Category Archives: Success Stories


Super excited to share Cathy’s success story interview today! Cathy is one of my dearest friends! I have known her for about 16 years now!! Crazy that it has been that long!! Well, every now and then… I tell her I need a “Cathy-fix!!” And this is definitely one of those times… her words of encouragement always pull me out of the funk! And since I’ve been in a pretty big funk lately… I asked her to share some words of wisdom!!  I loved every word that she shared and I hope you do too!!!

First Name/Age: Cathy, 29

Tell us a little about yourself so we can get to know you better:

I’m a mother of two little ones – I have a three year old son and 15 month old daughter. They are busy little people! I work full time and commute 4 days a week, I’m married, have one dog, and live in the suburbs of Houston. I have been a runner since junior high and love to workout. It definitely goes through ups and downs as far as being a top priority or falling to the bottom of my list, but it’s always been in the background of my life.

Have you struggled with weight/body image issues throughout your life?

Not really. Maybe the opposite of most overweight people – I remember being so thin in high school my brother and his friends called me “bonethugs” – that made me a little self conscious. I got over it though. Gained the freshman 15 at some point in college and when I graduated I really wanted to get rid of the extra weight. I focused on making running a part of my daily life, eating a lot better, and having a better sleep schedule. Since then, I’ve never looked back!


Was there a significant event that triggered your changes?

The freshman 15, graduating college, and finally being in control of my own nutrition – that was my huge downfall (lack of nutrition!)

Did you have someone that inspired you to make changes?

Nah, just myself. I have always been pretty self disciplined. I’m human though and go through periods when I am really weak and eat a tub of icing (icing is my weakness!!!), or if I go too long between eating I’ll totally binge, or stuff myself, or have too many glasses of wine…

Did you incorporate a certain diet? Restrict calories? Or follow any certain plan?

No, I did not incorporate any particular diet. I have always liked to read fitness and health magazines, articles, books, etc, so I had a bunch of knowledge at my finger tips. Living in dorms, apartments, and a sorority house I just did not have access (or the college student budget), to eat how I wanted, when I wanted, what I wanted. My plan, once I was on my own, was to eat all my food from home, except maybe a date here or there during the week, and then one or two splurge meals or even a splurge day on the weekends. Over the years, my “splurges” have decreased. I know how to control my cravings now. I typically just give in to it on any given day, but I’m okay with wasting food now. I know, that goes against everything our mama’s taught us, lol! But, it works for me. I can taste something and move on and be over it. When I restrict things I crave them more, totally binge on it, and then feel guilty, gross, and dumpy afterwards.


Do you exercise? If so, what type of exercise do you enjoy? Did you work out with family or friends?

Yes. Running is my first love, but I am also enjoying the ARC machine at the gym, my physical therapy exercises (hip, glute, and core strengthening). I also enjoy Bikram yoga, pilates, and plain ‘ole walking. I typically workout solo but enjoy running with friends when I can.

(mile 26 of my first full marathon!!)

When did people first notice the changes?

Hmmm. I don’t know exactly. Probably prior to my wedding – when I was marathon training, taking Bikram yoga, etc. It was one of my tip-top in shape periods.

Did it take a while for your mind to adjust to the new you? Nah.

How did you measure your success throughout the process? How much weight did you lose and how long have you kept it off?

I measure my success by clothes. I hate scales. Hate them! I am such a weirdo, I like my clothes loose and baggy (most of the time), so this is how I measure the shape I’m in. It’s hard to say how much weight I lost since I never really knew what I was to begin with.

Do you feel like your confidence has improved? Yes. Definitely.

How did your family react? Were they supportive?

They are very supportive, although my husband will poke fun at my “obsessiveness” – ha ha.

What do you eat on an average day? What are some of your favorite foods that keep you on track?

I eat all day long. I eat often. Honestly, I eat something at least every 2 hours. For example, this was my yesterday:


Breakfast – coffee, instant oatmeal with a spoonful of peanut butter

Snacks in the am (spread out over time) – serving of almonds, serving of dry cereal, large apple

Lunch – tuna sandwich on whole wheat bread, small bag Lay’s chips, one serving of pretzel m&ms

Snacks in the pm (spread out over time) – baggies of grapes, baggie of baby carrots, crunchy granola bar

Workout – 35 minute run/walk, strength training (arms, hips, core)

Dinner (I usually eat dinner on my kid’s plate to keep my serving size small) – serving of pasta with a little butter, 2 scrambled eggs, a crescent roll

Dessert –a homemade brownie

What are your biggest tips for people that are trying to maintain their weight loss?

I know it is all easier said than done – be determined. You can do this. Get a calendar, make a plan, and start ticking off the days. I write down my daily workout every single day. I have done this for probably 5 plus years now – it’s crazy, I know. I throw it all away, too, so who knows why I do this. I like to look back over my week though and say, “you know, it’s okay to pig out today, I worked out X times this week.”

