How Mary Lost 40 Pounds

May 12, 2021   33 Comments

Every once in a while I like to put up a story from someone who inspires me and who has done the hard work of getting healthy.

How Mary Lost 40 Pounds

I posted this in 2019, but I thought I would repost it since so many are looking for ways to lose weight after gaining during the pandemic. I find Mary's story to be relatable.

Mary e-mailed me about her journey and I am so proud of her! She read a post of mine - Got High Cholesterol? So Do I from a few years ago and something clicked.

She wrote:

It was like I had been in this darkened tunnel and all of a sudden someone flipped on the light switch.

I started getting these lovely e-mails about her journey - where she started and how she was doing and I have to say that she sounds like so many of us.

Why did she need to lose 40 pounds? She writes:

I read so much conflicting information. Eat this - no don't eat this.  Eat that - no that gives you cancer.  On and on and on it went.  To be honest I think I tuned it out and consequently I tuned out.  And there were other things on the docket.  My husband was diagnosed with cancer (he's a survivor!), I went thru menopause, etc etc etc.

For example, I would sit down and eat a quart of ice cream for dinner.  Just like that.  Right out of the container.  Then wash it down with some M&Ms.

I knew better, but I just tuned out for about the last 15 years.

Here is a photo of her before her big shift:

She tuned out of healthy eating, even though she that she needed to get it together to feel good and become healthier.

After reading my post she wrote to me about her new choices:

I’m not "dieting".  I cut way back on sugar.  Really reading that ingredient list and making more appropriate informed choices.  We are eating fish twice a week.  I have added olive oil into my diet.

Basically just eating more vegetables, beans, fruits, fish, baked chicken breasts (no skin or fat added), low fat/fat free dairy options, a variety of nuts, almond butter or peanut butter (both organic no sugar or salt added).  Oh yes, and my 4-5 ounces of red wine most evenings (if I don't fall asleep beforehand :-)

Here she is after her weight loss:

It took her 7 months to lose the weight and she has kept it off. But, maybe even better, her cholesterol level is normal as is the rest of her blood work.

After months of trying to cut out added sugar - this is what worked for her. She wrote:

I try as much as possible to avoid anything with added sugar; I switched from beer to an occasional red wine; I also acknowledged the fact that extra carb loading - even if it's good healthy carbs still ends up as extra - extra that I don't need.

I do eat foods with "sugar" - like milk, just try to avoid anything with added sugar - as in breads, tomato sauce, etc etc etc.  My treat is a 90% chocolate square with no-sugar organic peanut butter (think peanut butter cup - only IMO better - none of that greasy after feeling in the mouth - just a nice bite of dark chocolate and peanut butter - mmm.

Now granted before I was eating a lot - a lot - of crap - OMG - unfiltered diet of ice cream, pies, cookies - Oh Lord......on and on it went.  And I'm not quite sure what happened........if really eliminating most added sugar from my diet eliminated my desire for it?

I guess I am going to go with that theory and run with it.  The other day my husband brought home one of my past favorites  - a Costco pumpkin pie.  I would probably eat 1/2-3/4 of the pie myself......I have no desire for it.  Don't even want to go down that road.  No thank you.

She does do special occasion food such as wedding cake, and a microbrew beer but overall she has stopped eating all the extra carbs as a lifestyle.

Everyone who reads this has different struggles but I like Mary’s story. She stopped eating crap, started taking care of herself and got results. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us, Mary!!!

Sometimes there is an AHA moment and sometimes there is a slow changing of the bad habits over time. Whatever is going on - don’t give up!! You will be ready for change - it may take 15 years or more - but you will be ready.

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Thank you Mary for your inspiration and thank you Lisa for posting it. I too would like to lose about the same and have been dithering between different plans. Mary's plan makes so much sense to me - I have added it to my home page so that I have easy quick access to it when the dithers hit.

Inspiring on so many levels, yay Mary! :)

Kudos Mary.

Over 10 years ago when my youngest child went away to college and I was an emptynester my AHA moment spoke and I lost 40 lbs within 3 months using good nutrition practices, and lots of exercise... Eleven years later I have maintained my weight loss and infact lost a little more and gained lots of good muscle mass. At 57 years young I feel strong and healthy (physically and emotionally) which are my goals and my day revolves around my exercise regime and the proper "nutritious" foods I will eat to efficiently fuel my body!!! This way of life has become a fantastic lifestyle!!!

