Haley started her weight loss journey at 278 pounds. A figure she had reached by not watching her diet and quitting the sporting activities that used to keep her weight down.
It wasn’t until photos came back from her engagement shoot that she knew she didn’t want to be that size anymore and certainly didn’t want to look that way on her wedding day.
Haley followed some simple, yet important steps to lose weight and stuck to them until she dropped over 100 pounds! You can find out exactly how she did it below.
Follow Haley On Her Social Media Here:
Haley J Smith Instagram: @haley_j_smith
Haley hadn’t always been dealing with weight problems. When she was younger, she played sports religiously and got into incredible shape during her collage years when a lot of people can let themselves go.
“Growing up, I never really struggled with my weight because I led a very active lifestyle. I played sports throughout high school and intramurals when I first got to college. During that time I was in the best shape of my life.”
This changed however, after her sporting activities took a back seat to other priorities in her life.
“When I stopped playing sports, I began steadily gaining weight. I periodically tried to keep my weight in check by running or doing at-home workout programs. Every few months, I’d try to come up with a new workout regimen, but after a few weeks I’d fall off the wagon.”
As well as workouts, Haley also tried other quick fix diet plans during this time, but with limited success. Her high calorie diet that fuelled her sporting life, quickly became an issue when she stopped playing everyday.
“During this time, I was eating whatever I wanted, pizza, burgers, candy, fast food and I was eating nearly all day every day from the moment I woke up right up until bedtime. Like the workout routines, I periodically tried to go on different diets, such as Nutrisystem, juice cleanses, and other three-day cleanses, but nothing stuck.”
“By July of 2015, I had reached an all-time high of 278 pounds. I couldn’t believe it.”
Around this time, Haley’s boyfriend, Matt, proposed to her and after seeing the engagement photos, she knew she didn’t want to look like that on her wedding day.
“That July, I got engaged, which was really the catalyst for change. It was one of the happiest moments in my life, but once I saw our engagement photos, it became bittersweet. The pictures were devastating, I didn’t even recognize myself! I knew then that if I didn’t want to be ashamed of my wedding pictures, I had to do something.”
Haley began focusing on cleaning up her diet and getting back into working out and running. She didn’t want to burn herself out like she did before, trying quick fixes and short term solutions, she knew to make it last long term, it would take smaller, incremental decisions.
“I began making small, gradual changes. Starting out, two of my biggest problems with food were eating late in the day and eating out all the time. So those were the first habits I focused on breaking. I decided that I would only eat out twice a week and stop eating after 8 p.m. something I still stick to today!”
Haley and her new husband began to learn to cook for themselves and enjoy eating healthier meals that they prepared at home.
“In order to achieve this, my now husband and I started cooking at home a lot more. At first, we used Blue Apron a few times a week to help teach us about new foods and how to make healthy dinner recipes. After a few weeks of that, I got to where I was actually having vegetables a few times a week, along with fruits, whole grains, healthy fats, and tons of protein.”
As well as healthier meals, she knew she had to curb her bad snacking habits between meals, as a lot of the time, this is were dieters fail in their approach.
“My snacking habits, which were also terrible, changed a lot too. I started eating mixed nuts or peanut butter and celery instead of bags of chips and candy bars.”
“I also did the 21-Day Fix about three months in. This plan focuses on creating the perfect portion sizes by using these special containers and emphasizes fresh veggies and protein over refined carbs. That helped me get a firm grasp on healthy portion sizes. If I ever feel like I need a reset, I’ll break out the containers.”
Focusing on portion control and eating a balanced diet full of protein, complex carbs and veggies was the best change that Haley could make to her diet, but she also focused on other areas like limiting eating at restaurants and not depriving herself of food she loves.
“Now, I try to stick to balancing my food groups, eating out as little as I can, and just making conscious, healthy choices about what I eat. A typical day for me starts with a protein shake for breakfast, grilled chicken with kale for lunch, and something similar for dinner, like a pork chop with broccoli.”
“I definitely still indulge my taste for snacks and dessert, I’m practically addicted to chips! But it’s all about balance and at the end of the day. I’m just trying to make good decisions that outweigh the bad ones.”
Using the same philosophy that she used with her diet, Haley started working out slowly but surely, initially jogging and building up to at home workouts, running and eventually, the gym.
“When I first started working out, I used a Couch to 5K app as a tool to get myself jogging a few times a week. Over time, jogging led to more running and eventually, after three months, I started incorporating at-home workouts with my husband. We’ve done Insanity, P90X3, and the 21-Day Fix workouts. Then, about six months after our engagement, we both got gym memberships. Again, I started slow at the gym, working out a few times a week.”
This slow start helped build a love of working out and the gym and now you can find her lifting weights every morning before work.
“But before I knew it, I was in the gym at 5:30 in the morning six times a week and throwing cardio sessions in some afternoons. By summer 2016, my husband and I were regulars and began really enjoying our mornings there. To this day, I have dedicated lifting workouts by body group for each day of the week, and I try to get in some form of cardio—elliptical, running, biking, about every other day.”
Haley has an incredibly popular Instagram page with over 100,000 followers, who she motivates everyday and who inspire and support her along her journey.
“My Instagram followers have been especially motivating for me. It feels like they’re on this journey with me. I’m currently finishing up a project I call my “Year of Runs” where I ran one 5K every month. I even decided to cap it off by hosting my own virtual 5K with them!”
“There were so many times I wanted to call the challenge off, but I knew letting them down would cause me to let myself down. My followers are so supportive and encouraging, and that community really helps keep my healthy lifestyle at the front of my mind every day.”
As well as a good support system through her friends, family and social media, it’s important to remain accountable to yourself and your goals. Using checklists and goals helped Haley stay motivated during her weight loss.
“Throughout my whole journey, I’ve been tracking my daily and monthly habits, which has also been super motivating. I love getting to check off a box for the day when I know I did something that brings me closer to my goals. Seeing the boxes I missed makes me want to do better the next day.”
“And, of course, the thought of walking down the aisle helped keep me motivated to hit the gym every morning.”
After losing almost 110 pounds, Haley’s life has changed for the better in every way. Living her life, rather than shying away from opportunities.
“My weight loss has impacted my life in pretty much every way possible. I have so much more confidence now. Now, when I go on vacations, I don’t have to sit things out because I feel too uncomfortable or literally can’t do something. I feel so much more in-control of my life, which feels amazing because a lot of that control had slipped away before my engagement. Today, I’m living a life that I actually enjoy and don’t feel the urge to hide from.”
Haley’s advice for other people who want to follow in her success is simple;
“The best advice I could give to other women is just to start small and take it slow. Hard and fast diets or workout routines are too difficult to stick to for any extended period of time. Because this is a lifestyle change rather than a quick fix, you have to be able to make those small, habit-breaking changes little by little. Take it one day at a time.”