Other tips:

1. Eat from home, pack your lunch. Drink only water and anything else with zero calories. I personally drink water, coffee, and then wine on the weekends. That’s it.

2. Measure your portions. I take my lunch every day, and every day I count out 29 almonds to pack in my lunch. My hubby laughs at me, but whatever!

3. Start walking. For anyone who doesn’t know how/when/hates to exercise, I think this is the easiest way to get moving. Even when I am injured it’s usually the one thing I can still do. Walk as often as you can all day long. Just stay active. Pace on the phone, have a dance party with your kids, jump in place, just move.

4. Share your story. It will not only inspire others, but you’ll probably find that it re-motivates you to stay in shape, watch your diet, etc.


Is there anything else you want to tell us?  You guys are awesome!

Thx Cathy!!! We think you are pretty awesome too!!!


I have always been chunky or as my sister likes to call it “big-boned”! My body type and genes are prone to never being a size 2. Starting as early as elementary school I remember feeling self conscious about my weight. I wasn’t very active. I played softball in elementary school, but not really any other sports.

I started doing ballroom dance when I was in middle school. Although I loved it, I wouldn’t call it much an exercise regime being that we only practiced on Saturdays.

In high school a friend of mine lost a bunch of weight really quickly, I asked her how and she confided in me about having an eating disorder. So of course being a stupid teenager I thought, oh I can throw-up my food and lose weight. My sophomore year in high school I started a very long battle with bulimia that lasted more than 10 years. It wasn’t an everyday for 10 years thing, but something I always fell back on when at a low point. I believe this was a major factor in my steady increase of weight over the next 5-10 years.

The above pictures were freshman and sophomore year of high school, below was my senior year.  We moved from California to Texas the middle of my junior year.  I fluctuated between a size 8 and 14.  Up and down, up and down…

(PS that is my hubby…up not down)

My freshman year in college I tried out for the BYU ballroom dance team, a dream I had wanted for a long time. I was a good dancer, but I definitely didn’t have a dancers body. I made it all the way to the final cut and didn’t make the team. I was devastated. I felt like I hadn’t made the team because I was overweight. I really don’t remember what I weighed at this point but it was in the 160’s.  I gained a lot of weight my freshman year of college, I would guess about 20 pounds.  I had a boyfriend freshman year that I was pretty serious with and then he left for a church mission. After that, I pretty much didn’t date anyone. I was heavy…my heaviest and I didn’t even realize it.  I was probably between 185-190 at this point, but do not even remember weighing myself.  It didn’t help that I had a barbie doll roommate and lots of gorgeous friends.  I always felt like the “fat” friend.

(My exotic looking beauty friend Heidi, and Barbie roomate-Sarah)
 The below picture sums up my coping mechanism with the fact that I felt super unattractive…I was the FUNNY one…I didn’t have to be skinnier, because I was funny and happy, I had a boyfriend so I couldn’t have been that ugly right???

This was at my debutante ball…in the pic was my best friend from high school…a tiny little 5 foot nothing, gorgeous little woman!  I felt like an amazon woman next to her (it doesn’t look like she’s that short in this pic, I either had my shoes off or she had really tall shoes on).

The summer of 2000…my older sister Sherilynn and I took a trip to Spain…I can’t even believe that I looked like that!


In January of 2002, Keller (my best friend from my year and a half in Texas) returned home from his mission and our friendship grew into a lot more.  We were engaged by April and married by August.  I remember wedding dress shopping and having to get a size 16 that was TIGHT.  I was mortified.  This was probably about the time I started more binge dieting, going from one extreme to the other. I tried Atkins, South Beach, and other extreme deprivation diets and always ended up losing weight really quickly and then eventually falling of the wagon and gaining it all back, plus some!

I was a bridesmaid at one of my besties wedding…this was April 2002 right after we were engaged.  This bridesmaids dress was so tight I thought it was going to bust open at the seams right there at the wedding!

After seeing the above picture and the dread of my size 16 wedding dress being too tight, I hopped on a low carb diet bandwagon and lost about 10 pounds.  I’m not really sure what my actual weight was at the point, only that I fit a lot of better into my dress on the second fitting.

My husband is the nicest guy in the world…a genuine southern gentleman.  However, the kid has the metabolism of a 12-year-old.  He can eat anything and everything he wants.  Our first years of marriage we ate horribly…I just remember a lot of Little Caesar’s pizzas with crazy bread and Carl’s Jr. six dollar burgers at 11pm.  At one point we actually did join a gym, but our attendance was very sporadic.

Over the next 4 years 2002-2006…I was just up and down, up and down.  Pretty much stayed at a size 14 sometimes a 14 was tight and sometimes loose.  The below picture is from a family trip to Hawaii…you better believe there was low carb dieting going on before this trip!  I wanted to fit into my size 10 tankini.  I did end of fitting into it, although I’m not sure how good it looked!


