Twenty Questions with DINA!

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 Dina,  whose answers totally made my laugh, made me smile and TOTALLY inspired me! She’s a Lifetime member, having lost -115lbs over four years and keeping it off over the past nine months! Dina has incredible insight on planning ahead, balancing the things you really want in your life – from date night to chocolate to red wine, and her advice is words I want to live by! Be prepared to be inspired, friends! 

Now onto the questions:

1. Give us the basics about you – your first name, age, region you live in, etc.

My name is Dina! I’m 52 years old and I’m from Staten Island, NY.
2. When did you start your weight-loss journey? What was the “tipping point” that made you start?

I started my current weight-loss journey 5 years ago. I started gaining weight when my dad passed away suddenly in 1986. Joined WW numerous times but never stuck with it. Five years ago, I was on vacation in Greece with my husband and 2 boys and I was MISERABLE! Imagine, in Greece! I had a hard time walking the ruins, wouldn’t buy anything, couldn’t buy anything! I knew something had to change! 

3. What is one piece of advice you wish you had known when you started out?

The one piece of advice I wish I knew was that weight loss starts in your head, not your mouth! When we start, we want to be told what to eat, how much to eat, when to eat, etc. What we don’t realize it just how vital our mind and our attitude is on the journey.

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?

Dina before and after.png

I’ve lost 115 pounds. I reached Lifetime status in July 2015. It took me 2 years to lose 100 and 2 years to lose the last 15. Crazy, I know!

5. How do you keep your motivation up?

Motivation…hmmm! I love the way I feel, I love the fact that I can open my closet and wear everything in it and I love trying new recipes to keep the food component fresh. I try to eat seasonally. I won’t eat apples in the spring and summer, so that I look forward to the crunch in the fall!

6. How do you handle cravings?

dina dessert

I never deprive myself. I LOVE chocolate, so I fit it into my lifestyle. I fit all of the foods I love into this lifestyle. It comes down to planning.

7. What are your top three tips for success?

Eat what you love. Move every day. Be kind to yourself.

8. Do you exercise? If so, how often, for how long and what type of exercises do you do?

dina gymI’ve become a fitness junkie. I got to the gym 5-6 days a week in the winter. I do strength training 3 days a week (free weights, trx, bosu, swiss ball) for about an hour with about 20 minutes of cardio and the other days are my cardio days. I spin, use the elliptical and treadmill. This spring, I started walking outside. I do between 3-5 miles on my cardio days.

9. What is your favorite breakfast?

Protein is a must for me at breakfast. My new favorite SmartPoint breakfast is 1% whipped cottage cheese and my homemade applesauce. I put 6 sliced apples in my slow cooker with 1/4 c of water and 1Tbsp cinnamon. I let it cook for 2-3 hours. FABULOUS!!!

10. What is your go-to lunch?

dina lunchLunch usually involves leftovers. However, I love soup. In the beginning of the week, I’ll make 0 SP butternut squash soup. Escarole and beans, leftover turkey chili.

11. What does a typical week night dinner look like? What about a weekend dinner?

dina dinner.png

Typical weeknight dinner is protein and veggies, but not DIET food. A hearty beef stew, shrimp over zucchini noodles, lightened up chicken marsala with mushrooms. Weekends are a different beast. Saturday night is ALWAYS date night (I know, I’m a lucky girl!) It’s always at a nice restaurant and it always involves alcohol. I love going to a fine steakhouse where I can have a shrimp cocktail, petite filet mignon and a wonderful red wine!

12. What kind of snacks do you like?

I schedule my snacks. At 4 pm, I need something to hold me over until dinner. More protein…usually 7 almonds and a string cheese. I just discovered Quest protein bars, but won’t spend more than 4 SPs on them (peanut butter chocolate, banana muffin, lemon, double chocolate chunk). Second snack is in the evening and that’s usually a sweet one. Sugar free pudding, 1 SP muffin (I’ll give you the recipe if you want!), even a cup of frozen grapes!

13. What kind of desserts do you eat?

Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate! With the new plan, I’ve had to cut back on my desserts!! They are more rare now!

14. What kind of adult beverages do you enjoy?

I love a slightly dirty martini and a good red wine.

15. What is your favorite meal to eat in a restaurant?

As mentioned above, I love a good steakhouse where I can have my shrimp cocktail, petite filet mignon.

16. Do you have a favorite fast food/casual dining meal?

I don’t remember the last time that I had fast food. However, we have a great local diner. It has a delicious greek salad. I get it with grilled chicken, feta on the side, no dressing, but give me the tzaziki sauce on the side. I have half and take half home.

17. Do you have a favorite weight loss blog/website/FB group that you visit for inspiration?

Besides Trading Cardio for Cosmos? Our WW meeting has a FB group that I love. We check in all week long. Our WW territory also has a FB page that’s full of inspiration!

18. Do you have a favorite website for healthy recipes?

Love my Skinnytaste! I don’t think I could have done this without that website.

19. Do you have a favorite quote, meme or thought that keeps you motivated?

dina quote.pngEmbrace the Journey! It means so much. Everyday won’t be roses and sunshine. This is a lifelong journey filled with ups and downs and twists and turns. Embrace them all! Learn from them. They will give you strength.

20. What’s one final thought you can share with someone who’s interested in losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight?

I find such support at Weight Watchers! The meetings are so very important. When you’re struggling, you need the meeting. When you’re doing well, the meeting needs you. You aren’t going through the battle alone. A friend of mine used an amusement park analogy. He said that you can’t leave the amusement park. Part of the journey is like a roller coaster, part like a merry-go-round, you may even be on an airplane ride soaring. Wherever you are, don’t leave the park! There are friends in the park.


Dina, thank you so much for sharing your journey with us! Have questions for Dina? Share them in the comments below!


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