The Trick to Maintaining Your Weight Loss

by: Danielle Ternyila

With the promise of so many fad diets and quick fix weight loss programs, my fear 75 lbs ago was that no matter what I lost, I would gain it back anyway and be at the same spot. It seemed impossible, so rather than throw in the towel, I sought out the answers for the best trick of all: keeping off the weight after you lose it.

Losing weight is a huge success that comes with so many challenges along the way, but the hardest part is the part that comes next, maintaining that win long-term instead of falling into old habits again. This was the most important part of my weight loss journey for me, and it’s something we all struggle with, yet don’t talk about enough. We do, now, talk about it plenty in my Facebook support group, and I’ll talk about it here again.

To maintain your weight loss achievements, you can’t stop now. You’ve worked hard to get here, you’ve made changes and done courageous things, like perhaps stepping foot in a new gym or entrusting a surgeon for assistance. No matter what, the next step is to stay healthy.

The trick to keeping it all off is to make changes to your lifestyle that support your health. Creating a healthier lifestyle that supports your weight loss is your hack, and it will feel easier said than done. Don’t let that stop you, especially when it is your health and wellness on the line.

I started making changes to my overall lifestyle to help improve my health and keep going at this goal. If I wanted to be healthy, I realized that I actually had to do exactly that. I cut out all the unhealthy snacks and processed foods in the cabinets; I started filling my fridge with more fruits and vegetables, and I started cooking much different meals than I was used to growing up in an Italian family addicted to pasta and bread.

Giving up my favorite snacks and even meals was a hard decision, but I learned it was not about cutting it out entirely. Moderation is key. Instead of enjoying these guilty pleasures regularly, they became a treat, which I sometimes think makes it that much more enjoyable than having it every week. I also limited my beverages and cut down on excess sugar in my diet too by switching to water and black coffee or teas.

Every day is a challenge, but I prioritize my health regardless. Though it has been years since I started this journey, I still crave all of my favorite unhealthy delights, but cravings pass.

My Weight-Loss Journey: It’s All Mom’s Fault

by: Danielle Ternyila

From the moment I started my weightloss journey, my mom couldn’t have played a more vital role; she was my workout and accountability buddy. My biggest fan, cheerleader, constant therapist and the greatest role model a girl could ask for, Mama has been by my side through it all, including countless sweat sessions in the gym.

She herself had started her own journey around the same time I started mine, which was a real wake up call for myself. If mom could lose the weight, what was my excuse? She lost 90 pounds following a weightloss surgery, known as the sleeve, and major changes in her lifestyle. Getting myself to the gym every day was a daunting task, but she was there every step of the way, which was sometimes all the motivation I needed to keep myself on track.

She came to the gym with me every single time I asked. She tried new things with me and showed me new workouts or machines in the gym. Having her by my side, even if just to have someone to laugh with me when I fell off the treadmill or used a machine wrong, made it that much easier for me to go. With your workout buddy by your side, you feel like you can conquer anything, even the terrifying gym filled with fit athletes and big meatheads.

You may not even need an actual “workout” buddy more than you need an accountability buddy. Tell someone your plans, your goals, and your aspirations. Let them keep you in check, ask about your progress, and always be open and honest. The only person you’re hurting by lying is yourself.

They say it takes 21 days to create a habit and 90 days to create a lifestyle. I started hitting the gym with Mama in late September of 2016, and I went every single day the rest of that year, all with Mom’s help. When she couldn’t go with me to the gym herself, she still kept me in check. She asked me if I worked out, she gave me suggestions when I was trying to figure out a busy day’s schedule, and I can’t ignore all of the awesome videos and motivational quotes she shared with me. Even on the days I had to bare the gym alone, she was still always there in some way, holding my accountable.

Just a year before we started our health journeys, the 2 of us made it to Disney World together, and we had a hard time sharing photos of those adventures. We were both in such unhealthy places, every picture seemed to highlight our double chins, and so many photographs from this incredible trip were shared only between us.

Now several years and a pandemic later, feeling free of the weight that once held us down, we got to enjoy a trip to Hawaii together. This time, I made sure to splurge on a photographer to capture these memories. I didn’t have to sit and take breaks throughout the day because I was out of breath, I didn’t have to call it early some days because my feet were in so much pain, and we didn’t feel as guilty eating donuts for breakfast this time around either. Being able to share this journey with someone, whether it’s a friend or you own parental unit, makes it that much more enjoyable in the end.

With your best friend by your side, you can conquer the tallest of mountains and all of your dreams. If you need to lose weight or get healthy, don’t try to do it alone. Tell your friends, tell your mom, ask for help, or at the very least tell them to check in with you! It holds you accountable, and having the support of your bestie as you go makes it all that much easier. If you’re as lucky as I am, there will be lots of laughs too. My mom is the best buddy I’ve got, and I couldn’t have gotten to where I am today, mentally and physically, without her support.

Don’t forget to pop in our private Empowerment group on Facebook, where there is a whole group of us ready to cheer you on and support you as you try to take back your health or lose weight.

