Author Archives: Dani Stone

Deb Arneson-Suarez Lost Almost 100 Pounds When She Said, “No More Excuses.”

Almost two years ago, Deb Arneson-Suarez saw a new Planet Fitness gym in her neighborhood. She took this literal sign as a figurative sign that it was time! Time to get healthy and lose the weight that had been with her for as long as she could remember. Now, down almost 100 pounds, she credits her competitive nature for keeping her on the path to her goal.

deb arneson suarez

Deb says by the time she was in the 5th grade she was already familiar with commercial weight loss programs and restrictive diets but for her, the very idea of restriction, always set her up to fail. In her twenties, Deb says “drinking and other bad lifestyle choices” contributed to her weight gain. Sadly, when she realized it was time to get clean and sober, she gained even more.

When Deb saw the “open 24 hours” logo at Planet Fitness, she knew there would be no more excuses for not treating herself better. “The city metro bus stop I used to go to work and come home was right in front of the gym,” she said. “I was sick of feeling tired, sick and miserable. I wanted to be healthy – truly healthy.”

She knew that losing weight would have to be a two-fold approach so she started going to the gym every night after work – even if it was only for 30 minutes at a time – and then adopted a predominantly vegetarian lifestyle. “I used the internet like crazy,” she explained. “If I craved something chocolate (like brownies) I would research healthier options like flourless black bean brownies. Yum!” (more…)

What to Feed the Reluctant Breakfast Eater and 9 Quick Options to Mix and Match

back to school breakfast

The school year is fast-approaching for my little family, and may already be in session for yours. With this change of seasons comes the hustle of the morning routine.

Ugh.

Two different kids off to two different schools and a teenager who hates eating breakfast, unless its served after 11:00 a.m.

I know I can’t send him out the door with an empty belly or a Pop-Tart clutched in his fist, so I did a little research and I think I found a few tweaks we can make to our schedule, and compromise foods that will make us both happy.

Come on, Mom, just 5 more minutes.

As children get older their sleep patterns change. Teens fall asleep later so the snooze button (slash mom’s forgiveness) gets pushed to maximum capacity until finally there is no time for breakfast. To combat this, I’m instituting a decent school night bedtime and declaring that NO electronics will be allowed in his room past that time.

(more…)

With a 90 Pound Weight Loss, Brigette Underwood is About to Hit ‘Onederland.’

I’m just throwing it out there, I adore Brigette Underwood. Today’s true weight loss story comes to us from deep in the heart of Mississippi. This southern girl knows her food triggers (fried chicken), but now instead of yo-yo dieting, she’s finding balance and a healthier relationship with food than she’s ever had before. Look at that smile. I want to sit and sip on some sweet tea with you, girl.

brigette underwood collage 1

More from Brigette in her own words.

Tell me when your weight struggles began. I distinctly remember in 3rd grade a boy asking if I had a baby in my tummy. I was always bigger than my friends. I never felt pretty or accepted because of my weight. I would go through phases of crash dieting and starving myself but obviously none of that worked. I had a very unhealthy relationship with food.

What caused you to realize you needed to change? I realized I needed to change when I had a physical done before I started nursing school. My blood pressure was 150/91, the highest it had ever been, and I weighed a whopping 254lbs. How did I let myself get to that point? I don’t really know. But I knew I needed to change or I was going to have major health problems and I was only 19 years old.

How did you lose the weight? I started by simply down sizing my portions. I wasn’t necessarily eating better but I was eating less. Then one day I decided to join a gym and I fell in love with working out! What a great stress relief from nursing school. The more I worked out the better I wanted to eat. The better I ate, the better I felt.

(more…)

Mike Matteson Lost 279 Pounds Without Surgery. “I used Diet, Exercise and a Lot of Blood, Sweat and Tears.”

Mike Matteson admits, “I had every bad habit you can think of that contributed to my weight gain.” At 503 pounds, Mike says he often laid down to eat. Now, this bodybuilder, yes, I said bodybuilder, has lost an amazing 279 pounds. His success was hard won, and his story is one of the most inspirational I’ve read in a long time.

