How Do You Keep The Weight Off?

Remember a few weeks ago I hosted a baby shower where all the guests were bodybuilders?  (What do Bodybuilder’s Eat at a Baby Shower?)  Well, one of the women who attended, Viv Lynn, was helping me to set everything up and we got to talking.  She’s pretty interesting.

She’s 58 years old, lost over 150 lbs. and kept the weight off for over 3 1/2 years now!  She recently appeared on The Doctors to tell her story, and I thought you might be interested as well.

Viv Lynn - "before"
Viv Lynn – “before”

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

As a Christian, I am passionate about growing in Him and serving others through teaching and children’s ministry. I am 58 years old and been married to my wonderful husband, Ken for 37 years. Our three children, Shane, Katie and Doug and my grandsons, Jaden and Joshua, are a blessing to us! My youngest son, Doug, has special medical needs. After homeschooling my daughter and 8 “adopted” kids one on one, I began teaching full time at One Day Academy and private tutorials in a number of academic disciplines. Currently, I am the Director of Academic Development at One Day Academy (10 campuses) teaching multilevel classes to 5th-12th graders in SAT Prep, ACT Prep,  Study Skills, Critical Thinking and Reading Comprehension. My passions beyond these areas are family, fitness, gardening, and horseback riding.

If you are ok with sharing – 150 lbs is a lot of weight to lose.  Was the weight gain something gradual, were you always heavy from a young age, or was there something that caused you to gain weight suddenly, like an illness?

I was always somewhat large – a size 14-16, but very athletic throughout highschool and early years of college. I was involved in equestrian events, swim team, softball, basketball and track. I gained a significant amount of weight after I broke my back as a result of a fall off a horse while training it over a jump course. The forced rest, boredom and frustration provided opportunity for emotional release through food consumption, and I gained 37 pounds during that 6 months of rehabilitation! Thereafter, it gently spiraled upward each year with increasing workload and decreased activity, but gourmet newlywed cooking!

Lots of people try diet and exercise and fail.  You succeeded and have kept it off for three and a half years!  What is your secret?

  • Even though I exercise 4-6 days per week (3 sessions weight training and 3 cardio sessions), very careful adherence to a clean eating program has been vital for me. Over a period of 3 years my diet has gotten cleaner and cleaner, without sauces, dressings, nor sugar – only Truvia used sparingly for my preworkout steel oats.

    Well balanced meal
    Well balanced meal
  • I eat 7 meals a day, but fairly small ones.
  • High quality protein comprises a significant part of my consumption with lean turkey, fish and chicken as well as egg whites.
  • Almost 90% of my carbs come from raw or lightly steamed vegetables, but a few complex quality carbs like steel oats, bulgur ad sweet potato or yam round my diet.
  • Good fats in moderation have been essential (almonds, walnuts, salmon, gently boiled egg or avocado)
  • Additionally, I drink solely water 97% of time (herbal tea or coffee complete the ensemble), but do get calcium supplements.
  • Another huge key to my success is having a friend or friends to walk through the journey with you, especially one who is knowledgeable and will keep you accountable. I’m blessed with a great family, friends and an awesome trainer who are a continual source of inspiration to me.

What inspired you to lose weight?

In November 2008, I broke my leg after running. I was 312 pounds, and used the elliptical at 24 Hr Fitness three times a week. I was fairly osteoporotic, and my muscles were stronger than my bones that day. In Feb 2009, after my leg had healed somewhat, I sought a personal trainer to help with the rehabilitation of my leg. The Lord gave me Robin Johnson, professional bodybuilder and trainer extraordinaire to patiently rehab my leg, teach me how take good care of my body, lose weight and reshape my body through weight training. He has been a wellspring of inspiration, a compendium of information / education about how my body works as well as becoming a dear and trusted friend.Viv with trainer Robin Johnson

How has fitness changed your life?

I have a tremendous sense of well-being, knowing that I’m a good steward of my body, that I’ve created a well-functioning machine that will give me optimal service. I love the balance fitness brings to my life. It has become an anchor when the storms of life rage. Additionally, I like the way I look now!

Viv Lynn - now
Viv Lynn – now

Did your dramatic weight loss impact any of your relationships?

It seems to have encouraged a few others that they, too, can do HARD things! I told my husband that I’m giving him a new wife on the installment plan. We have even more fun now!

What are your fitness goals for the future?

I want to continue to grow in fitness and lose a few more pounds, and continue to sculpt my body. A balance of cardio and weight training will accomplish that. I’d like to continue to rehab my leg and arthritic knees to complete function! I’d love to get involved in more sports again, as my intense work schedule allows.

Any advice for people wanting to lose weight/change their lifestyle?

Count the cost! Are you truly serious about this? Commitment is vital. You will continue to grow if you never give up, even though you’ll have intermittent setbacks!

Assess your weaknesses, and provide a resource to accommodate them. For example, if consistency is a weakness, then an accountability partner or gym buddy is helpful!

I sincerely recommend getting an amazing trainer; YOU are worth it! Good form in weight training accentuates the growth and prevents injury. Remember that this is your journey! Don’t waste another minute lamenting your fate – DO something about it!


Well said!  Thank you, Viv, for sharing your story!

Lisa ;) (c) 2014 Lisa Traugott.  All rights reserved.  No portion of this blog, including any text, photographs, and artwork, may be reproduced or copied without written permission.

6 thoughts on “How Do You Keep The Weight Off?

  1. Wow, what an incredible lady! So inspirational 🙂 It’s awesome that she had found a balance she’s genuinely happy with. Competition diets are TOUGH! Definitely not the easiest, but she’s doing it right, congrats to her!


    1. She is one of those people who was able to successfully switch over from dieting to leading a healthy lifestyle. It’s encouraging.

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