How I Lost 25 Pounds

This is my journey to health and fitness Part I

I am a little nervous and excited sharing these pictures with you. On the right is a picture my sister-in-law took last summer. On the left is a picture Cathy took of me in Sept 2015. (Eight months after I started my health journey) I can still remember the day we took the summer photo. I was telling my sil that I was nervous about posting my pictures because I felt like I had a mom body. But I wanted YOU my readers to know that you can have a mom body and still look cute. So I posted the pictures anyway. I felt fine about how I looked. I was comfortable in my skin, but I was not healthy like I could be.

So I told you about how couponing made me fat. <— Did you read that article? If you have not I recommend you read it first because I want you to know that I was totally ok with my mom body, but I convinced myself I could never change it. I also want you to know that you have to stop blaming other people, circumstances, age, body type ect and take responsibility for YOURSELF. If you are ready to do that YOU ARE READY to start MAKING SOME CHANGES!

I have had a lot of people asking me what I have been doing to lose weight and there is no quick and easy answer. There is no quick fix or fad diet. Losing weight in a healthy way and keeping it off takes a lot of little changes to equal one big change! By small and simple changes, big changes happen!

I used to live with chronic pain. My back and neck hurt almost every day when I woke up in the morning. I had headaches all too often. I felt tired and had low energy. Since I have made these health changes all of that has changed. I would love for more people to be able to feel the way I am feeling right now. So I decided to share with you my story. Keep in mind I am not a health professional. I did take multiple nutrition classes in college to get my dental hygiene degree, but I am not an expert. I am however going to share things that have WORKED for me!

1. Set a goal: Your goal can be anything that works for you. But make it something you can measure. Lose inches, lose weight, gain muscle. I decided to set a weight goal. I started with a goal to lose 10 lbs. I found that I could still do more after the first 10 so I set a goal to lose 25 in time for my May cruise. I started in January so it was certainly attainable. I actually lost my first 5 in the first month before I started tracking and it took me 3 months to lose the next 10. So give yourself a reasonable time frame too. It will help you stay focused on your goal. I did not take measurements when I started. I wish I would have. So I would recommend doing that.

2. Keep a record: This could be a spreadsheet in your bathroom, but what I highly recommend is using MyFitnessPal app. This app really changed the game for me. You start by adding in your stats; height, weight, age, goals. Then the app will give you a recommended number of daily calories to intake based on your data. You track the things you eat each day. You can enter them manually or scan them with your phone. You also track your exercise and you can have your phone track your walking if you get a walking app like Accupedo Pedometer.

Why this was a game changer for me…

  • It forced me to look at labels. I had no idea how many calories some of the food that I was eating contained.
  • It motivated me to exercise so I could eat more.
  • It made me think twice about what I ate because I knew I would have to take the time to log it.
  • It trained me to be more aware of portion sizes.
  • It trained me to be more aware of the nutrition of the foods I eat.

It actually helped me discover that my iron was low. That is when I started taking supplements which I will explain below. I also noticed how easy it is to go over my daily recommended intake of sugar. YIKES!

One fun feature is at the end of the day once you have entered in all of your exercise, meals and snacks you close out the day and the app tells you when you should meet your weight goal based on the things you ate that day. I loved that little piece of motivation.

3. Accountability Partner: It is always more fun to do something with a friend. Having someone to motivate you to get up to go to the gym or to also make healthy choices when you go out to lunch can make a big difference. When I started my journey to health I did not have an accountability partner. I had tried to get a few friends interested but schedules could never quite coordinate. That is when I decided I was doing this for me. I wasn’t going to let other people be my excuse. It did not matter what anyone else was doing I was going to go this. I became my own accountability partner. Later in my journey I did get some much needed help from a friend to take me to the next level. I will share that in part II.

4. Drink Lots of Water: Even before I started really losing weight I got in a good habit of drinking lots of water. Water is essential for a healthy body. Typically it is recommended to drink 8×8. Eight 8-ounce glasses or about 2 liters or 1/2 gallon. If you are exercising you will want to increase that. Plan to have at least a 20 oz water bottle when you exercise and drink the whole thing.