In 2006, my hubby decided to join the military…and of course I got pregnant the month before he left.  Getting pregnant was an eye opener!!!  I was already unhappy at the weight I was at and now I was going to be pregnant on top of that.

At my 8-week appointment I had already gained 12 pounds, I was now tipping the scale in the upper 180’s…I decided that day that this was not going to continue.  My husband was away, I was “house-sitting” my parents house (they were living in a different state at that time) so I was pretty much alone.  I had nothing else to do at night when I got home from work, so I decided I would walk on the treadmill for an hour every day.  It was great because I was able to catch up on missed season’s of Friday Night Lights and Arrested Development.  I also incorporated pre-natal yoga and this began my love for yoga!!  And of course I had to give myself limitations on eating…I worked full-time so M-F I had the same breakfast everyday (eggo waffle w/peanut butter and a glass of oj), I would eat whatever I wanted for lunch and then the same dinner (yogurt over fruit with granola).  Doing this, I was able to only gain a total of 25 pounds during my pregnancy.

March 2007:  7-months prego
May 2007:  Two days after delivery
A week after delivery I was back into my pre-baby pants and a week after that I started walking.  I remember the first walk I went on, I went way too far and was very sore after.
July 2007:  6 weeks after about 175
Maternity leave was awesome…I was able to focus on only Cole and me.  By the time I was back at work, I was in better shape then before I had gotten pregnant.  But being back in an office setting, where most of my lunches were eaten out (I worked for a TV station) and there was always some sort of treat laying around, my weight slowly began to come back on.
Motivation to get on the South Beach diet came with the upcoming reunion of our family (meaning my husband was finally finishing his training).  I was really strict the month before his graduation and by the time his graduation rolled around I was in the 160’s.
After real life set-in, it was back to my normal ways.  I was still working out, in fact I had started training at a CrossFIT gym in Park City.  CrossFIT started my love for working out.  I loved the challenge and how I felt afterwards…if I had only controlled my eating I would have dropped some serious weight.

In March of 2009 we moved to Texas.  To sum up the last 2 years, they have been life changing…emotionally, physically, spiritually, mentally.  I went from working at a job I loved and was awesome at, to being a full-time SAHM.  It was fine in the beginning, I got a little stir crazy, but I loved having the freedom to spend time with Cole and explore our new city.   It was a new place, new people, new life.

The change: I had heard about a miracle diet pill called Phentermine that would help curb my appetite from some friends that were taking it.  So I went to my doctor and asked for it…and she gave it to me.  I started the Phen in April of 2009 starting weight about 180 and by May of 2009 I was 167.  The pill was unreal, seriously like meth, not that I would know, but I had an insane amount of energy, I wasn’t hungry pretty much at all, it was fantastic.  I would eat eggs and cereal for breakfast, a yogurt, apple and some nuts for lunch and then half the amount of food for dinner than normal.
Before the Phen April 2009
In June of 2009 I walked into an Anytime Fitness trying to sell them a sponsorship for a TV station I was working for.  I did sell the sponsorship, but I also walked out with a membership and personal training sessions with my new trainer David.  He encourgaed me to get off the Phentermine and just do what he told me to.  I went on a 3-week detox diet and started the hardest workouts I had ever done.  He got me down to 155…my lowest weight since high school.  I love David because he taught me to challenge myself.  He also pushed me to a place I’ve never been before.
My first binge weekend at Hotel Hinson after a 4 week detox diet…I made myself physically ill, but at least I looked damn good while doing it!
July 2009

Over the next year I was on a roller coaster of David’s detox/clean eating to bingeing.  There was no balance.  It was extreme loss to extreme caloric intake.  Back and forth back and forth.  I still have not been able to get back down to 155.  From June 09-June10, I waiver-ed between 160-170.  During this time I also started trying to get pregnant to no avail.
 June 2010 (I finally didn’t feel like the FAT sister)

By November of 2010 I had hit the 180’s again, only to drop almost 15 pounds with a 3-week stint of strict detoxing…back to 165 in December of 2010.  In January of 2011 the gang decided we were going to try the 4-hour body diet, so after a final hou-rah of Christmas/New Year’s bingeing, I weighed in at 175.  I also started ovulation drugs this month.  By February I was 170, not pregnant, becoming depressed, started to train for a half-marathon and put on birth control to regulate my period.  March was a rough month.

 Ran my 1st half in April 2011, one-week before my 30th birthday

And in April I joined WW at 182.4.  WW has been hard for me.  I fight it.  I hate doing things slowly.  I want it now!!  But obviously I’m a walking billboard for quick fixes don’t last!  You can see in my progress chart the weeks I gave up and stopped counting points, the week I starved myself, and the repercussions for it all.  The weeks I actually followed the program, I lost weight, and felt great.  I also noticed that as I slowly lost the weight, even if I fall off the wagon, I don’t gain everything lost back.

I hate this picture below, but I’m putting it up here so I know where I began with my WW journey and why.  I want my 155 back…and then some!

