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: Making Healthy Choices

by: Danielle Ternyila

The way my family cooks and eats now is so different than a decade ago, which has been one of the best things for my weight loss journey. In the beginning, my parents were both starting their own journeys to take back their health. My father was doing a fad diet with a nutritionist and a 12-week program that cut calories and limited the types of foods he ate. My mother was preparing for a weight loss surgery, “the sleeve”, and so our kitchen underwent some drastic changes.

I was determined to lose weight my own way. I was only 22, too young to be considering surgery, and I had tried enough fad diets before to know it would not work for me; results were too short term. I needed long-lasting changes to my lifestyle so that I could live my healthiest.

Having just graduated college, I was living with my parents again, and our lifestyle began to change. My dad’s diet encouraged him to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, and so the whole family did too. If mom is cooking dinner, she isn’t cooking a dinner for every one! If the parents planned to do cabbage and ground beef because of their diets, that was the menu. (Like I said, I just graduated college, and I was in no place to pass up free food, so cabbage and ground beef it was!)

Mom’s diet had to change after her surgery if she wanted to keep off the weight, just like with any type of diet, but this one has been a lot more restrictive. No more caffeine for Mama, so we started collecting all types of new teas to try at home. She is mindful of how much protein she eats, so we started finding all sorts of unique snacks and recipes to get extra protein in. Shout-out to one of our favorite on-the-go snacks: Sargento’s Cheese and Nuts pack!

Eventually our pantry was filled with very nutritious options, and all of the chips, cookies, and sugary snacks were out. This really helped in making healthier decisions because the healthy options far outweighed the bad. One tip I will share is to not throw all your junk food out and fill it with new snacks in one grocery trip! Take time trying new foods and snacks to find what you like, otherwise you’ll be left with nothing familiar as you transition to a healthier diet and probably more likely to run to the corner store or grabbing some drive through grub. Trust me, there’s nothing worse than feeling hungry and not recognizing a single snack in your pantry, or worse: hating every snack!

Eventually we found the snacks we liked that were also better choices, and that ultimately was a huge help in making healthier decisions. When you don’t have junk food around, you won’t eat it. When you venture out of your comfort zone and try new foods, you’ll find new and nutritious meals to eat in the future!

My dad’s diet was big on fresh fruits, vegetables, and meat, and that was about it. He was given some really unique recipes however, so we began trying out new recipes that incorporated all of these things in. We started cooking dishes in water instead of oil, sautéing our veggies in apple cider vinegar, and avoiding processed foods entirely.

Best recipe we got from this diet, though: Dirty Texas Rice, cooked with lean ground beef, finely chopped cabbage and chili powder with some hot sauce!

All of these things really contributed to my weight loss journey. I made working out a priority in my life, but it was important that I ate healthy too. I think the biggest part has been that I made these changes to my overall lifestyle. I can’t remember the last time my family had pork chops, pasta, mashed potatoes… all those meals that used to be the norm in our household but really weren’t the most nutritious.

Try to get every one at home involved when you are changing your diet! If you want results to last you a lifetime, you need to improve your lifestyle. Make healthier choices daily, start filling your cabinets with healthier alternatives, slowly cut out “the bad” from your kitchen, and it will not only get easier but become routine.