I have made a list of milestones to help me on that journey, such as taking the MCAT and volunteering ...    Continue



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@ 10:08pm ET on March 22, 2009
WOW, you look AMAZING! Congratulations on your weightloss journey thus far. Your goal is within your grasp. I KNOW you can do it.

Way to go Valerie!


@ 11:13pm ET on March 22, 2009
BRAVO! You are such an inspiration!


@ 10:42am ET on March 23, 2009
i wish i can apply for diet.com but i can't since im from europe :( and i really need to lose the weight.


@ 12:40pm ET on March 23, 2009
youuu honestly woaahw, you look ah-ma-zing!!!
you`re such an ispirationnnnnn!!!
I envy youu because you`re reaching your goal!!!
great job val!! (:


@ 1:35pm ET on March 23, 2009
your an inspiration. thx for sharing.


@ 1:39pm ET on March 23, 2009
great story


@ 2:26pm ET on March 23, 2009
awesome story...you go girl...do everything you want so that you have no regrets!!!!...


@ 8:50am ET on March 24, 2009
Hi Valerie,
Congratulations!!!. I have embarked on a similar journey. I started at 197lbs and my goal is to get to 160lbs. You have given me that extra bit of motivation to continue to achieve that goal. I like the idea of milestones as I have given myself monthly goals and so far even though its one month has seen and experience the difference. Thank You for sharing


@ 2:43pm ET on March 24, 2009
WAY TO GO VAL!

HUGE CONGRATULATIONS. You have been an excellent motivator and comrade in both LIFE and weight loss :) I'm glad to have come back to diet.com after my 1 month hiatus in time to see your story posted. This is EXCELLENT! :)

Keep it up girl, you have done EXTREMELY well - I look forward to our messages/posts and another WLC!


@ 5:15pm ET on March 26, 2009
Congradulations, It is not an easy road but your doing it. I started losing I was 281lbs 3wks ago and now I am 275. My goal is 160lbs.


@ 9:58am ET on March 31, 2009
Congrats Val! You're always a motivator for me. I love reading your blogs!

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