In July of 2011 I found out I was pregnant.  Of course I am because we were no longer trying and that’s when it always happens.  Oh and because my husband got a new job which will take him overseas 3 months at a time, so of course I’m pregnant now that he’ll be leaving again!  Putting aside my sarcasm we are elated to finally be having another addition to our family.  So my last weigh-in with WW on 8/2 I was 174 for a total loss of 13.4lbs over the course of 3 months.  I spent the next 9 months continuing my workouts and trying to still count points within reason (allowing myself treats if needed) in over to keep my pregnancy weight gain to a minimum.  The day before I delivered (March 25, 2012) I was 202lbs, for a total of 28 pounds gained.  I was super proud of myself during this regency for sticking with my spin classes, weight training, and enjoying myself food-wise, but keeping it under control.  The biggest ah-ha moment for me was when I realized how easy following the Weight Watcher Points Plus plan had been for me when my goal was to gain as little weight as possible instead of losing.  This was a life changing moment for me because as soon as I had Cruz, my mind was focused on getting to my goal weight, but the way I wanted to get there was slow and steady.
28 , 32, 37 weeks
Since counting points was now a habit of mine, I was counting points while I was still in the hospital.  I started working out 2 weeks after I delivered.  I took it easy at first just doing walks and a little yoga.  I started P90X2 May 21st and weighed 178.  The first month I lost 9 pounds.  The workouts were hard and I could barely do anything, but I loved them.  You do something different every day and that’s what I loved.  No monotony.  I also started up hot yoga classes again.  LOVE LOVE LOVE Baptiste hot power yoga!  AND my sister-in-laws introduced me to ViSalus!  Seriously the best thing ever to come into my life.  I jumped on the chance to start a 90-day challenge to parallel what I had already started.  After my second month of P90X2, I was down another 9.  My total loss for P90X2 was 22 pounds.4/12                   6/12                    8/12

While still continuing my Body by Vi 90-day challenge, I also started the paleo diet.  I like to call it the Paleohell diet.  Basically you eat meat, veggies, fruit, nuts, and that’s about it, with a cheat meal or day throughout the week.  I did it to support a friend who decided she would bail from it 2 weeks into it.  I lasted a month.  I felt myself feeling like I was going back to the old Cyndi, where I was super hardcore during the week, and eating everything in sight on the weekends.  The only thing that saved me was being able to have my Green Greek Vi Smoothie and Vi Pancake everyday!!  At the end of my Body by Vi 90-day challenge I weighed in at 153, I had lost 19.4 pounds on my challenge for a total loss of 49 pounds since having Cruz in March.

Before and After

202                                       153

I still have 2.8 pounds to go to my Weight Watchers goal.  And another 10 after that to my “ultimate” goal.  I’m so excited for the habits I’ve built and for the support of my awesome sister-in-laws along the way.  I know this is a life long process and I feel like I will always struggle with my weight and food, but I will never be back where I was EVER!


My name is Carman and I am from Texas.
I am a military wife married for almost 15 years and we have four kids.
This is my story.
My husband and I were married in July 1996.
I was always thin and active so the thought of weight never really crossed my mind.
I was about 130lbs when I got married.
We had our first baby girl in July 1997.
After she was born, the baby weight did not come off naturally and that was the first time I ever had to really deal with ‘loosing weight’.
About six months later my husband joined the Air Force in Jan 1998 and that took us on a whole new life adventure.While we were at our first duty station at Pope AFB, NC, it was our first time ever leaving the great state of Texas and really having to do things on our own. My husband had this new PT standard to uphold and we found Body for Life by Bill Phillips to get fit & healthier. It worked great for those last stubborn baby weight pounds and body fat and I was able to maintain my weight around 140lbs.

A couple years later we tried getting pregnant again and failed twice–one ectopic pregnancy and then a miscarriage all in the same year (2001) and within 6 months of each other. That was an extremely hard & depressing time for me and I found my weight creeping up to 155lbs.We were left with taking Clomid to see if that would help us get pregnant.

In February 2002, my husband left for his first deployment to Afghanistan. Before he left, we had found out  we got a new assignment to McChord AFB, WA and were to report in July. So while he was away, I focused on packing up our entire house and entertaining our toddler all while really trying not to stress about my husband being in a war zone. He came home safely in May and we found out in July we were expecting TWINS to go with our cross country move!! I was about 150lbs then and at that point that number seemed to be my hoovering plateau that I couldn’t break through without serious effort.

I gained about 50+lbs during that pregnancy and thanks to 14 1/2 pounds of babies got to shed a little more than usual after delivery! They were healthy and a little over 7lbs EACH!!
My plateaued weight after the babies was about 175lbs. To top off getting used to having twin babies and a toddler, my husband left for a deployment to Iraq just 3 days after they were born. I didn’t know where he was going and at one point didn’t hear from him for about 3 weeks so I struggled with some postpartum depression and anxiety. I am so thankful for my Mama because she was able to come up and stay with me during that stressful and hard time in my life. Living so far away from family I couldn’t have made it through without her and the help of awesome friends around us.

