How Sierra lost 120 pounds without surgery — and kept the weight off.
Making a major lifestyle change takes major commitment. It’s something Sierra Sturt refers to as an “all-in” philosophy.
As someone who has lost and kept off 120 pounds, Sierra has experienced the power of going all in. After taking her first step by attending a free seminar on Mercy Health’s non-surgical weight loss program, she hasn’t looked back since.
“I think I was always a chunkier kid,” Sierra said. “It got bad around age 15 or 16. My parents went through a divorce. When I started driving, I could eat whatever I wanted and no one would know. I would get bags of candy. I would go through drive-thrus all the time.”
The summer before her sophomore year in college, Sierra recognized she didn’t have to continue down the path she was on.
“There was a point that summer where I had gone to New York City with my sister, and we were taking pictures,” she said. “I looked at those pictures and thought, ‘that’s a bummer.'”
Sierra’s mom encouraged her to get healthy and shared information about the weight management program at Mercy Health. After attending a free information session, Sierra decided to participate. Part of her decision came from the fact that two of the health educators running the program had been through their own weight loss transformations.
Making lifestyle changes for weight loss
The program approaches weight loss as a lifestyle change, not a diet. It includes meetings, a mid-week phone call and a weekly weigh-in, along with exercise and nutritional tools. Sierra liked that the program included built-in accountability, as well as a group of people who were all working toward a common goal.
Brian, one of Sierra’s health educators, was a key motivator on her journey. He was also instrumental in showing her that progress will come with ups and downs.
“I’ll never forget, at the beginning if I fluctuated or if I didn’t lose one week, I would be so frustrated,” she said. “He’d remind me that this is a journey. This is a lifetime thing. You have to recognize there will be ups and downs.”
Part of the lifestyle change Mercy Health – Weight Management Solutions incorporates is more physical activity. For Sierra, learning to love exercise was about more than just weight loss. She tried everything from group fitness to watching workout videos on YouTube.
Now, Sierra has found what she most enjoys and does cardio or lifts weights up to six days a week.
“Being around healthier people, being in a routine is so important,” she said. “I think if you make it a habit, it’s a lot easier. When you fall off, it’s easier to get back on.”
Conquering weight loss challenges
As a college student, Sierra faced some unique challenges during her lifestyle change. When her friends went out for drinks, she chose to skip those calories and eat sensibly. When living in the dorm, she made her own meals instead of eating in the cafeteria.
“When you feel like you can’t do it anymore, reach out to people who have been there and have been successful,” Sierra said. “Surround yourself with people who love you, care for you and want you to do well.”
While some days can be challenging, Sierra said making excuses isn’t helpful. While it’s natural to have a bad day every now and then, the key is not letting one day spiral into several. Instead of feeling sorry for herself, she puts that energy into getting back on track.
“Being fat is hard and working out is hard. You have to choose your hard,” Sierra said. “Do I want to track my food, or do I want to be where I was again? I don’t find gratitude in eating terribly anymore. It’s not worth it to me.”
While the transformation she has achieved has been difficult, Sierra believes anyone can do it.
In addition to the Health Management Resources program, Mercy Health offers surgical weight-loss options and adolescent weight management programs. Our weight management team is here to help you make a lifestyle change that will help you live the life you deserve. Learn more about your options and how you can get started today.