Twenty Questions With PATTI!

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 Patti!

Patti has lost twice with Weight Watchers, and between school, her family, work and caring for her mother, Patti really knows what it takes to be successful when you’re busy or have tons of obligations. What I found most interesting was Patti’s take on making small, sustainable changes rather than crash dieting or fads! Check her out:

The Questions:

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

Hi! My name is Patti and I am 60 years old. I live in McAlester, Oklahoma – about 100 miles south of Tulsa, where I lived most of my adult life.

I have 4 adult children and 15 grandchildren ranging in age from 25 down to 3 years old. I have one great grandson about to turn 2. My 81 year old mother is in poor health, and lives with me.

I work full time as a Mental Health Clinical Coordinator in a maximum security prison. I supervise 8 clinicians who provide care for mentally ill violent inmates, terminally ill inmates, and death row inmates. I also coordinate the discharge of mentally ill violent offenders when their sentences are complete. My family, my caregiving and my job keep me busy all of the time!

  1. When did you start your weight-loss journey? What was the “tipping point” that made you start?

In the late 90’s I had successfully lost 80 lbs. I divorced in 2001 after a 28 year marriage, and started graduate school that same year, and began regaining all 80 lbs of that weight.


My dad died in 2007 and my mom moved in 2009, my fiance died in 2011 and I gained another 65 lbs by coping through eating!

My tipping point was at the end of 2014 when I was very stressed during a major crisis at work and one of the nurses insisted on taking my blood pressure, which was very high. During that same time period my oldest granddaughter and her husband had their first baby – my first great grandchild. My youngest grandson was only 2 at the time, and it hit me that if I wanted to be active and healthy enough to share that joy with him 20 years down the road I was going to have to start taking care of myself now!

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

I wish I had realized that eating healthy is not boring, or restrictive! I now eat a variety of delicious foods that my family and friends love to try! I wish I had known earlier about the really excellent blogs and social media groups that are huge sources of fabulous recipe ideas!

  1. 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 65 lbs to date and would like to lose 65 more. I lost the first 40lbs a bit more quickly, but I am still losing, little by little.

  1. How do you keep your motivation up? My children, grandchildren, friends and coworkers are amazing cheerleaders, which is very motivating. The more I lose the healthier I feel, and my annual lab work was phenomenal, another huge motivator.

I have more energy, I need less sleep, and I can keep up with my grandchildren better than I have in years! Those things keep my motivation high! Before and in progress photos help too!

  1. How do you handle cravings?

I search blogs and Pinterest for tasty snacks, and have plenty of them planned throughout my week. I don’t keep junk food in the house, and I also portion out the snacks I do have on hand ahead of time.

  1. What are your top three tips for success?

Plan and prep meals religiously, seek out new recipes to keep food interesting, and track, track track!

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

This is an area I have much room for improvement. I try and walk every morning, I have a walking track 1/4 mile from the house. Work days I walk 1 1/2 miles and weekends I walk 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 miles each day.  (I get an extra half mile with the walk to and from the house!) I also ride my life cycle 30 minutes a day. I had planned to join a gym this year, but I am studying for licensure as a clinical psychologist and I realized I was trying to do too much. I take my exam at the end of the year, so joining a gym will be my reward for passing!

  1. What is your favorite breakfast?

My favorite breakfast is a veggie ham and cheese casserole. I bake it on Sunday and portion it and freeze it in individual containers. I eat my breakfast at work, so I can grab and go! I always have containers of fresh fruit prepared to go with the casserole.

  1. What is your go-to lunch?

I usually plan to make enough dinner to have leftovers the next day for lunch,  but I do love a skinny chicken salad on a mini pita if no leftovers! I cook chicken in the crock pot on Sundays to have shredded chicken on hand for recipes during the week, so I can always have chicken salad on short notice!

  1. What does a typical week night dinner look like?

I have to have dinner that my mom can eat by 5 – her lifetime dinnertime is not negotiable! She cannot use a stove or oven so I either make a crockpot meal or else I prep a healthy skillet meal or casserole ahead of time and she can heat it in the microwave when she is ready to eat, and I do the same when I get home. During the summer I also make salads as our main meals sometimes.



How about weekend dinner?

I love the weekends because I can get a little more elaborate in cooking! I look for yummy recipes to try out!

  1. What kind of snacks do you like?

I like crunchy snacks, most recently I have been buying the Harvest Snaps Black Bean Mango Chili Lime! I do make my own guacamole, for special occasions!

     13. What kind of desserts do you eat?

What kind of I love to seek out skinny versions of Italian pastries like Emily Bites Chocolate Chips Cannoli Cups, and I do like the 2 ingredient cupcakes made with cake mix and pumpkin or applesauce

     14. What kind of adult beverages do you enjoy?

I really enjoy imported or craft beers, as well as wine. I rarely indulge any more, but I do plan for special occasions and gatherings so I can enjoy those times guilt free.

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

Most of my eating out is with my mother, who I always let choose. Most of where she wants to go means that I’ll be ordering a salad. When I am out with friends, I enjoy all kinds of ethnic foods, and especially love Mediterranean cuisine. I can’t name just one favorite meal, because I love to try new things!

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

I don’t eat fast food. Most of the time casual dining means a salad. If I know where I am eating I’ll look at the menu ahead of time to choose according to WW points.

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

Of course Trading Cardio for Cosmos, Organize Yourself Skinny and If You Have an Egg. I also like the Facebook group “Weight Watchers, We Can Do This!”

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

I started out with the collections featured this year on the Trading Cardio for Cosmos blog. I quickly became a fan of Skinnytaste, Emily Bites and Simple Nourished Living! I follow them on Pinterest, and I do search Pinterest for other healthy recipe ideas.

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

“Sometimes it’s the smallest decisions that can change your life forever!”

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

Start out making small changes that you can maintain, then add new things until they become habit!

I started out with 3 (not a typo – THREE!) minutes a day on the life cycle. Once I started adding time, if I had a bad day I always made myself still ride at least 3 minutes.

For food, I had been eating and serving my mom frozen processed food 7 days a week. I committed to cooking one meal a week from scratch, and over 18 months that has evolved into weekly planning, prepping and cooking every meal and snack!


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