This is my favorite water bottle…

Read my review to find out why I love this water bottle so much! It is my favorite water bottle so far! I take it everywhere I go. It even stays cold in my hot car during the summer. This water bottle will seriously change your life. Check out my best water bottle review. <—-


Ways to Drink More Water…

One of my favorite ways to drink more water is to add yummy essential oils to my water to make it taste better and give me other health benefits. This has really saved me when I am not home and the city water is nasty. I just add my favorite essential oils and I can enjoy the water again. Check out our 12 Easy Ways to Drink More Water. <—– If you want to learn more about essential oils text me. Text the team 208-907-OILS

5. You are What You Eat: It is important to eat lots of whole foods. Fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, whole grains and nuts have all been staples in my diet. Using myfitnesspal can help guide you in this. You will quickly learn what you can and cannot eat a lot of. One thing I discovered was that in order to get rid of my baby belly I had to get rid of bread including pasta and rice and really reduce my sugar. It is amazing the difference that this made. If you have a coffee or pop addiction I recommend you cut that out all together. Just get rid of it.

Breakfast – I started my journey doing smoothies for breakfast. My favorite was this Under 200 Calorie smoothie. I often made the full recipe and put half in a ziploc bag and froze it for the next day. I would just soften it slightly and add a little water or juice to my blender and blend it up again.
A month in I went to visit Melanie. She was looking so trim and eating whatever she wanted. While I was tracking calories. I asked her to share her secret with me. She said the only thing she did not change after her weight loss the year before was she was still having a Trim Shake for breakfast every morning. Trim Shake is a weight management shake mix that provides essential nutrients and only 70 calories per serving. Trim Shake can be used as part of a weight-loss strategy of reducing daily caloric intake and burning fat stores through exercise. Includes the patented weight-loss ingredient EssentraTrim, which research has shown to help manage cortisol—a stress hormone associated with fat storage in the abdomen, hips, and thighs. Trim Shake also includes Solathin, a special protein extract from natural food sources that supports an increased feeling of satiety. It really does help me stay full! One thing I love about Melanie is that she does her research before she buys. She had compared the ingredients and the cost of several different shakes before she chose this one. Melanie shared with me how I could get this shake for only $1 /serving. The team can also show you how. Email the team at seekingwellness {at} fabulesslyfrugal {dot} com or text at 208-907-OILS and they can send you the info you need to know to get the discount. Plus can share with you an essential oil  to reduce my sugar cravings.

Lunch: I like to have a green salad for lunch. I also like to have yogurt with granola, fruit and spinach. Sometimes I eat the leftovers from dinner or I make an egg. I miss regular breakfast foods so I will often fit them in at lunch time.

Dinner: Small portion of fish, chicken or beef with a large portion of vegetables or a salad. If you are having a hard time coming up with healthy meal ideas or you just want a really cool tool to make things easier I would recommend this Super Simple Meal Plan. <— They have a clean eating menu and a low calorie menu!

Snacks: Because I eat such a low calorie breakfast my body needs a healthy snack before lunch. It is better for your metabolism if you eat 6 smaller meals a day rather than 3 large ones. So snacks are important. I like to snack on fruits, nuts or veggies. I like to have peanut butter with apples or bananas. I will eat a handful of nuts and dried fruit. My favorite snack is my Oats & Honey KIND bar. It is 150 calories and it is packed with 5 Super Grains! Sometimes I eat a whole, sometimes I eat a half. Just depends on how hungry I feel. I actually now get these on subscribe and save and always have a stash in my pantry. I keep a few in my purse at all times so I will not binge on something stupid when I get hungry. Find out how to get KIND bars for less than Costco!

6. Attitude Rules: 

80/20 rule: I had to allow myself an 80/20 rule so that I did not feel like I was being restricted all of the time. This made a big difference. The rule goes like this. Eat health foods 80% of the time. If you want to have a treat go for it, but limit it to 20% or less of your daily intake.