Roughly 6 months later in Sept/Oct 2003 he got tasked for another deployment this time back to Afghanistan on what was supposed to be a 3 month deployment turned into a 6 months and he missed the twin babies first everything–from Halloween to Easter.

  I was so lucky to have some amazing friends who were runners. I needed an outlet/hobby/stress reliever so I decided to give it a try again. I always hated running in TX and NC cause it was so hot and humid. Running in WA was a DREAM because the scenery is beautiful and the weather is awesome for  running….especially when its drizzling!!  A natural body mister. 😉  I ended up buying an amazing double jogger running stroller and it became my ritual (and therapy) to run with the twins and our dog Jasper, a rat terrier,  every morning after I got my oldest daughter off to school. It was so theraputic and helped me to shed 30lbs while my husband was on his deployment.


My honey & I after his 6 month deployment
April 2004

We went on a much needed Anniversary cruise in July 2004
with some amazing friends!!

In May 2006 we moved cross country again to our new assignment at Hurlburt Field, FL. We were excited to only be 10 hours from family in TX–the closest we’d been in 10 years.
My sister-in-law Lexy and I were finally able to start talking about running a race together since we were ‘closer’ and we found the Country Music Marathon in Nashville to meet up and run at in April 2007. I was having some hip/leg pain while running and was pretty discouraged when my sweet husband signed me up for Jeff Galloway’s Running Retreat that happened to be held in Blue Mountain Beach just about an hour away from where we lived. I got to meet Jeff Galloway with about 8 other people in a small group setting seminar at a beach cabin!! It was amazing to sit and listen to him talk for 2 1/2 days on his run/walk method & eating tips.

The best part about the clinic is that we got to RUN with Jeff several different times. He made running look sooo easy and made it fun and enjoyable!  He also evaluated each one personally on their running form and tips to improve. The biggest tip he had for me was that my stride was too long and I needed to take shorter/quicker steps. It helped tremendously with my hip pain!! I also showed him my calendar with my ‘marathon training plan’ on it and went thru it marking what long miles I should be doing on each Saturday.

I started officially training in January and was able to complete my 1st full marathon in Nashville! That was a huge accomplishment for me to just be able to finish one in my lifetime because I never thought I could actually do it. It is such an amazing feeling coming across the finish line realizing that YOU are the one that got yourself there physically. Its a moment in my life I will never forget!

coming up to the finish line!!

still standing!! 😉


165lbs marathon training and only lost 5lbs
We had been trying to get pregnant again for several months and a couple of days before leaving for Nashville to run my marathon I found out I was expecting!!! I didn’t tell anyone but my husband and after I completed my 26.2 miles I broke the news to everyone else at dinner later that evening!!  It was so fun seeing the look on everyone’s face! I was still in shock myself.

In January 2008, we welcomed our baby boy to our now complete family!!
It was such a thrill to finally have our BOY!
The scaled tipped at 200lbs a week before I had him and I vowed to myself that I never wanted to weigh that much not pregnant. I started out at my heaviest getting pregnant this time around and so I have that much more to loose to get to my goal weight.

about 180lbs
my little man about 5 months old
In July 2008 we got orders to Houston, TX and were so thrilled to be living much closer to family! We are excited that our kids got to live the military life and experience life around the country, but they would also get the opportunity to experience growing roots.
 about 177lbs when we moved to TX
still lots of baby weight to looseIn May 2008, before we moved from FL I signed up for WW (thanks to the motivation of my SIL Lexy who had done sooo awesome!!)  I lost about 20lbs over about 4 months. Then I quit going to the meetings cause I didn’t know anyone and didn’t feel like I fit in.
(in hindsight this is exactly why the Buddy system works for me!!)For the last 2+ years I have let myself get ‘comfortable’ fluctuating between 160-168lbs. This is not my ‘Happy Carman’ weight. I try to make myself believe that I can be happy and not care about what I eat, or have to work out but it really is not true.

my weight chart over the years

Christmas 2010

Joined WW online Feb 2011

March 2011
(159 lbs)
Started going to the meetings instead of just doing it online March 4, 2011 for the accountability.
I feel healthier and tons better when I am putting ME first (respectively) and doing those things which make me healthier!
I am better to myself, as a wife, mom, friend, etc when I am on that path.


April 2011

The hardest part for me has been really learning to take each day by day and enjoy the journey instead of wanting my results right now! It just doesn’t happen. There is NO secret!!!

It is truly DURING the journey where we learn about ourselves, overcome our weaknesses, and gain power from our strengths.

May 2011
(150.6 lbs)
June 2011
145 lbs—>WW Goal Weight!! 
(before pic taken Sept 2008 at 175lbs) 
July 2011
After writing all this out….I now really realize how much I have accomplished and overcome in my life so far! I am extremely grateful for the experiences and trials that I have had–because they have made me into the woman that I am.
Keep On Keeping On.


