The above photo is a recent one of Ashley and her mom, Beth. They have a great story to tell.
Ashley has lost 120 pounds and Beth has lost 40. They worked together to get healthy and lose weight. I think it can be SO important to have someone close to you support you in your goal to become healthier.
Here is their before picture:
Snack Girl: What would you say is the biggest factor in your weight loss success?
Ashley: I think there are really two big factors for me. One is just my determination to be successful this time. You have to really want this for yourself before success can be an option.
The other major factor for me has been the support of my mom, friends and family. I don’t think I would’ve been able to get where I am without having that support system around me. They know who they are!
Beth (Mom): One of the biggest factors in our current weight loss for me is going through it together with Ashley. She's my "Jiminy Cricket" - she keeps me honest. Another significant difference this time around is that we're approaching it as a lifestyle as opposed to a diet.
My goal at the end of any weight loss used to be a food reward - not any more.
By following the Weight Watcher's Program in conjunction with the help of the many blogs available we have great meals every night. Not like years ago when you had your usual rotation of a few standard meals - broiled chicken and a vegetable one night, broiled fish and a veggie next night and so on and so on.
Now we're having gourmet meals every night! At the end of each meal I say to Ashley "that was delicious" and I'm not talking about my cooking, it's the fabulous recipes we've found on line!
Snack Girl: When did you decide to work together on your weight loss? How do you support each other in losing weight?
Ashley: I had previously tried to lose weight using a meal delivery system and while it did work at first, I quickly became bored with the limited selection of foods. I’d be eating something that looked like astronaut food, while my mom had some delicious (albeit unhealthy) meal sitting right there next to me.
While I do believe that you have to learn to be able to have the willpower to be around foods like that and say no to them, in the early stages of losing weight, that’s a lot easier said than done. I knew that the only way I’d be able to be successful was if we were in it together and I also knew that my mom would benefit from a healthier lifestyle as well.
We support each other by working together to come up with fun and creative meals for us to have and cook together. We also just keep each other in check and remind each other of how far we’ve come when we are feeling a lack in motivation.
Beth (Mom): My husband died many years ago and as a single mom I feel very guilty about our unhealthy lifestyle. It was easier to eat out or order takeout than to eat healthy.
When Ashley was in high school I asked her to join me at Weight Watcher's. It served two purposes, I wasn't going alone, but more importantly it was educating her on the correct lifestyle and all of the things I hadn't taught her about healthy eating and better choices.
This time, she asked me to go with her and although I wasn't really ready at the time, it's the best decision I've ever made. Had she not asked me, I'd still be carrying around that extra 45 and counting lbs! I can't believe I'm 10 lbs from goal!
Snack Girl: When you didn't lose weight for a few weeks - how did you keep motivated?
Ashley: There were about 6 or 7 weeks where I was really doing everything I was supposed to be doing, eating right and getting lots of exercise, but the scale wouldn’t budge. If you know in your heart that you are doing everything that you can, then just keep it up and be proud of the fact that you are being healthy and know that eventually the scale will catch up. I also had to remind myself that it isn’t all about the number on the scale.
Our Weight Watchers’ leader Shelley always says “Sometimes the scale isn’t our friend,” and it’s so true. Even in the weeks where the scale didn’t budge I could just tell I felt better and had more energy.
Beth (Mom): Of course, you're going to have ups and downs - we try not to beat ourselves up too much and get right back on track. We find that now when we do stray it's nowhere near the way we used to - we make better choices even if we're over our points range. The key is to get right back on track and not wait until the following day or the following week to start over again.
Snack Girl: What foods and habits were the most difficult for you to give up and change?
Ashley: I think the biggest habit for me to change was just overeating. I remember when we first started, I’d look at a portioned out meal and think, “Oh my God this is never going to satisfy me.” When you eat poorly, you just become so programmed to think that you need massive amounts of food to survive, when in reality, far less will keep you satisfied.
Even after a year of being on Weight Watchers, I still precisely measure out everything I eat. It just helps keep me in line. As far as giving up foods, I don’t really feel like I’ve had to give any up. I think there is a healthy or at least “lightened up” version of so many different foods out there, that if you are creative with it and watch your portions, you really don’t have to give anything up.
Beth (Mom): I personally had a problem with peanut butter - thought I was adult enough to have it in the house and not eat it - WRONG! I'd be on track all day but then around 9:00PM I'd be in the kitchen un-doing everything I'd worked so hard for all week long. Unfortunately, I'm not one of those people who's satisfied with just one spoonful. No more peanut butter for me.
It's not just your food choices that play a role in losing weight but even more important it's portion control. That was a major change in lifestyle for me.
Snack Girl: What advice would you give to your "120 pound heavier" self?
Ashley: Be patient and don’t beat yourself up. As cliché as it sounds, you didn’t put the weight on overnight so you aren’t going to lose it overnight either. There are going to be moments where either we can’t, or choose not to, make the best choices, but the key is to just get right back on with your next meal and not get down on yourself for slipping up.
Be accountable. Never miss your weekly appointment with the scale no matter how you think the week went. That gain or loss may be just the motivation you need to keep you going the next week.
Be creative. Don’t fall of course because you let yourself get bored with what you are eating. There are so many great resources out there for great, healthy recipes that there is no reason to find yourself eating the same things over and over again.
Be proud. Don’t allow yourself to make poor choices in social settings because you feel ashamed of the fact that you are watching what you eat. Be proud of the fact that you are making a positive change in your life and don’t be afraid to let the people around you know it. Those that truly care about you will support you 100%.
Snack Girl: What advice would you give to your "40 pound heavier" self?
Mom:I don't know about anyone else, but why is it that when I see an old picture of myself at almost 90 lbs more than I am now I didn't see myself as that big at the time. I don't know if it's denial or just some sort of a defense mechanism.
Whatever, I think I'd tell my fatter self (yes, I said it! FATTER) being thin really does feel better than any food tastes! Begin your new lifestyle today. It's not a diet with a beginning and an end. So, when you stray a little, it's not the end of the world, get back on track right away - it's not a race - you have the rest of your life - live it and enjoy it!
Snack Girl: What is your favorite snack?
Ashley: I really love Siggi’s Icelandic Yogurt. Vanilla is my favorite. I like to add a tablespoon of chopped walnuts and some blueberries or blackberries to it. I was never a yogurt fan at all.
Then I would hear everyone rave about Greek yogurt and how great it was for you, but no matter how hard I tried, or what I would add to it, I just couldn’t make myself eat it. One day a friend recommended Siggi’s and I’ve been in love with it ever since. Some days I have it for breakfast, but other days I find it to even be the perfect dessert.
Beth (Mom): My former favorite snack was probably a huge piece of any Entemann's dessert followed by a glass of milk. Now I enjoy a sliced apple with a small container of Marzetti's Fat Free Caramel Sauce, a sugar free pudding cup with fresh fruit & fat free whipped cream or any number of snack time recipes we've found on our favorite blogs.
Thanks so much Ashley and Beth! I am sure you will inspire many others by sharing your story.
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