Try something new: Instead of focusing on the foods you can not eat, think about new healthy food you would like to try. Challenge yourself to buy a new veggie, fruit, nut or healthy grain at the store each time you shop. Have fun trying new foods and recipes. I love to try new zucchini recipes.

Don’t say I can’t, say I don’t: I found this advice when listening to the book How Successful People Think Differently. I have loved this advice and applied it in many aspects of my life. When you say I can’t you feel like a helpless slave following someone else rules. When you say I don’t you take control and show that you are the master of your fate taking responsibility for your choices. I think this advice is key when teaching kids how to say no to drugs or smoking. It gives them power and accountability for their statement. When you are making life changes to be healthy it is important to feel powerful and accountable.

7. Supplements: So I told you how myfitnesspal helped me see the holes in my nutritional intake. Even though I was eating healthy I was still not getting the proper level of each of the nutrients my body requires so I started taking a daily vitamin. I soon learned that the iron in the supplement was making me constipated, so I looked for a better alternative. Email me to learn about the supplements that I take. I Love them because they are in a powder and liquid form so they break down and absorb so much better in my body. They have Omega-3 which is really hard to get in your diet. They give me more energy and they do not cause me constipation. Plus they have potent levels of powerful polyphenols that protect cells from free radicals. If you would like to get started with these powerful supplements email the team at seekingwellness {at} fabulesslyfrugal {dot} com or text at 208-907-OILS and I can help you!

8. Activity: This can be walking, running, dancing, sports, lifting, yoga, ect. Whatever you like that gets you moving. You just want to do enough to help keep you within your recommended calories on myfitnesspal, but not feel like you are starving  yourself. If you think you can just get by with eating less don’t do it. Activity is an important part of weight loss and life long health. The key is to get moving. My dad lost over 60 lbs with diet modification and walking for 1 hour each night. If you need to start by walking 1/4 mile, then increase to 1/2 mile and slowly increase until you are rocking it!
When I started I was too embarrassed to go to the gym, and I was certainly not going to go alone. Plus I did not want to spend the money on the gym membership. So I got a Zumba game for our Xbox 360. It was great. Each day I could pick a different routine. I could customize workout time to 20 minutes, 40 minutes or 1 hour, or even just a song at a time. On the days I did not feel like working out I would just make myself do 20 minutes. The game would tell me how many calories I burned, but it was not the same as what myfitnesspal calculated so I usually used the myfitnesspal number because it was higher. 🙂

Another fitness program that I love is PiYo! It is not hard, but the results are amazing! You get a lot of core strength out of it. There are workouts for lower body, upper body, core, buns, strength, cardio, and sculpting. You can get a full body workout done in as little as 30 minutes. My family makes fun of me when I do it, but when they try it they are surprised at how much of a workout they actually get. I’ve also been dying to try the Cize workout. It’s a cardio dance workout.

Need something more structured?

Shrink that belly fat and lose BIG with Jillian Michaels. Start Now! <– Her daily plan includes customized meal plans based on your body type, killer exercises, and Jillian’s tough-love motivation. I really wanted to try this. IF you try it tell me how you like it. 

9. Detox: I did not personally do a detox when I stared my journey because I had not learned enough about them yet. However I wish I would have because it would have made it easier to avoid the sugar cravings in those difficult first few weeks. Learn more about detox email the team at seekingwellness {at} fabulesslyfrugal {dot} com or text at 208-907-OILS they  can send you the info you need to know to get started.

{Pin This} ^^^ Or share this with someone who is ready for change.

 So my friends I hope this inspires you to start making some changes in your health! You can do this! Remember CHALLENGE IS CHANGE! You got this!

Are you ready to CHANGE? Join the next Fitness challenge!


  • Loved reading your story, even though I got to watch you accomplish it. Guess I’d better start writing up my own! You are inspiring Monica!

  • Congratulations to you, you are inspiring! I love that — Challenge Is Change. I must remember that phrase!

  • Way to go. I love how you made yourself accountable and no excuses.