I have known Tracy since we were neighbors in 1998! This was right after I had my first son TY! I love her family and they were always soooo helpful to me! As a new mom with my husband gone all the time at chiropractic school/seminars, etc… it was so cool to have GREAT neighbors! We have stayed friends over the years and I have watched her become a mother herself! This last year she has blown me away with her weight loss success! I asked her to share her story!!! Love it! :) Continue reading


I’m excited to share with you the success story of my really good friend Mackenzie! She was my work out partner/trainer/friend from Marble Falls!


First Name/Age:  Mackenzie  33 yrs, 5’7  (Mother of 4 boys)

Have you struggled with weight/body image issues throughout your life?

I have never been a “small” girl, but really started to gain weight after the birth of my first son. Once I had my second son at the age of 22, I made a decision that I wanted to get healthy and join a gym. I was able to maintain my goal size of a 10, and enjoy small treats without guilt. When I turned 24, I went through a divorce, started making poor decisions and was at 197lb before I knew it. At this point I was in a new relationship and unexpectedly found out I was pregnant and ballooned up to 233lbs!! After my third son I said “enough!” Joined a gym at 211 lbs, and hit it hard! I began eating every three hours, made sure to incorporate lots of protein, and drank a gallon of water every day. I avoided high fructose corn syrup, fried food, and hydrogenated oils. I worked out twice a day and embraced the new lifestyle change. Not only did the weight start to fall off, muscles started showing up! Even with my fourth pregnancy, I worked out this hard and was able to stay focused. I eventually dropped to 143lbs, with a 16% body fat. I now fluctuate about ten lbs and my brain is ok with it!


Was there a significant event that triggered your changes?

After my third son I said “enough! I always thought of myself as the cute, funny girl… never realized my size until i had to buy an 18!


Did you have someone that inspired you to make changes?  No


Did you incorporate a certain diet? Restrict calories? Or follow any certain plan?

Protein, protein, protein! I began eating every three hours, made sure to incorporate lots of protein, and drank a gallon of water every day. I avoided high fructose corn syrup, fried food, and hydrogenated oils.


Did you exercise? If so, what type of exercise do you enjoy? Did you work out with family or friends?

In the beginning, I did the elliptical at the gym for an hour and slowly incorporated weights. Now, I teach boot camp every morning and have cardio classes in the evening.


When did people first notice the changes?

I am not sure when they noticed the physical changes, however, I loved having friends over for dinner. They were surprised at the yummy and healthy dinners I prepared for them.


Did it take a while for your mind to adjust to the new you?

Nope… I was so excited about the “future ME,” I couldn’t get healthy fast enough!


How did you measure your success throughout the process?

The way my clothes fit me… and I NEVER EVER EVER stepped on a scale! Even now, I only weigh myself a few times a year.


Do you feel like your confidence has improved?

The confidence comes from the knowledge I have gained and I love to pass that on to others.


How did your family react? Were they supportive?

Yes, very supportive…. Sometimes when I am in training mode for my half marathons, they laugh at how obsessed I am… but know that it comes with the territory.


What did you eat on an average day?  

Oatmeal with whole wheat muffin, banana with a tbs. of all natural peanut butter, protein shakes, boiled eggs with natural lunch meat, as much coffee as I want, Amy’s frozen dinners, etc.


Is there anything else you want to tell us?

I love to exercise, so that is never an issue… I do have a vice, and its red wine. I know that I will need to add minutes to my workouts in order to burn off the calories. Skinny doesn’t mean healthy… active, happy, and in shape makes a healthy woman!




First Name/Age:  Rachael/25
Tell us a little about yourself so we can get to know you better.

Where to start? I am the blogger behind Happy Healthy Runner, though blogging has taken a bit of a back seat to everyday life right now. I’m lucky enough to be married to my best friend and am a fur-mama to two crazy cats. I’m pretty outgoing, just a tad stubborn, and more than a little sarcastic and blunt. I also like to think I’m really witty, but I’m probably just full of lame jokes – something I attribute to spending way too much time with my husband 😉 I live around Houston, write for an internet marketing company for a living, and spend all my extra time hanging out with the boy in that picture up there, working out, reading books, and seeing my girlfriends as much as possible. I’m also a runner… though one that happens to be injured right now, so I guess I’m actually a swimmer/biker/ellipticizer/weight lifter/yoga enthusiast/walker… though “injured runner” is much easier to say. And while I try not to discriminate with my sports, I tend to stick to ones that don’t involve any real hand-eye coordination past moving yourself forward and I definitely avoid any that require any contact with others. I’m a little on the clumsy side.


Have you struggled with weight/body image issues throughout your life?