I don’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t overweight.

Over the years, Mike says he has dealt with “just about every uncomfortable thing that an obese person has to deal with.” From the bullying of classmates, to finding a seat belt that would fit across his midsection, Mike lived in a body that he never felt good about, and admittedly, didn’t take care of.

mike matteson Collage 2

Mike revealed that processed/junk and fast food were his diet staples. He never cooked, and says 90% of his meals were served by a waitress or through a drive-up window. Exercise, he admits, was nonexistent. “I was probably the laziest person you could ever meet,” he said.

I would wake up numerous times through the night gasping for breath.

Finally, Mike says the cumbersome weight of his body, the lack of sleep due to worsening apnea, and the warning by his doctor that he was pre-diabetic and would have to be placed on blood pressure medication finally culminated in the realization that he was in serious trouble. “I lived my life in bed,” he explained. “I knew if I didn’t do something that’s exactly where I would die.”

I lost the weight the good old fashioned way, with diet, exercise, and a lot of blood, sweat, and tears!

At 503 pounds, Mike knew exercise would be a challenge. He started by walking to the end of his driveway and back again. Eventually, he was able to walk around the block. After one year, even though he hadn’t changed his diet, his increased activity helped him lose 100 pounds.

(more…)

Sara Kolling Lost 85 Pounds After Leaving an Abusive Relationship

If you’ve ever been in an abusive relationship, you know how it drains you of your spirit and self-esteem. Today, our true weight loss story focuses on Sara Kolling, a woman who had the courage to leave her abuser and for the first time in a long time, devote herself to her own well being. After losing 85 pounds, Sara feels stronger than she has in years, in more ways than one.

Sara Kolling Collage

Though Sara admits she was always the girl who was picked on and teased in school about her weight, she acknowledges that the pounds really started to pack on during the first year of her marriage. Once the abuse began, Sara became an emotional eater and says she just ate, “no matter what.” After three years, Sara finally sought a divorce.

The first thing I changed was no more diet soda, and no more eating after seven p.m.

On her own again, Sara finally got serious about wanting to lose weight when she got tired of her clothes being too tight, not being able to keep up with the students she worked with, and feeling like she couldn’t do even the simplest workout routine. She started by eliminating all the sugary, processed and junk food from her diet. The book, The Eat Clean Diet, by Tosca Reno was her first guide.

(more…)

Lacey Raul Lost 100 Pounds and Completed a Half-Marathon. Weight Loss Done Right!

Lacey Raul 1

When Lacey Raul was growing up, no one held her accountable for what she ate, urged her to exercise or explained the future ramifications of a sedentary lifestyle. After trying to lose weight the “wrong” way for years, Lacey shifted gears, lost 100 pounds and kept it off, the right way. In May, she completed her first half-marathon and finished with a very respectable time of 2:24.

More from Lacey in her own words –

Tell me when your weight struggles began: I’ve had weight issues my entire life. I was always the fat girl who never wore shorts, and couldn’t even run a mile in PE class. I was tormented and teased my whole childhood but never had the guidance to eat better or the push to exercise.

What habits specifically led you to gain weight? I was a fast food junky. It was always around, convenient and cheap. I knew the lifestyle was unhealthy but I was in denial. I remember specifically when I was about 25 buying a size 16 suit for work and thinking, I can make this work I don’t need to lose weight. I looked like I was in my forties. It was sad.

(more…)

Bell Smith Lost 67 Pounds – “I’ll Never Be Skinny But I Can Still Carry Weight and Be Healthy”

Bell Smith is a belly-dancing beauty who embraces her curves because she knows they belong to a healthy body. For a time in her life, Bell let stress and grief take hold and she forgot to focus on her own well-being. Not anymore. After a 67-pound weight loss and mind-shift, Bell has transformed her life and her body.