  • Great article, Monica! Those Trim Shakes really do make a difference for me, and the MyFitnessPal app is awesome! You are brave for sharing your story and I appreciate it.
    I think I am close to being ready to take my health up to the next level – trying a detox and keeping with regular exercise have been on my mind lately.
    I just started taking those same vitamin supplements a few days ago and I already see a difference in my energy level and it feels like a fog has been lifted from my brain. Ha. 🙂 Thanks for the inspiration!
    Looking forward to reading yours, Cathy!

    • Melanie! I am so glad that you are seeing some positive results from the vitamins I recommended. Brain fog lift is amazing!

      I think you may have been the one that told me about the fitnesspal so thanks for that if you were!

      I am so glad you are feeling inspired. Run with that! You can do it!

  • I loved your story. You are inspiring downloaded apps and logged into today already!!! texting you about the detox Thank you for sharing

  • Love it! Great advice and even greater job. So glad to have met you. Keep it up. Challenge is Change! So applicable is many areas of our lives.

  • Great job, Monica! I have a similar story to yours. When I noticed the scale was going up instead of down I decided I needed to do something about it. I found a Groupon for Zumba classes and joined with a friend and my sister. I did that for 6 months until my instructor got vertigo and had to quit. I then found a Groupon for bootcamp and joined by myself since my sister was traveling a lot. That was for 6 weeks. It came with a meal plan and I started using my fitness pal. My sister joined me after a while and we continued for about 5 or 6 months. After that time I lost 20 lbs. I went from a size 8-10 to a
    4-6. My trainer is in the process of moving locations (for 4 months) so I just do Zumba on the Wii until class starts up again. I have been eating more organic foods and feel great!

  • Hi Monica, you look great! Please share your detox information! I just started with my fitness pal and also just started the 30 day squat challenge!

    • Rhonda – I am going to email you at the address you shared in your comment form. If you do not get it let me know. A 30 day squat challenge sounds awesome. How does that work?

  • Good job, Monica! Congratulations on reaching your goal! I use Myfitnesspal too, and it has helped me lose 70lbs. I’ve kept it off over a year now. I was morbidly obese and now I’m a healthy weight, and off medication for cholesterol issues. My only “complaint” is that I get cold quite easily, but saying busy helps with that. 🙂

    • Thanks Tina! I am so impressed that you lost 70lbs. That is a huge accomplishment. So cool that you were able get off of your meds. It feels good to be healthy!

  • I have gained 20 pounds in the last year due to various health issues including hypothyroidism and herniated discs and I am wanting to lose the weight. I will follow your advice. Thank you. You look great.

  • Thanks for all your great tips:). Do you have part 2 on your blog yet?

  • My husband and I have joined weight watchers recently and trying to make a change to be healthier. I have about 50 lb to goal. I have heard a little about detox programs. Looking online, everyone has their version. Hard to know what is good or not. I am interested in finding one that people have actually used and can tell me about them. Can you share your info with me?

  • Please send me the detox. What an inspiration.

  • I’d love to have the detox, Trim Shake, AND the vitamin info. You looked really good in the before picture, but AMAZING in the after! I’m just starting my own journey and this is a real motivation. Thank you!

  • Hi Monica, can you also send me the info on the detox.

  • I would love to have the detox & trim shake information too. I will be looking into Myfitnesspal too. Thank you!

  • I notice in your article that you say ” It is better for your metabolism if you eat 6 smaller meals a day rather than 3 large ones”.
    I have been reading quite a few articles on intermitent fasting, and that it is healthier for you than eating every few hours. The more hours you go without eating, the better it is for your blood sugar. Do you know anything about this?

  • I am waiting on test results for hypothyroidism, so your story got me hooked on finding out why I’ve gained 20 pounds in almost 2 years. It’s possible that could be a part of the reason for the weight gain. I do have to take routine medications which could possibly contribute to the weight gain too. I cannot afford to join one of the weight loss programs (they are terribly expensive, to me), plus I have a medical disability. Zumba and Piyo are totally out of the question in my situation. My daily goal is to walk 5 miles every day, so I think that helps. I’m doing 3 miles every day now. I’ll definitely save your story so I can refer back to it when I’m feeling depressed at my slow progress.

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