Age: Laura 46 & Dave 49
Highest weight: Laura 248 & Dave 280
Weight now: Laura 144 & Dave 185
Total pounds lost: Laura 104 & Dave 95 †
What was the turning point that motivated your lifestyle change?
As I was nearing the end of physical therapy for a chronic hip issue and wondering what the next step would be, my PT, who is one of my best friends, challenged me to train for a triathlon. I simply stared at her and said, "You realize I am 210 pounds and have a total knee replacement, right?!" Her answer? "Do what you can." So I shocked her by taking her up on her challenge and signed up for a duathlon as my first event. Dave saw how I was getting more active and he wanted to spend time with me as I was training for events.
How did MyFoodDiary.com help in your weight loss journey?
It helped us to become more mindful of when and what we ate. Neither of us realized how many calories we ate due to mindless snacking through the day, or how much that second helping at dinner was playing a part in our maintaining or gaining weight. Also, seeing the smiley faces on our MyFoodDiary Daily Report at the end of the day is a nice touch, too.
Describe your new, healthy lifestyle?
We move our bodies consistently with purpose. We have at least one race set up a month to keep our focus. Moving our bodies and mindful eating has been key for us. We know how many calories we are allotted each day and stick to that pretty closely. When we go over our allotment, there is no beating ourselves up, we just go back to what we know the next day.
What has been your biggest challenge, and how have you overcome it?
Knowing that there will always be foods that fall into the empty calorie category, we make adjustments so that we can still enjoy some of those foods. It may mean a much smaller portion, just to satisfy the taste for it. It may mean we increase our activity level. We have found ourselves thinking, "Is this going to be worth the calories?"
What is one new healthy habit you didn’t expect to like, but you now love?
Dave—Ground Turkey. Being a Kansan, I was raised on beef. I eat ground beef now and notice how heavy it tastes. Recipes now taste better because the turkey seems to be lighter in flavor, and it takes on the flavor of the spices we use.
Laura—Training. I always knew exercise was good for mind, body, and spirit, but now I have come to dislike my scheduled rest days. I actually miss working out. I feel so much better when I get my workouts in.
What has been the greatest reward of your weight loss success?
Dave— Being more active. I can do things that I never did, or had great difficulty in doing, when I was heavy. I feel better and have more energy. Before I could only cycle 10 miles. Now, Laura and I can ride our bike 50 miles in one day, and I have little difficulty in doing so. I have been able to control my diabetes with exercise as well.
Laura—Seeing my family and friends make the choice to become more healthy and fit on their own terms. I didn't wag my finger at them saying, "You should exercise with me or eat better." Our family participates in races together, and because we all share in the same mindset about fitness, it has created a stronger level of connection between us. Who could possibly ask for more?!
What's next? Any upcoming plans that were influenced by your weight loss?
Dave—I decided to put my new level of fitness to the test, and I will be running my first half marathon at the Detroit Free Press Marathon in October.
Laura—I have moved from my career as a physical therapist assistant to being a Personal Development Coach. I have also set a goal to compete in 50 events by the time I turn 50. Right now, I am 46 and have already completed 21.
What is your best advice for others?
Healthy Eating. Realize that you have to decide to make sustainable food choices. You can't just cut out all your favorite foods and have consistent success. Learn to make your favorite recipes with healthier options, and use portion control when it comes to those foods that may not be the best choice. Use the 3 bite rule. The first one is always the best tasting, and the third is to be savored because it's the last one.
Body Movement. Find 1-3 activities that you enjoy and that are a little challenging; you will likely never stick with a physical activity if you go into it dreading it. Also, consistency is a major key. The days we don't feel like working out are usually the most satisfying because we pushed through our excuses and just did it.
General Healthy Lifestyle. Realize fitness is a lifestyle; that means it's a sustainable way of living life. It might sound funny but when you engage in a physical activity it is a mind, body, and spirit experience. You will feel better mentally and emotionally because you made yourself a priority and stuck with it. This translates to the obvious physical benefits, but it is also a place where you can pray, meditate, or commune with nature, and that helps your spiritual connection just as much.