Let’s jump in to her story:
✋ At what moment did you realize you HAD to lose weight?
My whole family had finally made it to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. I was so excited to experience the Forbidden Journey ride with my daughter, who was seven and just getting into Harry Potter. We waited in line for forever, and when it was finally our turn, I went to sit down, and the bar would not come down over my stomach. Full of humiliation, I insisted it wasn’t a big deal and told my family to enjoy the ride. I hid my head and cried as I walked down the exit walkway.
At that point, I told myself I would never again miss out on having fun with my family because of my weight.
1️⃣ What was the first step you took towards transforming your body?
I started meal prepping and calorie counting. Having pre-made/measured food ready to go at a moments notice was key to not slide back into bad habits. My husband and I turned it into our Sunday afternoon activity which made it fun and feel less like a chore since we were doing it together.
💻 What apps/websites/resources did you use?
My Fitness Pal, Fitbit, and Reddit were incredibly helpful in the beginning. R/loseit is full of helpful people that are always game to give advice when needed.
🍳 What kind of adjustments did you make to your diet?
Some form of protein should always be on your plate and it should always be the first thing you eat. I don’t believe in cutting out certain food groups all together, but prioritizing proteins helped limit my intake of carbs and sugars.
🥕 What were your go-to staple foods that helped you achieve your goals?
String cheese and salami, hard boiled eggs, celery and peanut butter, and protein shakes are forever staples at my house. As for meals, I take a lot of pride in finding new and interesting ways to make grilled chicken breast taste amazing. A good marinade can be your best friend!
💊 Did you take any supplements along the way? If yes, how useful were they for you? If not, why not?
I use whey protein in some way or form every day. Either a scoop in a morning smoothie, or on its own with some almond milk before a work out. Getting extra protein in is a great way to feel full and give you energy.
💪 Can you talk a little bit about what you found to work the best in terms of physical exercise? What worked best for you and why?
I started super slow and at home. YouTube workout videos became my best friend. I made it my goal to get 15 minutes of dance cardio in every day, then slowly increased that number as my stamina grew. Now I subscribe to a live 60 minute HIIT class that I do three times a week from the comfort of my living room.
Once I felt comfortable, I did get into a gym and tried out weight lifting for the first time. I developed a love for it. Covid has made it hard to get back to the weights, but I find keeping up with walks and at home workouts are a good substitute for the time being.
🧾 What was the best advice you received (or read) along the way?
Just keep going. You’re going to mess up. You’ll have a cheat meal when you’re not supposed to. You might find yourself in a binge. You may have ordered the dessert you promised yourself you wouldn’t. It doesn’t matter. Don’t let your screw up define you and undo all the work you’ve already put into yourself. Just keep going. You’re worth it.
🥵 What was the hardest part about your journey? How did you overcome it?
Comparing myself to others. I would read stories about how someone my same age, weight, and height simply gave up soda and dropped 50lbs in two months. It felt incredibly discouraging when I was eating a 1200 calorie diet, only ever drank water, was working out five days a week, and struggling to lose two pounds. There were many times I wanted to give up because it felt too hard or even unfair.
But once I stopped focusing on others, and put that energy back into myself, I realized consistency was key. It may take me a little longer than others, but as long as I kept going, I kept losing.
💡 Was there an ‘aha’ moment where everything began to click?
There was one time my family and I were traveling and we had to stop at fast food along the way. I got what used to be my regular order from McDonald’s and balked at the amount of food they gave me. After a few bites, I felt terrible. I then realized that that was how I used to feel all the time. Bloated, uncomfortable, and unsatisfied. That was when I decided to never go back.
😎 How has your life changed since the day you took your before photo?
I don’t sit on the bench when I take my kids to the park anymore. I look for fun activities to do as a family on the weekends now instead of spending it in front of the TV. I don’t hide my body when taking photos anymore and I give a full smile instead of a half one I used to because I didn’t want my face to look too wide. I can buy clothes in the non-plus size section of the store. I feel comfortable in my own skin.
❤ Based on your experience, what advice would you give to our readers who are starting off as the ‘old’ you?
Even your smallest step is still a step. Don’t feel like you have to jump into everything with full force right from the start. Take your time and go at your own pace.
Thanks for the interview, Melanie!