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 Danielle, who is a fellow Weight Watchers Ambassador! Danielle has lost -50lbs over the past two years, and I love, Love, LOVE her positive body image, her outlook on her weigt loss journey and her advice for all of us! Check her out:
1. Give us the basics about you – your first name, age, region you live in, etc
Hi! My name is Danielle (@ww_danielle223 on Instagram) and I am a 30 year old MA native who is currently living in the beautiful PNW in Seattle! I am engaged to my beautiful fiancée and we are getting married in June. I have 2 little dogs- Lola and Jasper.
2. When did you start your weight-loss journey? What was the “tipping point” that made you start your weight loss journey?
So, I think my real answer to this question is my entire life basically. I have been someone that is always watching what I’m eating, but then will have periods of time where I just want to be “normal” and not constantly be the person that has to worry about every single thing I put in my body. Unfortunately, that tends to cause me to gain a bit of weight. I had put on about 50 lbs slowly, over the course of 2 years. Like with anything else, it really did sneak up on me. I think when people hear that I didn’t realize I gained 50 pounds they tend to think it’s shocking, but unless you are someone that has truly struggled with your weight you won’t understand. My best friends and I threw one of our best friends a surprise wedding shower and one of the pictures that was snapped throughout the night was my wake up call. I joined Weight Watchers the following day!
3. What is one piece of advice you wish you had known when you started out?
TAKE YOUR TIME. Don’t allow weight loss to consume your life, but at the same time be aware. Be aware of what you are putting in your body. But the actual biggest piece of advice I wish I has was to NOT let the scale run your life. The scale is one tool in your weight loss journey, and it does not define you or your progress!
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 50 pounds in the last 2 years! Took 2 years to gain it and 2 years to lose it! I am not someone that loses weight quickly, and I am also not someone that was interested in starving myself. I knew that I wanted to learn how to be “normal’ and still lose weight. Weight Watchers really gave me the tools to do that. I still want to lose about 30 more pounds, but I try and not make that the central part of my life. I want to enjoy my life and be kind to my body, and for me if that means I eat a piece of cake, or drink a glass of wine, or eat some popcorn at the movies than for me that’s healthy.
5. How do you keep your motivation up?
INSTAGRAM! No joke. I made an Instagram account the day that I joined Weight Watchers (@ww_danielle223)- almost 2 years ago and it has been a life saver! The support of the Weight Watcher community is amazing. I literally would not be here if it wasn’t for the community. I learn recipes, tips and tricks, motivation, there are challenges, and mostly it’s just fun. I use my Instagram as a way to share my life, and my weight loss journey. I like to incorporate lifestyle things now and then to save everyone from a million pictures of hard boiled eggs and tacos!
6. How do you handle cravings?
I have a list of foods that I just don’t eat. That sounds really restrictive but there are certain things that I know are triggers for me. With that being said- if I really want something I’ll eat it. I don’t believe in punishing myself. If you really want a cookie, eat the cookie, track it and move on, otherwise it becomes an obsession!
7. What are your top three tips for success?
One: Find a “diet” or plan that works for you. I tried low- carb and was miserable, it didn’t work for me or my life.
Two: Be realistic about your goals. You aren’t going to lose 50 lbs in two weeks and you will just become upset and angry at yourself for not getting there. Focus on one day at a time, or one minute at a time if that’s what it takes.
Three: It will be hard at first, but then it becomes a habit. Push through the beginning stages- it will be worth it!
Bonus tip: Don’t get too hungry. I try (and sometimes fail) to bring snacks with me or have things on hand for when I’m hungry so that I don’t get hangry!
8. Do you exercise? If so, how often, for how long and what type of exercises do you do?
Oh exercise! I go through phases of exercising and not exercising. I have started C25K more times than I am willing to share. I am just not someone that loves exercising, and I’m being really honest about that. I think I view it as something that I know I “need” to do but never WANT to do so it puts me off! I’m totally open to tips from all of you guys! However! I am doing #5ktoTday over on my IG- where I am getting 5,000 steps every day from now until Thanksgiving! Join me and some other fabulous ladies on our challenge!
9. What is your favorite breakfast?
My actual favorite breakfast is a corned beef hash omelet- buuut I haven’t eaten that in 2 years. My favorite breakfast now is avocado toast, or veggie scrambles, or sweet potato hash. I really love savory breakfasts- so anything with eggs and veggies are right up my alley.
10. What is your go-to lunch?
My go-to lunches are always Smart Ones or Leans Cuisines.
11. What does a typical week night dinner look like? What about a weekend dinner?
My fiancée and I both love to cook, so we make dinners every week night aside from Fridays. We always have a lean protein, a veggie and a starch. Skinnytaste‘s blog and cookbooks are my favorite. We also have tacos once a week and I just sub red meat for turkey and I sub rice with cauliflower rice. Add light sour cream and light cheese and you won’t notice the difference!
12. What kind of snacks do you like?
I am not a real big snack person. I never have been. If I do snack I usually have veggie chips, turkey pepperoni and string cheese, cantaloupe, bananas, or cottage cheese and cucumbers!
13. What kind of desserts do you eat?
Ok- truly, honestly- I don’t eat desserts. I’m not a saint; I just don’t have a big sweet tooth. Sweets are just easy for me to turn down. However, if I’m really craving something sweet I tend to make strawberry shortcake- its low in points and delish! Use light whipped cream, Splenda on the strawberries and angel food cake and its perfection!
14. What kind of adult beverages do you enjoy?
Wine, wine, wine, wine. Plus vodka, diet tonic and extra limes. Oh and rose all day.
15. What is your favorite meal to eat in a restaurant?
If there are tacos- I am there. Chips and salsa are my favorite! I will use my weeklies for them and never feel one bit guilty about it.
16. Do you have a favorite fast food/casual dining meal?
McDonald’s French fries are maybe my favorite thing on the planet- buuut I avoid them 95% of the time. Chipotle and Chik-fil-a are my go-to’s for quick, healthy, fast options that I don’t have to cook or clean up after!
17. Do you have a favorite weight loss blog/website/FB group that you visit for inspiration?
I am on IG all day, it keeps me motivated, in check, and in touch with other sweet ladies that are also on the same journey that I am!
18. Do you have a favorite website for healthy recipes?
Skinnytaste! Gina is seriously a wizard.
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?
Losing weight is so much more mental than it is physical. It’s not the “hunger” that will mess you up its not being mentally ready to change your life. The bottom line is you need to change your life to lose weight- and I don’t mean that in a huge overhaul way but you do need to change certain aspects of your life in order to lose and then maintain whatever your personal best weight is- get ready mentally and then start on your way!
Also- don’t be afraid to mess up a little, no one is perfect- despite what their social media accounts may portray! We are all human!