More from Bell in her own words –

Bell Smith collage

Tell me when your weight struggles began. As a child, I could eat what I wanted and get away with it, but when I lost both my parents in the span of two years and then job stress piled on, so did the weight.  I experienced out-of-control eating, excess carb intake and I really overdid the fast food.

What caused you to realize you needed to change? I saw a family picture of myself in 2009 and thought, “I’m fat.” Since my dad’s side of the family carried a lot of weight and both parents had high blood pressure and diabetes, I knew I had to take charge.

How did you lose the weight? I knew I had gained weight, yet I had been belly dancing since 2001 and my troupe accepted me as I was. I didn’t realize how much weight I’d gained. I started off by walking in the early morning with friends while it was dark so no one could see me, then signed up for a gym membership.

(more…)

The Mayo Clinic Diet Launches Today, Presenting a Customizable Weight Loss Plan Online That Gets it Right

the mayo clinic diet

The Mayo Clinic, long heralded for their compassionate treatment of patients, can now add “diet guru” to its list of accolades. If you think an acclaimed medical facility has the upper hand when it comes to creating a comprehensive weight loss website, you’d be right. The Mayo Clinic Diet is weight loss done right.

The focus is on changing habits for a lifetime

The Mayo Clinic Diet, a personalized plan developed by doctors and nutritionists, is split in to two phases, “Lose It!” and “Live It!” The first phase is a “jump-start” helping you lose up to 6-10 pounds over a two-week period in a safe and healthy way. The “Live It!” phase is intended to help you lose 1-2 pounds per week until you’ve hit your weight loss goal, a widely recommended rate of weight loss, and then guides you on how to sustain it for a life.

Last week I took the diet for a little spin. After creating my personal account with a bit of pertinent data about my height, weight, activity level and weight loss goal (confidential, thank you very much), I was pleasantly surprised to see how quickly the entire plan was created for me. Once the system calculated my optimum calorie intake for weight loss, it simultaneously delivered weeks worth of meal plans and recipes to help me reach my goal.

(more…)

Kara Allbaugh Lost 80 Pounds – “I Was a Food Addict and then Something Shifted. I’m So Glad.”

My name is Kara, I’m from Nebraska, and I was a food addict. This was my first introduction to Kara Allbaugh, this week’s True Weight Loss Story inspiration. When I received Kara’s email I was struck by her honesty and touched by her story. This mama said, “No more. I’m worthy,” and then she put in the hard work to lose 80 pounds.

Kara Allbaugh 1

More from Kara in her own words –

Tell me when your weight struggles began. After I finished with school and settled down, it seemed like a downhill slide from there. When I got pregnant, I just gave up on how I looked. I just assumed that’s what happens.

What habits specifically led you to gain weight? I thought I needed to eat for two, and I did. Fast food became an addiction.

What caused you to realize you needed to change? Wow, so many things. My biggest reason was that I wanted to stop being miserable. I didn’t want to be trapped in a flabby body anymore. I wanted to wear anything I wanted, not search forever for something that might make my body look cute.

(more…)

Jillian is Out, Two New Coaches are in. Biggest Loser Shakes it up for Season 16

jessie pavelka jennifer widestromThe season premiere of The Biggest Loser is still 71 long days away but NBC is already announcing big changes for the 16th year. This year, Jillian fans will mourn her departure as two new J-name trainers take center stage.

Why, Jillian? Why?

On June 25, NBC announced the news of Jillian’s departure saying, “The Biggest Loser and Jillian Michaels have decided to part ways and she will not be returning for season 16 when it airs in the fall.”

This will be Jillian’s third exit from the popular weight loss program.

Whoa! Jillian Michaels Exposes Nude Figure in Shape Magazine July Issue

New Coaches? Hold me. I don’t even know.

In Jillian’s absence, NBC will have big shoes to fill, and evidently it takes two new coaches to do it. With the addition of Jessie Pavelka and Jennifer Widestrom, the coach tally climbs to four. Dolvett Quince, Bob Harper, and host Alison Sweeney have all signed on for season 16.

This will be just the second time in BL history that four coaches have been available to help contestants. (more…)