Very encouraging. Basically it's common sense. Am going to keep reminding myself of Mary and this article (which I have saved and will re-read). I had a refrigerator magnet of a policeman and when I'd walk by the refrig he'd say "STOP, step away from the refrigerator." It got annoying but I think I need to bring it out again. Thanks for the nudge!

Thank you Mary. I just started (again) my journey for a healthier life and this was encouraging to read.

Congratulations. Very inspiring. Easy and simple once you find your “why”. Love the police on the fridge magnet. I need a couple of those.

Thanks, Lisa for this share! And thanks to Mary for sharing it with you! I'm in the same boat (husband just had surgery for cancer in June) I'm so busy seeing that he gets alternative treatments. NO chemo or radiation for us!! BUT...I'm still waiting for that light to switch on! You have to have the time to exercise, you have to have the time to cook healthy (although we are enjoying the mail order healthy meals). I do my best to do low carb and healthy. I truly believe lots of stress (we are both self-employed and have been for many many years), lack of quality sleep and just the stress of life in general in this crazy upside down world contributes to weight gain. We are both still working full time (me) 67 & the (hubs) 72 in March. NOT because we totally love it, but because being self-employed for so long left us with very little retirement and no pension. BUT...we try to count our blessings and a marriage of 40 years, working together for 30 of those years is certainly a wonderful one! Thanks for your blog Lisa, I really enjoy it and I have your book also! Keep doing healthy and sharing it with all of us! Bobbi Anne

Great job. I admire you. However, I have done something similar. For years, I have done WW. However, I always regained the weight plus more. I have finally had enough. I decided that I would try to avoid sugar and calorie-laden foods. I eat a small amount of what I want. Furthermore, I am tired of preparing one thing for me and something else for my husband. I began the first of the year and have done well so far. I stopped measuring and weighing foods because, after years of WW, I know what an appropriate amount should be. I also try to get in some kind of exercise at least every other day. I used to practically kill myself with working out at the gym or walking at least a mile a day. There is nothing wrong with working out and walking, but, for me, it needs to be done gradually. I still love WW, but do not like the new program. Points Plus is my favorite. Congrats on your weight loss.

Good job, Mary!!! Persistence and making it a lifestyle made it happen for you. I am on WW Freestyle which incorporates the exact same principles...nudging away from processed sugars and toward lean proteins, fruit, veggies, etc. Such an awesome way to live. GREAT JOB!!!

I have the same feelings as Mary. My blood work is not fantastic and I need to lose weight. I will think of Mary as I try to get my "good for you food" act together. Thanks for sharing.

Too funny! I'm quickly skimming my emails this morning and my eye always catches those "so-and-so lost this many pounds" and then I went Wait! That's me! :-) Thank you Lisa for sharing my story and everyone for the nice comments. Also, so many comments I agree with! I hope each and everyone of you who are on the road to better eating and living in general finds the path that leads you to success. Happy New Year everyone and Thank You Lisa.

@Mary VW - You are the best!! Let's hope someone else has an AHA reading this post and gets on the road to healthier.

WOW what a great story. Way to go Mary!

What kind of peanut butter did you find with low sugar?


I love this story, so inspiring. Thank you for sharing!!

Truly inspiring! This year I,too, am not dieting but instead making healthier food choices and walking, not fast not far just walking around my neighborhood. Already I have noticed a slight glimmer of hope when I put on a pair of jeans out of the dryer and didn't have to struggle to get them up! Little changes add up to big changes. Happy and healthy 2019 to everyone!

Mary, you are a true inspiration! Thank you, Snack Girl, for sharing Mary's story. Healthy and Wonderful 2019 to all!!!

Hi Sylviane ~ I found Kirkland Signature (Costco) Organic Creamy Peanut Butter. Ingredients are dry roasted organic peanuts and sea salt (only 40 mg sodium for 2 tbsp). If you don't have Costco looking in the grocery aisle I see plenty of peanut butter choices with just that peanuts and a bit of salt. Hope this helps.

Congratulations Mary. On that bandwagon myself of losing weight by cutting out junk & extra sugar. In your post you wrote about eating light or fat free dairy. As a cancer survivor myself, I advise you to read the labels as there are so many unpronounceable ingredients added to light/fat free. My oncologist advised me to eat the regular of everything in moderation, because there are no health warnings on food that have all the added chemicals. Hoping you enjoy this New year with your new self! Again Congratulations.

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