Terri Knight describes her decision to lose weight as an “a-ha moment.”
Three years ago, Knight saw a picture of herself from a family Christmas gathering and, at that moment, she decided it was time for a change.
Knight is the mother of two, 8-year-old Luke and 10-year-old Mark. The Knight family moved to Winchester from Ohio in 2007, and Knight began making lifestyle changes shortly afterwards.
Those simple lifestyle changes helped Knight shed almost 40 pounds, and she’s still keeping it off.
“You have to commit to it, like you would your spouse or your job or God,” Knight said.
Now people across the country can read about her weight loss success in her essay, “My Transformation,” part of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Knight said she was looking at the Chicken Soup website and noticed that the editors were looking for essays about weight loss to include in the “Shaping the New You” edition.
Knight’s essay was accepted and “Shaping the New You” was published in December. The essay was the second Chicken Soup publication for Knight, who wrote about organizing her home in “Mommy’s System” in 2007. She also has been published in magazines such as St. Anthony Messenger, a Catholic publication.
In “My Transformation,” Knight details necessary to see real and lasting weight loss. There are no miracle cures — Knight said the only way to really lose weight is to cut calories, even if that meant giving up her beloved after dinner snacks.
“I had to say to myself, ‘You know what? I’m gonna be a little hungry at night,’” Knight said.
Instead of the cakes and cookies she snacked on before, Knight now allows herself a bag of low-fat microwave popcorn a couple nights a week, and when she does indulge in a more fattening snack, she is always mindful of portion control.
“I’m always gonna like french fries. I’m always gonna like cake and cookies,” Knight said. “I have a serving and that’s it. I go on with my life.”
Since she has become accustomed to her more healthy lifestyle, Knight said that the cravings for junk food are becoming more and more infrequent.
“When you start to eat healthy, you don’t need it anymore,” Knight said. “I’m happy with one or two.”
Typical meals include oatmeal with whole wheat toast and fruit for breakfast, and a spinach salad with cottage cheese and low-fat chips for lunch. At dinner time, the whole family sits down to a low-calorie meal, like meatloaf made with extra lean beef and lots of vegetables. Knight is mindful of the impact her eating habits have on her sons, and does her best to make healthy eating a family priority.
“They appreciate it, that we’re investing in their health,” Knight said.
Exercise has also become a family routine. Each day, Knight walks or runs or her treadmill for 30 minutes, and several evenings during the week the whole family will go for a walk at College Park or the Traveling Trail.
Knight admitted that exercise was not something that her children were interested in at first, but like making them eat their vegetables, she thinks it’s important to encourage the whole family to stay active.
“They have their video games, and it’s like pulling teeth,” Knight said.
To make exercise a daily habit, Knight recommends finding something that’s convenient and you enjoy doing.
“If you hate swimming, and then you try to make that (your exercise), it’s not gonna work,” Knight said.
More than anything, though, Knight stressed that weight loss takes time and patience.
“I didn’t gain the weight overnight, and it’s not going to come off overnight,” Knight said.
She tries not to get too caught up on a certain number on the scale, although she does weigh herself once a week. Because of her lifestyle changes, Knight said that her numbers have remained steady over the past couple years.
Now Knight said she is committing herself to other projects. In “My Transformation,” she noted that she had completed her first romance novel and was at work on a second. She hopes that essays like “My Transformation” will encourage others to achieve their goals, whatever they may be.
“The main thing is, I hope my writing helps other people,” Knight said.
Contact Rachel Parsons at firstname.lastname@example.org.