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Motivation helped woman lose 100 pounds

by PAULA WETHINGTON Monroe (Mich.) News on March 18, 2014 11:00 AM

FLAT ROCK, Mich. — The fact that Yvette Vajcner, of Flat Rock, lost 100 pounds in almost exactly one year is remarkable.

The additionally impressive detail is that she achieved this goal without the help of a professional trainer or weight loss service membership. She researched and created her own diet and meal plans and her exercise plan was stepping on an old treadmill day after day, she said.

“It was all me and the will to change my life,” she wrote on her account.

Vajcner also did this while working full time and raising three young children with her husband.

[PHOTO:  In a March 1, 2014 photo, Yvette Vajcner of Newport, left, joked with her sister Mercedes Toman, center, and friend Jackie Solsburg during a surprise party held at the Frenchtown Branch Library in Frenchtown Township, Mich., to celebrate her 100-pound weight loss. (AP Photo/Monroe Evening News, Kim Brent)]

“She was motivated. She was going to do it,” her mother-in-law, Kathy Vajcner said.

To celebrate the fact Vajcner reached her goal weight of 100 pounds, 50 of her family members and friends packed the community room of the local library on March 1 to throw a surprise party in her honor.

The event was planned by her sister, Mercedes Toman, of Monroe.

Even as Toman helped pick up the children from the car, Vajcner had the impression that the party was in honor of another family member.

But as she entered the room with her husband, Bill, she realized everyone was looking at her.

To tell the story, 100 paper stars with each milestone were hung on the walls around the community room: 2 pounds. 5 pounds. 27 pounds. 28 pounds. 56 pounds. 64 pounds. 100 pounds. Other signs said “Woot, Woot!” “You Rock.” “So Proud of You.”

Fresh fruit, vegetable trays and other treats were set out for refreshments and a pile of congratulatory gifts were on the floor.

Vajcner was first speechless, then in tears.

“I’m just completely in shock,” she said to her loved ones. “Thank you. You got me good.”

The effort took one year and two weeks to accomplish. She started at 259 pounds. As of March 1, she was at 158 pounds and down to a size 6 in clothing. That’s close to her high school weight of 146 pounds.

Vajcner said her frustrations with being heavy reached a peak in summer 2012. She realized she was too out of shape to play actively with her children, now ages 2οΎ½, 4 and 6.

“I wanted to be the best mom I could to them. I couldn’t play in the yard without getting winded,” she said.

She was a volunteer for the local chapter of The American Cancer Society Relay for Life team, but could walk only for one of the hours she had pledged.

When she was invited to a family member’s wedding, she was in tears trying to find an appropriate outfit and dreaded looking at the photos afterward.

“I just hated what I looked like,” she said.

She knew that that day she could barely fit in her size 20 pants, but didn’t want to buy a size 22.

“I think the straw that broke the camel’s back was my grandmother telling me, very lovingly of course, that I was too young to be so heavy,” Vajcner said after the party.

“I had years to live and kids to raise, she said. I was changing a diaper on the floor that morning before work and I had to crawl to the couch to get myself up off the floor. My knees hurt and they were popping so bad.”

An annual health assessment through her employer, Flat Rock Metal, pointed out she weighed 259 pounds.

The effort began Feb. 11, 2013. She used the free online and smartphone app tracker to log her diet and exercise.

She looked up World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control guidelines for calorie intake and diet recommendations and created her own meal plans.

“I stuck with it and only changed it when I found I had too much salt or too much sugar,” she said.

For example, she swapped around Greek yogurt brands several times in an effort to fine-tune her food plan.

“Once I found a menu that worked, I clung to it and the treadmill for dear life,” Vajcner said.

The fact that she had a treadmill is a story in itself.

She purchased it at a garage sale in 2009, but soon quit. It was passed around the family until she got it back in 2012.

She decided to schedule a treadmill session five days a week and it took weeks before she could manage it for more than 30 minutes at a time.

“But I did it.”

Every six to eight weeks, she was changing clothing sizes. To handle that, she got a lot of hand-me-down clothes and in turn donated her larger size clothing to a women’s shelter.

All the while Vajcner kept an account of her progress on Facebook and MyFitnessPal, although most of the photos stayed in a hidden private album until she felt comfortable sharing them.

That being said, many of the friends and family who are connected to her on Facebook knew what she was doing. And as Toman explained, a lot of support and “You can do it” messages came that way.

When the 100-pound point approached, Toman and the others began their plans “Nobody’s ever thrown her a party,” the sister said.

And now, she’s more than happy to share her story of persistence and determination.

“If even one person is inspired to change their life for the better, I will consider all of this worth it,” she said.

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