Last spring, Misty Shaffer gathered with her family at the airport and waited anxiously for the arrival of her husband who had been stationed in Afghanistan for 12 months. When Larry scanned the crowd for his wife, his jaw dropped when he spotted her. After secretly losing 100 pounds while he was deployed, all Misty could do was smile.
When he finally remembered to speak, the Army Specialist simply said one word, “Wow!”
I spoke with Misty by phone from her home in North Carolina. In a deep southern accent she confirmed that almost one year after surprising her husband, she has maintained her phenomenal weight loss. The story of how she lost the weight and why is still just as captivating as it was last year.
“I just wanted him to pick me up,” she said. During the long months without her husband, while she struggled with food cravings and cared for their young daughter, Misty held that vision in her mind. For the first time ever, she wanted to be swept into his arms.
How She Kept The Weight Off For Good
In the past, Misty followed diet plans and swallowed weight loss pills but the pounds never stayed off for long. Shortly after her husband was deployed Misty decided it was the perfect time to make better choices with her diet. “I knew I wouldn’t have all the ice cream and junk that he likes in the house,” she explained. She started by banishing all sweets, carbs and starches from her pantry.
She focused on eating smaller portions with lean meat, lots of veggies and drinking, “tons of water.”
Once her new way of eating became commonplace, she slowly added carbs back in but still maintained healthy portion control. “I never told myself it was a diet,” she said. “I just thought about it as taking better care of myself. Not for a short time, forever.”
Misty’s Healthy Go-To Foods:
- Spanish Rice – Whole grain rice, tomatoes, spices, ground turkey and tomato juice
- Special K Protein Bars – Chocolate Peanut Butter is her favorite
- Salmon – Steamed or baked
- Asparagus – Baked in the oven with a little bit of olive oil, red wine vinegar and salt/pepper
The couple have a four year old daughter, Nevaeh (Ne-vay-ah), who still seems a little perplexed by mom’s weight loss. “We’ll look at a photo album,” Misty told me, “and she’ll point to an old picture of me and ask, ‘Mama, who’s that?’ She doesn’t believe it was me.”
When I talked to Misty I couldn’t help but wonder how, in this age of digital communication, she was able to keep her weight loss a secret from her husband. “I had lots of help from family,” she said. “They wouldn’t talk about it on Facebook and if they posted pictures, they would block him from seeing them.”
Heavy her entire life, Misty is determined to keep the weight off. She remembers not being able to wear jeans in elementary school because they cut into her thighs, and all the teasing she endured over the years. She contributes much of her early weight gain to big portions and, “good ole southern cooking.
This time, Misty is putting faith in herself and she wants others who are struggling to do the same – “Tell yourself it’s a life change. Set your heart to it, and your mind, and you can do it.”