After a snowboarding accident consigned her to crutches, 30-year-old Rona Samson, a department manager for an IT-BPO conpany, was forced to abandon her active lifestyle and turn to food. After gaining more than a hundred pounds in a span of six months, she decided that her previous lifestyle was a hundred times better.

Two yeras ago, while snowboarding in Seattle, Rona had a serious accident. "I fell on my left knee and fractured my patella (knee cap) in six places," she says. She had four surgeries to repair the kneecap and was on and off crutches, after another accidental slip broke her still-recovering leg. "I experienced massive muscle atrophy. [The fracture] was so severe that the orthopedic surgeon didn't want me to move it right away so the bone can heal. " she says. "I've always been big bones, but I reached 250 lbs. because I ate a lot."

When doctors told her that any extra weight would put a lot of pressure on her injured knee and make walking difficult, Rona decided to shape up. "I wasn't even 30 at that time, and I was getting high blood pressure, plantar fasciitis [inflammation in the sole of the foot], sleep apnea... all those health issues at such a young age. I had to change something."

Rona is fortunate to have a supportive boyfriend, Eric, a member of the Philippine Volcanoes rugby team. No fried foods for this athletic couple. Rona bakes or grills their food. There's less sodium and carbs in the diet. "I eat every three to four hours and drink plenty of water," she says.

As for their workout routine, she shared that she and Eric do cardio in the morning. She also jogs and does spin classes. "My goal by November is to join a duathlon (a run-bike-run event)."

"I'm stronger now," Rona says. She recalls when her doctor told her that she might not be able to wear high heels. "I just did the SM Ladies Plus Size Fashion Finale, and I was walking the ramp in high heels." The biggest rewards are in health: No more snoring, better sleep, which means she accomplishes more without tiring easily.

1. Diet changes are a must. "Cut down on carbs if you won't be able to burn it. Engage in cardio. Cut down on salt. Replace unhealthy oil with olive oil."
2. Start slow. "Challenge yourself every two weeks--do 30 minutes for two weeks, then increase the time or intensity for the next two weeks. Beat your own record."
3. No more excuses. "Take it in stride. If you are unable to go to the gym for a legitimate reason, resume the next session harder."

Looking for more weight loss inspiration? Find out how five other women shed off the pounds by grabbing a copy of the September 2013 issue of Women’s Health! You can also subscribe to the magazine’s digital edition.

Also in this issue:
Slim Down Fast
Judy Ann Santos: On Bracing Challenges and Keeping the Weight Off
Banish Junk Food Cravings, Stat!

(Photo by Karen Kho)

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