I remember my first encounter with my weight was when I was in 5th grade. A boy that I liked called me “Big Bertha” on the playground and it was the first time I remember realizing that I wasn’t necessarily thin. The only real exercise I did was competitive swimming each summer, which I did for about 14 years. I spent my middle school years watching what I ate and was soon rail thin, existing on lunches that consisted solely of a bag of Cheetos and a Sprite, which was obviously the epitome of health… I stayed stick skinny all the way until my junior year of high school when I started working at Jason’s Deli. Unlimited broccoli cheese soup doesn’t exactly do wonders for your figure and I gained weight pretty quickly. And even though I was never “fat”, I was always “skinny fat” – horribly out of shape, bordering on being chubby, and uncomfortable as can be in my own skin.

This was me after 2 solid years of existing of single serving bags of Cheetos and Sprite for lunch. And in case you’re wondering why I look so awkward, I was in band and standing at attention. As for the eyebrows, I have no excuse. No one had told me about tweezing yet.

And there I am on the left, two years later. Yes I’m wearing a Dickies jumpsuit, no there is no good reason why, and you can see how my face managed to fill out quite a bit in the span of two years.

After high school I went to Texas State, where bad eating habits, late night drinking, and hungover binges were a college norm for me, but I never really thought much of it because all my friends did the same thing and I was always dating someone so I figured my weight must not really matter. I despised being in a swimsuit though – which is hard when you go to school in a town that is centered around hanging out at the river.

This is a picture of my dad and I my sophomore year of college. I almost cried when I saw it because it was the first time I really realized that I was no longer thin and that my chin had doubled in size.Was there a significant event that triggered your changes? I was a junior in college when I first tip-toed around working out. One of my best friends had just gone through a pretty brutal break-up and she wanted to start working out, so I joined her. We worked right across the street from a gym, and it pretty quickly became our thing to go work out, go to work together, and then hit the bars, sticking exclusively to diet coke and rum because it “didn’t have a lot of calories”. To this day the thought of diet coke and rum makes me gag. Haha. Whether it was a healthy way to start or not, it got the ball rolling and I’ve been avid about working out and eating healthy ever since.

Candice (my workout buddy) is on the left and I’m on the right – and we are both clutching diet coke and rums because they were “healthy”. Also, no one told me you could see my red bra through my black shirt, so that’s embarrassing. And we don’t know the creeper on the side.


Did you have someone that inspired you to make changes?

Aside from wanting to look good for my boyfriend (now husband), the person that influenced me the most toward leading an all-around healthy lifestyle was/is my mom. She is the healthiest person I know and always has been – but she’s not afraid to have dessert or splurge at certain meals. She’s so well-balanced that it’s inspiring. I pray I end up looking like her after I have kids!

This is me and my mom. She is ridiculously tiny and cute and in shape.


Did you incorporate a certain diet? Restrict calories? Or follow any certain plan?

Not really… my diet changed so drastically when I first started trying to get healthy that I dropped weight almost immediately. I went from eating Super Sonic breakfast burritos daily to smoothies pretty much overnight. I’ve dabbled in a couple different diets from time to time just to see what they’re like, but I can’t restrict my food at all or it makes me crazy and I just binge. I also count calories on and off every now and then, but really I just try to be mindful about what I’m eating. I have my bad days where I skip dinner and devour a pint of ice cream and bottle of wine just like everyone else (everyone else does do that, right?!) but I’d say 80% of the time I’m pretty balanced in my approach to food.


Do you exercise? If so, what type of exercise do you enjoy? Did you work out with family or friends?

EXERCISE!  My favorite! I really do love working out. It’s one of the few things that I do solely for myself. I love love LOVE running, even though it doesn’t seem to love me and I can’t do it right now, and I love how effortless swimming is (though I’m a little biased, since I swam for so many years growing up). I’m pretty much a solo worker-outer, though I do love the occasional long run with my running buddy (who has since turned into my hiking buddy), taking yoga classes, and going to Spin or Body Pump. That’s about as “group” as I get with working out though. I don’t do team sports (because I’m terrible) and I mostly like to spend my workout time with myself, I don’t get a lot of free hours during the day other than those spent working out.

Look I am finishing the Houston Marathon! And I am determined and strong! Never mind that was the last real time I logged any miles this year…


When did people first notice the changes?

A few months after I started working out people started noticing that my face was getting thinner. I remember coming home from college one weekend and my mom commenting that I just kept getting smaller and smaller every time I came home. Granted, that comment fueled me to losing about 10 more pounds than I needed to, but it all evened out eventually. I love food way too much to not eat.


Did it take a while for your mind to adjust to the new you?

Honestly, I still have issues with body image. Some days I look in the mirror and I see “fat”, even though I know deep down that I am far from it. I doubt I’ll ever have a “perfect” figure, I like ice cream and wine too much to ever get defined abs or thighs that don’t touch but that’s ok because I don’t want to live a deprived life. And I’m a pretty typical girl in the sense that while I know I’m in good shape, I can pick myself apart with negativity in less than 5 seconds if I let myself. But I also remind myself all the time that I’m strong, when I’m in peak running form I can lay down 20 miles like it’s nothing, and that when I walk into the weight room I can navigate around it with the big boys… even if my weights are significantly lighter 😉 I think personal body image can be deceiving because we get used to seeing ourselves a certain way and it can be hard to peel off the blinders and see that we’ve changed.


