Each Tuesday we feature a different success story from the Trading Cardio for Cosmos community in a 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 Serina, who I got to know and follow through her incredibly inspiring (and funny) Instagram account @Leave_Me_Alone_Pizza! Good, less good, funny, serious – Serina keeps it real, and she shows such a fierceness and joy of life. I love seeing her posts, and with -95lbs gone, she’s a GREAT role model for all of us!
Now onto the questions:
1. Give us the basics about you – your first name, age, region you live in, etc.
My name is Serina. I am 33 years old and I’m from Orange County, California.
2. When did you start your weight-loss journey? What was the “tipping point” that made you start?
I joined Weight Watchers January 1, 2013. I know that everyone expects to hear people say they had a defining moment in their lives where they knew they had to make a change, but I didn’t have one of those moments. I was, simply put, fed up. Fed up with feeling uncomfortable, fed up with being unhappy in own body, and fed up with feeling like I was missing out on a life that had so much potential.
3. What is one piece of advice you wish you had known when you started out?
I wish I had known that losing weight does not happen overnight. It takes time. A lot of time. Everyone gets discouraged, because we all have this deadline in our minds when it comes to weight loss, but the reality is that slow and steady wins the race. This is a lifestyle. There is no end in sight. Take your time to figure out what works best for you.
4. 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 90 pounds, and I need to lose about 2 more pounds to hit Lifetime member with WW.
5. How do you keep your motivation up?
This is a question that I get a lot. I find my motivation in the mirror most of the time. When I look at myself and don’t immediately feel a sense of disappointment that is what keeps me going. Old pictures help too. I don’t recognize myself when I come across them. Oh, and exercise! I never thought that I would be the person who works out six days a week, but I actually look forward to it now, and it makes me feel strong.
6. How do you handle cravings?
Oh, this is a good question. How do I handle cravings? Well, I guess that it depends on what it is. If it’s something small, like say a cookie, then I check the point value on my WW app, and enjoy. Other times, I try to keep myself busy, and not think about it. I have gone outside to mow my lawn to avoid the kitchen, and the Munchies Monster. If I’m out, and about running errands, and I see something that tempts me (yes, you McDonald’s) I ask myself, “Did I want this before I saw it?” 99% of the time the answer is “no.”
7. What are your top three tips for success?
First, find some kind of support. Your spouse, your friends, Instagram, your personal trainer. Anyone who is going to pull your head out of the fridge, and steer you in the right direction when you derail. Second, keep your kitchen free of junk food. If you don’t have it in the house you can’t eat it. Third, practice being kind to yourself. Learn to forgive yourself for less than perfect days. I know I can be my own worst enemy, but I can also be my biggest supporter, and I prefer the latter.
8. Do you exercise? If so, how often, for how long and what type of exercises do you do?
I do exercise. I exercise 6 days a week for an hour. Three days a week I am at the gym doing strength training, and cardio. The other three days I workout at home. I will usually go for a jog, but if it’s too cold/hot out I will use YouTube and do stuff, like, cardio kick boxing, and HIIT routines.
9. What is your favorite breakfast?
I keep my breakfast pretty simple. I usually have an egg with egg whites, and a light whole wheat English muffin with some fruit. Sometimes I will add a turkey patty, or lean bacon.
10. What is your go-to lunch?
I go through bouts where I eat the same thing for days in a row. Right now I’m hooked on tuna sandwiches. I mix a Star Kiss tuna packet (0sp) with a tbsp of low cal mayo (1sp) and a tbsp of relish (0). I put it on top of Sara Lee 45 calorie bread (two slices is 2sp).
11. What does a typical week night dinner look like? What about a weekend dinner?
A typical night at my house for dinner always includes a meal prepared by me. I do my grocery shopping every Monday, so I make a list of stuff that I need for the recipes that I will make that week. I of course use WW recipes, and I also make a lot of Skinny Taste recipes, as well. I have a subscription to Cooking Light magazine that I also get really good recipes from. I have two teenage kids, so making sure that the meals are kid friendly is important to me. Weekend dinners are always out at a restaurant. I look up point values beforehand, and plan ahead.
12. What kind of snacks do you like?
Snacks have become a lot healthier since SP started. I used to snack on stuff like NutriGrain bars, and Special K bars, but those have gone up in point value, so I splurge on them when/if I have extra points at the end of the day. I have been snacking a lot on apples with PB2, pineapple, and celery with a Laughing Cow wedge.
13. What kind of desserts do you eat?
Desserts? What is that? Ha! I used to have ice cream all the time on PP, but again, point values have gone up, so ice cream no more. I will have a cup of coffee with sugar free creamer (1sp) and some Trader Joe coconut cookies (3sp).
14. What kind of adult beverages do you enjoy?
15. What is your favorite meal to eat in a restaurant?
My favorite right now is at BJ’s Restaurant and Brewery. They have a killer dinner plate called Chicken Barbocoa. It’s only 12sp and so delicious.
16. Do you have a favorite fast food/casual dining meal?
I think El Pollo Loco qualifies as fast food, so I will say that their Double Chicken Avocado Salad is my favorite.
17. Do you have a favorite weight loss blog/website/FB group that you visit for inspiration?
18. Do you have a favorite website for healthy recipes?
SkinnyTaste wins this one hands down. Gina’s recipes are easy to follow and are always a hit with my family.
19. Do you have a favorite quote, meme or thought that keeps you motivated?
20. What’s one final thought you can share with someone who’s interested in losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight?
Take it one day at a time, and focus on the small things that you do day to day to help you get to your goal.