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 Shandy, a fellow Weight Watchers Ambassador! Shandy has lost -28.1lbs in 2016 on her way to her goal of losing -60lbs and I love her take on WHY Weight Watchers works for her and what she’s done to be successful with her program. Check out her three tips for success and how she handles her meals – tons of great inspiration there!
1. Give us the basics about you – your first name, age, region you live in, etc.
My name is Shandy. I’m 34, married with two children and living in New Bedford, MA.
2. When did you start your weight-loss journey? What was the “tipping point” that made you start?
I started WW in January 2016. I had tried MANY other weight loss diets and apps, from Loseit, to MFP, to paleo, low carb, vegan, etc. I started to realize that all of our family photos didn’t include me in them, because I was so ashamed of how I looked and felt so uncomfortable in my own body, I knew I had to do something.
3. What is one piece of advice you wish you had known when you started out?
Why didn’t someone tell me how amazing WW was SOONER!!!!! I could have saved so much time, energy, and failed attempts. But hey, you live and you learn!
This is a lifestyle, tracking my food is now second nature to me. I would tell someone to be easy on yourself, don’t expect miracles overnight because this takes a lot of hard work and dedication to YOURSELF and the program. Don’t cheat the program because you will only be cheating yourself in the long run. I have had my peaks and valleys on my weight loss journey, but I promise with patience and perseverance you can and will be successful!
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 28.1 pounds since I started WW on January 3rd 2016. My goal is to lose 60 pounds. It has taken me a little time, many plusses and minus along the way. I know I will reach my goal no matter how long it takes.
5. How do you keep your motivation up?
Instagram is probably my biggest motivator. I have met and made so many wonderful, inspiring friends. Looking on IG always gets me motivated when I am feeling a little down in the dumps, or just need to refresh my motivation. Also, looking at old photos, or racking up NSV’s (non scale victories) is also a huge help to stay motivated when I feel like I am at a standstill. I am ( shandy_eats_smart_ww) on IG.
6. How do you handle cravings?
Oh cravings. Yes, this has been a struggle for me. I always make sure to leave points for my daily piece of dark chocolate. I think if I didn’t leave room for that I might go off the deep end. Sometimes I give in to cravings and I track it and let it be. I have learned not to beat myself up, or feel shame for “messing up”, we are human after all. I say, give yourself some points at the end of the day for a snack. If you don’t have the points and you NEED something sweet, pineapple, or berries with whipped cream always helps! Some people on IG SWEAR by frozen grapes. I haven’t tried it yet, but I hear this is the perfect thing to munch on during cravings.
7. What are your top three tips for success?
1. DON’T set yourself up for failure by giving yourself a strict or unrealistic timeline of how much you will lose. I gave myself 6 months to lose 60 pounds, and when I had only lost 20 by that time, I felt incredibly discouraged. Learn to enjoy the journey, it will happen!
2. TRACK HONESTLY; I promise if you do, you will feel so good emotionally, and you will get the results you want.
3. Be KIND to yourself; love your body through all of the stages of weight loss, after all it got you this far.
8. Do you exercise? If so, how often, for how long and what type of exercises do you do?
Yes, I do. Not as much lately because of my busy schedule. I love to walk, and I love the Leslie Sansone DVD’s that add strength training. I shoot for at least 3 times a week for 30 min.
9. What is your favorite breakfast?
I love avocado on toast with feta and chia seeds. It is quick and easy when you’re on the go, and it provides the protein and fat to fuel you up for a few hours! I always have some kind of fruit, or green olives on the side. And ALWAYS tea!
10. What is your go-to lunch?
My go-to lunch is either leftovers from dinner the night before. If I don’t have leftovers, I usually end up having a big salad topped with chicken. Having a daily salad is a good way for me to get my greens in for the day.
11. What does a typical week night dinner look like? What about a weekend dinner?
Weeknights dinners are always planned. On Sunday I meal/menu plan and shop. So it could be anything from Emily Bites Crock Pot Apple Bacon Pulled Pork (a favorite in my house) or mini turkey meatloaves with shredded brussels and bacon!!
I always give myself Saturdays to eat out and I will use weeklies for that. We are foodies and always love trying new restaurants. Last weekend for my birthday dinner I had duck breast… MMMMMM!!!
12. What kind of snacks do you like?
The bags of gluten-free Weight Watchers pretzels or salt & vinegar chips are super convenient and low in points. I also like berries with whipped cream, Quest protein bars, Yogurt with berries or granola, or I make myself a little Smart Point friendly charcuterie with black forest ham, mini brie bites (Trader Joes), with preserves, crackers, cheese, and grapes.
13. What kind of desserts do you eat?
I have a sweet tooth the size of Texas! I have to be careful in this dept. I make the Quest protein cake for 2 smart points, or I will have Halo Top ice cream, which is probably the best thing to happen… ever! And I always give myself enough points for my daily square of dark chocolate.
14. What kind of adult beverages do you enjoy?
I don’t drink! But I love a good mocktail!
15. What is your favorite meal to eat in a restaurant?
Hmmm, this is so hard to narrow down. But I LOVE a good burger. I don’t eat red meat or burgers very often, so it’s a nice treat.
16. Do you have a favorite fast food/casual dining meal?
I love Mexican food, and downtown there is a restaurant called “No Problemo.” I eat there as often as possible and always order the Tostada.
17. Do you have a favorite weight loss blog/website/FB group that you visit for inspiration?
Instagram is what I use for inspiration and motivation daily.
18. Do you have a favorite website for healthy recipes?
SKINNYTASTE!!!!! I love that woman! Her Turkey Chili Taco Soup, and Cheeseburger Casserole… forget about it!
19. Do you have a favorite quote, meme or thought that keeps you motivated?
Oh gosh, I have many. I am a quote hoarder! But currently it is, “Your Speed Doesn’t Matter, Forward is Forward” 🙂
20. What’s one final thought you can share with someone who’s interested in losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight?
DON’T compare your journey to someone else’s. It is so easy to fall into that trap, believe me, I have many times. But it doesn’t serve you in a positive way and can create setbacks. Our bodies are unique and different and have their own timeline. You’re amazing and YOU CAN DO THIS! Never give up, because you’re worth it!
Thank you SO much, Shandy! Don’t forget to follow Shandy on Instagram and leave any questions for her in the comments below!