Each Tuesday we feature a different success story from the Trading Cardio for Cosmos community in a new segment called “Twenty Questions With…” Young, young at heart, marathon runners and those who can’t exercise at all, vegetarians, pescatarians, working mommas, work-from-home professionals and retirees. We’re going to showcase them all, because when you read about someone like you succeeding, I think it gives you the confidence that you too can succeed!
This week I want to introduce you to Alison, who is a five-year Weight Watchers Canada member who just made Lifetime in January! Alison has some great advice about balancing diet and exercise, and not missing any of what life has to offer! And anyone who makes Lifetime over the holidays is someone I want to learn from! You can follow her on Instagram at @Alison_Loves_WWlife!
Now onto the questions:
Give us the basics about you – your first name, age, region you live in, etc.
My name is Alison, and I’m 29 years old. I live in Edmonton, Alberta.
When did you start your weight-loss journey? What was the “tipping point” that made you start?
My first time on Weight Watchers was in 2009 through an at-work program. A friend was joining and asked if I was interested and I thought “why not?” It worked well and I lost 40 lbs.
However, I then travelled Europe for 6 weeks, moved provinces for work, and through all of this I put the weight back on. I started attending meetings again in 2011 and this time I was able to reach Lifetime!
What is one piece of advice you wish you had known when you started out?
I wish that I had taken my body measurements and specific before pictures so that I could see the progression during my weight loss journey. As well, I think understanding how important it is to not get comfortable and just track what you think or assume is the right portion – I heard it, but maybe not enough!
How much weight have you lost? If you are done losing, and are on to maintaining? How long have you been maintaining your loss?
I have lost 63 lbs and reached Lifetime on January 13, 2016, which meant finishing up my Maintenance over the holidays!
How do you keep your motivation up?
Seeing the success I’ve had while following Weight Watchers and how much I’ve changed both physically and personally continues to motivate me on a daily basis. As well, trying new activities, recipes, and exercises keeps me engaged and focused.
How do you handle cravings?
I’ve learned to tell the difference between a passing craving and a true craving. There are a lot of things I look at or see and think to myself “that looks good!” but I’m able to tell myself that I don’t need it today as it will still be around later. When I have a true craving I work it into my day and make sure I’m still focused on portion. And, when I take a bite and it’s not as good as I was expecting I don’t finish it.
What are your top three tips for success?
Have a buddy to hold you accountable and encourage you, positive self-talk, and setting small reasonable goals.
Do you exercise? If so, how often, for how long and what type of exercises do you do?
I started getting into an exercise routine a couple of years ago. I now go to the gym for about 5-6 hours a week. During the week I find that I get the best workout if I go right after work as I definitely get that boost of energy and release any tension from work. I love the elliptical for cardio, but also enjoy spin classes, and strength training. I also got into running two summers ago and am planning on running my first half-marathon in 2016.
What is your favorite breakfast?
My current go-to breakfast is a fast and easy egg white omelette. I use spinach, broccoli, mushrooms, and peppers to bulk it up and top it with pico de gallo and fresh cilantro.
What is your go-to lunch?
I love taking soups and salads to work for lunch. Lunch is usually my biggest meal of the day so I always make sure I have protein, veggies, and an apple. I also look forward to having a no-sugar added pudding for my dessert!
What does a typical week night dinner look like? What about a weekend dinner?
My weeknight dinners vary but I usually try to have something ready that doesn’t take long to prep after the gym. Chili, spaghetti squash, or a piece of fish with veggies are my usual choices. During the weekend I like trying new recipes, my recent favorite is creamy butternut squash curry quinoa with a side of spicy roasted brussel sprouts.
What kind of snacks do you like?
I eat many different types of fruit but I try to substitute veggies in at least twice a day. I enjoy raw veggies with a single portion guacamole or greek yogurt dip. My go-to snack before I hit the gym is fat free plain greek yogurt with frozen fruit and cinnamon. I also use low-fat or air popped popcorn for a treat in the evening. I always have something handy and find that small snacks throughout the day prevent me from going overboard if I get too hungry.
What kind of desserts do you eat?
I’m a bit of a chocoholic and therefore my favorite dessert is a low-fat frozen fudge bar. I also freeze sliced bananas and whip them up into an ice cream substitute.
What kind of adult beverages do you enjoy?
I always enjoy a glass of wine, red or white, but try to save it for dinner out or drinks with friends.
What is your favorite meal to eat in a restaurant?
I love ordering steak (cooked without oil and no sauce) when I’m dining out at restaurants. I don’t cook it at home and find that it’s a great choice, in terms of SmartPoints, especially when ordered with steamed vegetables and a glass of wine.
Do you have a favorite fast food/casual dining meal?
I don’t eat out very often at fast food places as I prefer using my points on trying new and different restaurants. However, when I need to, I usually go for a whole wheat pita or green salad with grilled chicken or prawns.
Do you have a favorite weight loss blog/website/FB group that you visit for inspiration?
I enjoy following a variety of weight loss related accounts on Instagram. They motivate me, show me that I’m not the only one on this journey of ups and downs, and provide me with some great new meal ideas.
Do you have a favorite website for healthy recipes?
My all-time favorite website for healthy recipes is Skinnytaste. I have made many of her recipes and have gotten my family members all hooked on her Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili.
Do you have a favorite quote, meme or thought that keeps you motivated?
“Don’t exchange what you want the most for what you want in the moment”. I’ve had this posted on my fridge since the start of my Weight Watchers journey and it’s helped to keep me grounded and on the right track.
What’s one final thought you can share with someone who’s interested in losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight?
Don’t give up and live the program! It took me 5 years to reach Lifetime with many ups and downs and long lasting plateaus. But through it all I continued to go to meetings and get re-energized each week. I believed in the program and myself enough to stick with it…and it paid off!
Alison, thank you so much for sharing your journey with us! Have questions for Alison? Share them in the comments below!