Name: Stacey S.
Starting Weight: 217 lbs
Weight now: 170 lbs
Lost: 47 lbs
What was the turning point that motivated your lifestyle change?
I injured my back in a snowboarding accident. Before doing an x-ray, I decided to check if I was pregnant -- and I was! I have a beautiful son now, but with the injury and a very tough pregnancy, the pounds just kept creeping on. When my son was 1 ½ years old, my back felt better, and I started exercising little by little. I was very concerned about my excess weight, and I was also concerned about possible health problems that might arise from it, such as diabetes or even cancer. So I gave myself a present on my 31st birthday. I started following a healthy eating plan. I wanted to be able to track my food intake better, so I joined MyFoodDiary.
How did MyFoodDiary help in your weight loss journey?
Even when following a healthy diet, it is easy to make poor choices for serving sizes or food groups. MyFoodDiary tells me when I need to take in more iron, more protein, or less saturated fat. It reminds me to exercise as well. It is an interesting and rewarding challenge to track my success and see the results in the graphs and reports, and in the mirror.
Describe your new, healthy lifestyle?
I always eat breakfast now. I stop eating at the moment I feel satisfied, and I rethink my menu if I feel hungry too soon before the next meal. I keep my dessert calories under 300. I watch my saturated fat, salt, calcium, and iron intake much more easily now. I eat mostly high fiber carbs. I make sure to exercise, and if I forget or don’t have the life force for it, I dance with my son around the apartment, I take a long walk, or I use the stationary bike.
What has been your biggest challenge, and how have you overcome it?
When I feel bad, I either lose my appetite, or I turn to the fridge. It is very difficult for me to follow a strict diet. What I found most effective by combining a healthy eating plan and MyFoodDiary is that there is variety and a guideline. Before I open the real fridge, I open my virtual one in my MFD account and there is good stuff in there. When I choose the not-so-good stuff, I can see the result of it in the charts, not on my hips. I have a chance to reconsider, which I usually do. It is sometimes hard to keep the diary, or enter new foods, but it is something that just needs to be part of the routine, like brushing teeth.
What is one new healthy habit you didn't expect to like, but now love?
I didn't expect to like eating fruits for snacks. I never really liked fruits, but seeing how much fiber and vitamins they contain, I started having them for snacks with fat-free cheddar cheese, peanut butter, or a slice of reduced-sodium ham. I started experimenting and found the fruits I actually like.
What has been the greatest reward of your weight loss success?
It is hard to choose the greatest, since weight gain was such a tremendous hinder for me in so many ways. Seeing that I can do something that major, seeing that I can fit back into my clothes, and that I can hike as much as I did before are all rewards.
What is your best advice for others?
Comfort food sometimes seems like a good idea, but remember that it is only for a short term. Food will not solve any of your problems, and unhealthy food will make you feel even worse. If you absolutely need comfort food, think of healthier ideas. For me, it is vegetable chips instead of regular potato chips. I also substitute my favorite 350-calories-per-mug hot chocolate with a homemade one. I mix a tablespoon of cocoa in a cup of boiling water with a teaspoon of maple syrup and a little bit of fat free milk. It is about 60 calories for a cup of a rich chocolate drink instead of the 350 in the pre-made product.
It takes only 60 minutes a day to exercise. Make it a 20 minute walk or a bike ride, and 40 minutes of compound exercises. It jump starts your metabolism, energizes your body, and it makes you feel less stressed out. It is a perfect time to concentrate on yourself and express your love for life.
If you fell off the wagon, don’t get discouraged. Life is not a success or failure, it is a path. Just stand up, dust yourself off, and jump right back on.