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!
Today I want to introduce to you Lifetime Weight Watcher member and new Weight Watcher employee Ilene. Ilene is a Simply Filling devotee, and she balances an active social life with a good dose of moderation and a realistic approach to her weight loss journey. She’s also incredibly positive and encouraging, and I definitely recommend finding her in the “Simple Cooking With Ilene & Friends” page on Facebook!
1. Give us the basics about you – your first name, age, region you live in, etc.
My name is Ilene. I’m 52 years young and I live in Forest Hills, NY.
2. When did you start your weight-loss journey? What was the “tipping point” that made you start?
I started my weight loss journey September 2014 because I was so unhappy with my weight. I had gained 40 pounds when my mother died, and ate all my emotions. I couldn’t stand myself! I was so out of control with my eating. I was depressed and I became an addicted to food. I was a bottomless pit and always hungry.
The depression really made me become an introvert where I wouldn’t want to go out with friends, go to a party and even getting dressed deciding what to wear was stressful. I wanted to be happy again and knew I needed a change. I joined Weight Watchers as a meeting member and changed my attitude and life by practicing the Simply Filling Technique.
3. What is one piece of advice you wish you had known when you started out?
I am really lucky to have had Weight Watchers as my plan and very fortunate to have found certain Facebook groups that dedicated themselves to the Simply Filling lifestyle 24-7. But one piece of advice I have for others is to be consistent and never give up, as well as the importance of having a support network at all times.
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 44 pounds! I’ve been maintaining for 5 months but have lost additional weight since reaching goal. I am finally at peace with my appearance!
5. How do you keep your motivation up?
Motivation comes in waves for me. When I am good, I am very, very good. And when I am bad, I fix it with the very next meal and remember why I started and how depressed I was! And I love clothing so that is a good motivator!
6. How do you handle cravings?
Cravings, for me, come when I over-indulge in sugar. I get back to basics and eat whole, non-processed foods and concentrate on lean protein. Simply Filling all the way!
7. What are your top three tips for success?
1. Consistency is key.
2. Focus on what you really want.
3. Remember your “WHYS and “HOW.”
8. Do you exercise? If so, how often, for how long and what type of exercises do you do?
I never liked formal exercise, but my Fitbit helps me move more! I do try to get in 10,000 steps every day.
9. What is your favorite breakfast?
My favorite breakfast is 1/2 a cup of egg whites with a cup of veggies and a tablespoon of FF ricotta cheese! Yum! Simply Filling and full-plate living!
10. What is your go-to lunch?
My go-to lunch is a mixed green salad with a can of tuna and colorful raw veggies! Easy peasy! I will on occasion have 5-6 pieces of sushi made with brown rice and a side salad.
11. What does a typical week night dinner look like? What about a weekend dinner?
I love fish for dinner! I love hamburgers for dinner! I use 96/4 ground beef and light sandwich thins to make a mile high skinny burger with lettuce and tomato!
My husband and I go out to dinner on the weekends and while I do try to make better choices, most of the time I practice portion control and split a meal, unless i know exactly what the point values are. There are 21 meals in a week, not including snacks, so I’ve found when I keep that in perspective, those one or two meals where we share can be appreciated without guilt.
I may say no to bread with butter if I’m having a cocktail or planning to share dessert. Always making happy compromises! It’s a trade-off, but no deprivation!
12. What kind of snacks do you like?
I eat apples and berries, such as sliced strawberries or blueberries mostly. I also eat at least 2 fat-free dairy servings a day, which are either a Dannon Light & Fit Greek or Fage 0 yogurt. I also combine my fruit and yogurt to make a more textural treat! I find the protein I get from the yogurt in between meals helps keep the “hangries” away and keep me satiated until the next full meal rolls around.
13. What kind of desserts do you eat?
I love dessert! I usually have an individual container of plain greek yogurt that I mix with a level tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder and one packet of splenda, roughly five nights a week. I call it chocolate “pudding” and I think it’s better than the full-fat version!
Sometimes I layer the yogurt with some berries in a wine glass and top it with a shot of FF redi whip for good measure! I also enjoy 10-calorie lime Jell-o cups. On the weekends I will share one piece of cake or other dessert with my husband or when we go out with others, divided by 4.
14. What kind of adult beverages do you enjoy?
Tequila- no doubt about it! Two shots is ideal for me, but I will have a margarita if I’ve been on a low-carb menu for at least 5 days!
15. What is your favorite meal to eat in a restaurant?
I love a raw bar! Sitting at a great seafood restaurant and enjoying raw clams, cold lobster, chilled shrimp with a shot or two of tequila is pure heaven for me!
16. Do you have a favorite fast food/casual dining meal?
Once in a while my husband and I enjoy Outback Steakhouse. Their 6 ounce signature sirloin is a perfect size and I have it with a naked sweet potato and a side salad with no cheese and no croutons with blue cheese vinaigrette on the side. Yum!
17. Do you have a favorite weight loss blog/website/FB group that you visit for inspiration?
My favorite blog is “Trading Cardio for Cosmos” and I have my own Facebook page at “Simple Cooking With Ilene & Friends.”
18. Do you have a favorite website for healthy recipes?
I’m not a recipe person, but I do try to adapt classic versions of meals with fat-free chicken stock and lower-fat protein options, with no or low sugar.
19. Do you have a favorite quote, meme or thought that keeps you motivated?
Remember why you started! Don’t do it alone!
20. What’s one final thought you can share with someone who’s interested in losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight?.
For me, being a Weight Watchers meeting member has been instrumental in my weight loss and maintenance goals. I weigh in just about every week and never miss a meeting. The program and tools they provide are excellent for me and i enjoy the ease of use!
Ilene, thank you so much for sharing your journey with us! Have questions for Ilene? Share them in the comments below!