Multi-Tasking Is the New Cardio

by: Terry Ternyila

I am a multi-tasker by nature. I have a hard time doing one thing at a time. If I am watching a TV show I
am usually checking emails or ordering my food shopping online. I keep flossing sticks in my car so I can
floss while driving and I usually catch up with my mom or friends on the phone on my way home from
work so the drive doesn’t feel like a waste.

I sometimes find it hard to just set aside a half hour or hour to just do exercise. In my busy day, that time
just seems to always go to other tasks that need to get done in my day. So I have found ways to add
some of my exercise into my daily routines. Breaking them into smaller sets and working them around
my tasks I already do make it easier to keep to a daily commitment.

When we went into quarantine for Covid, I realize my steps dropped to almost nothing while working
from home, so I started a little bathroom challenge with myself. Every time I went to the bathroom, I would do a set of exercises like wall pushups, squats, or dips off the tub.

It was great and I realized sometimes I would be getting in 100 squats or pushups in a day because I
spread them out all day. I started to use other time like brushing my teeth or being on a conference call to bring in my exercises. I keep small hand weights by my desk at home so if I am listening to a call I can work my arms one at a time. I will do squats while folding laundry into the basket or lunges down the
hallway to bring the basket to the bedroom.

Even in the car, when I get stopped at a red light I will squeeze my cheeks until the light turns green. Same for waiting on line at a store. People can’t tell you are doing it and really tightens up the muscles. It really becomes a challenge for yourself to see where you can find room in your daily routine to do a
little exercise.

I love finding new places to sneak some exercise into my day. My newest spot is when I go tanning I try to find new things I can do in the booth. Depending if it’s a lay down or stand up, I have come up with some creative things I can do in a small spots for my 12 minutes. Doing these exercises throughout the
day also helps keep me focused on my eating and water intake. Get creative see how you can add exercise to your day…..

Or as Danielle would call it: free cardio

My Weight-loss Journey: Overcoming the Mental Battles

By my senior year of college, I came to realize I had spent the last 3 years putting on the “Freshman 15” with every semester that went by. I no longer owned any jeans that fit, I had to say goodbye to a lot of old clothes, and I couldn’t remember the last time I felt “good.” The year started with my ending a toxic relationship with a bad man who made me feel like I would never be “skinny,” and no one else would want me, but even after realizing I’d rather be alone my whole life than be with him, I still could never shake the thoughts that had been drilled into my head for so long: I was weak, and I would never change. Measuring at 4-foot-11-inches tall, I may have been “big” according to the scale, but at the same time, I felt small and defenseless, which was not the mindset I needed.

I had tried so many fad diets over the years to lose the weight, but it either didn’t work, didn’t stick, or the weight came right back because I didn’t  stay consistent. Either way, I had no idea what I was doing, but one late night as I lay in bed, I thought to myself, “I may be small, but I don’t need to be weak.” For that split second, the thought crossed my mind that I did not need to lose weight. I needed to get stronger, and I could do that if I just tried.

When I woke up the next morning, I went to my mom right away and told her I was going to the gym. Being my biggest supporter, she got dressed and came with me to sign myself up for a membership, and I started to sweat. Unlike any other time I thought “I can do it,” I followed through. I didn’t let the thought pass, I didn’t wait for a Monday, and I didn’t even really have a plan. I just knew I couldn’t give up, or I would be the same as I was yesterday.

From that morning on to the end of the year, I found time every single day to make it to the gym, whether it was a 10-minute workout before class or an hour at the end of the day. Slowly but surely, it became routine. I didn’t give up on that thought, although that is not to say I believed in myself every day. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing in the gym, and of course I did not feel I could belong there when everyone else seemed so confident and fit around me.

On the days my mom came, I felt courageous enough with a buddy to try new equipment and different workouts, and on the days I was alone, I told myself stories on the treadmill of how all these strong people around me started somewhere too, and maybe how they also looked down to their feet once before and could not see them either.

My weightloss journey doesn’t start nor end here, but the fall of 2016 was a monumental moment for me in which I realized I didn’t have to believe everything I thought. In fact, I can choose what I believe, so I chose to believe the good thoughts instead of the bad.

I made it to the gym every day, including Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve by planning ahead, but life changed as I kicked off New Years Day in 2017 with a flight to London for my study abroad program. I was active every day walking all over the city, but I gained back all I had lost so far with my daily pub meals and countless beers. However, when I got back on track in March 2017, I lost it all again and then some, ultimately losing 60 pounds in 365 days. Just like in the beginning, all I needed was that belief that I could do it.

It all comes down to mindset; I learned to believe in myself because no one could do that for me. I asked for help when I knew I needed it, bringing my mom or other friends with me to the gym to keep me going. I wasn’t perfect every day, but I didn’t let 1 bad day define the next, nor would I punish myself if I fell off course.

No matter what, the most important thing is to keep going. When everything seems to be failing or you start to lose hope in yourself, choose to keep going anyway. Don’t give up, because that won’t speed up the process.

Remember: A little progress each day adds up to big results. It doesn’t happen in a day, but with the right mindset, you can and will achieve the results you set out to.