How did you measure your success throughout the process? How much weight did you lose and how long have you kept it off?

I started working out in 2007, so it’s been about 5 years now. I lost about 20lbs when I first got serious about working out, though I’ve probably put about 5-10 back on depending on what time of the month it is, haha, and I’d like to think that a lot of it is muscle. Initially I was weighing myself every day and taking measurements… I haven’t measured myself in a long time though, but I do still step on the scale almost every day just to check and see where I’m at and to keep myself aware and accountable. The difference between now and when I first started working out is that I try not to freak out as much if the scale says more than I think it should.


What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?

I think the biggest obstacle I’ve faced so far is being an injured runner… I adapt pretty well to situations and when I decided that I was going to be healthy I did a complete 180 and I never really looked back nor did I ever really struggled with it. Once that decision was made I pretty much immediately switched my diet and started working out. And then it just became something that I did; it was another thing to cross off my to-do list every day. Being injured though… man, I’ve gone through every emotion you could possibly imagine, slacked on working out, worked out too much, seen every type of doctor under the sun, spent tons of money… you name it, I’ve done it and it’s been extremely stressful and emotional for me, making it extremely stressful and emotional for Sean… poor guy. But I keep telling myself it’s just a matter of time before my body bounces back. Hopefully sooner than later. Plus Lexy pointed me to her husband to fix my jerk knee, so hopefully we’ll get some positive results soon! 😉



Which of your personal goals have you achieved?

I ran the Houston Marathon in under 4 hours this past January!

Here I am immediately after! My whole family and my in-laws were there and they all had matching “Cherry Race Team – Run Rachael Run!” shirts on! They rock!


Do you feel like your confidence has improved?

Without a doubt. I’m much more comfortable in my own skin. I used to try to shrink into the background all the time, but now I just own myself.


What has changed the most about you?

Probably the way I view myself. If you had told me last January that I would run a marathon this January I would have laughed in your face. But now I know I’m capable of achieving anything.


What did you find hardest about this process? How did you overcome it?

Saying no to friends. It’s hard to be the “healthy” person when you’re going out to eat with people or being the person that skips meeting up on Friday nights because you want to get up and workout early Saturday mornings… if your friends don’t work out (and a lot of mine don’t) then they don’t get it. I’ve also really struggled with not wanting my schedule to be a burden on Sean’s life. Luckily, he’s awesome. But that’s the next question…


How did your family react? Were they supportive?

Both of my parents are pretty active so they did nothing but support me throughout the entire process. Sean got a gym membership with me when I first started working out and since we’ve been married has transformed an entire room in our house into our own home gym, complete with a weights machine and treadmill. I’m really blessed in that my husband has done nothing but lift up my aspirations and offered his unwavering support as I moved from workout newbie to 5k to 10k to marathon. Half the time he tells me I should go work out when I falter, but that’s probably because I’m much more pleasant when I’ve got endorphins pumping through me… He also has made it to 99% of my races and acted as my personal photographer during them. During the marathon he even brought his bike and biked around the marathon course to catch me at different mile markers and take pictures. That is dedication.


What do you eat on an average day on program?/What are some of your favorite foods that keep you on track?

Ha. I eat all the time and I will eat the same breakfast/lunch foods for weeks before getting sick of them and switching it up. Lately my eating schedule has looked a lot like this:

Breakfast – Protein Shake

Morning Snack – Boiled egg, strawberries

Lunch – Ham sandwich with guacamole, lettuce, tomato, cucumbers, onion, on a whole wheat sandwich thin with a side of baby carrots, grape tomatoes, and an apple

Afternoon Snack – Chobani

Dinner – Some sort of lean protein and as many vegetables as I can fit into a meal without Sean complaining that he isn’t vegetarian 😉

Evening Snack – Skinny Cow Ice Cream Sandwich

I try to eat as many fruits and veggies as possible throughout the day and I love having Greek yogurt as a snack. I’m also addicted to peanut butter.


What are your biggest tips for people that are trying to maintain their weight loss?

Anyone can lose weight if you just decide you want to. The effort is worth the results. And you can’t get caught up trying to do something you hate just because everyone else is doing it. I love running even though I know a lot of people really hate it… but I will never do Zumba despite how popular it is because I’m so uncoordinated that it isn’t fun for me. There are so many different ways to work out that there really is something fun for everyone out there.


Is there anything else you want to tell us?

Don’t give up! You’re going to have setbacks and you’re going to go through phases where you aren’t as committed as others. You just have to keep going. Being healthy isn’t a fad or a diet, it’s a lifestyle.