Editor’s note: Cathrine Shinn lost 100 pounds using Diet-to-Go, and has managed to maintain that weight loss for more than a year.* This year, we’ll regularly catch up with Cathrine to learn her tips and tricks for weight loss, healthy living and more!
Current weight: 230
Goal: Lose 10 pounds and maintenance
Time Since Losing 100 pounds: One year, 7 months
Ever felt discouraged when you’re trying to lose weight?
We’ve all experienced that feeling of frustration and hopelessness when the weight is not coming off as quickly as we’d like — or worse, we see the scale go in the opposite direction.
Cathrine’s 100-pound weight loss and maintenance for more than a year is something special, but it hasn’t come without its own measure of setbacks and frustrations along the way.
In fact, Cathrine spent last summer traveling and gained 7 pounds.
Here’s the thing: It’s not the first time she’s experienced a setback, it won’t be the last, and it most definitely will not get in the way of her continuing to live a healthy lifestyle.
“I’ve definitely felt afraid. I’ve definitely been discouraged,” Cathrine said. “The fear had to do with my health and past failures. I’ve been discouraged because I thought I’d had success with weight loss before, and then I just gained it all back and then some, and usually pretty quickly after I lost it.”
But Cathrine decided one way or another, she was going to make it work.
“I set my mind on, ‘No, I am going to give this a try, I’m going to do a few weeks and see what happens,’” Cathrine said. “And that’s what I did.”
One year — and lots of hard work — later, Cathrine shed more than 100 pounds. More than a year later, she’s maintained that weight loss, no matter how many setbacks she had or how hopeless she felt along the way.
How did she keep going?
Cathrine shares 11 pieces of advice to push past discouragement and fight through the doubt to find weight loss success.
1) Rapid weight loss isn’t sustainable. Remember, slow and steady wins the race.
“I didn’t just want to change my weight and my size. … I had lost weight in the past before, and it wasn’t a lifestyle that I could maintain, so it led me to be unsuccessful long-term.
“If I wanted to have a glass of wine during the week, I could have one — it wouldn’t derail me. I wouldn’t be losing weight as fast, but it gave me that ability to keep it going long-term.”
2) Re-evaluate along the way.
“I didn’t get really challenged until I’d lost about 70 pounds. That’s when it started coming off slower. So I started exercising. I started walking. When I’d done that for a month, I rewarded myself with a gym membership. …
“Then I was back to, ‘Wow it’s coming off again too fast. Now I was burning a lot of calories. I had to re-evaluate again. I lost 11 pounds in 2 weeks. I wasn’t taking in enough calories. … I had excess skin, and I talked to my doctor and she said I needed to slow down.”
3) Savor the small things.
“I suddenly enjoyed shopping again and knowing I could walk into any store. I hadn’t been able to do that in 10 years. I could go with my girlfriends. Gosh is it fun to walk in…and think, ‘I’d like to have a black blouse,’ and being able to walk into any store and buy it.
“I reminded myself of those moments. I thought, ‘I don’t want to lose this freedom, this healthy feeling, not being in pain’ … I didn’t want to lose that.”
4) Build a support system.
“Talking to people made a big difference too. When you lose all that weight, everyone wants to know what you’ve done. Those casual conversations reminded me of what I did.
“I also have an app where I’m tracking what goes in what goes out…a few of my friends started using that same app. There’s a social element to those too. That kind of support system got me through those difficult times.”
5) Hold yourself accountable.
“Accountability has always been hard. By letting people in and letting them know what I was doing, it created that accountability. It let me know that other people were noticing my weight loss.
“I have always used my weight as a bit of protection. When I have lost weight in the past, when people start to focus on it, I tended to let that sabotage my success. I was really careful about that. As people got excited about me, how I looked and how beautiful I was, I was conscious about not letting that get in my head.”
6) Celebrate your successes (without food).
“I used to buy ice cream as a celebration…rewarding myself with food, with an indulgence. My rewards going through this time were all things that helped me.
“When I used the app every day…then I bought the app that had additional features.
“When I went to the gym every day for a month, I bought myself wireless headphones. I rewarded myself with something that enhanced what I was doing.”
7) Control your environment.
“I have Diet-to-Go meals in my fridge. Before, there would have been a lot of processed stuff — a lot of cheese, a lot of bread. Ice cream. Things like that.
“Now, I just got back from the farmer’s market and I bought $40 of tomatoes and cucumbers and white peaches.
“There’s a lot of yogurt in my fridge. I have raw almonds. I have tea.
“Don’t have poor food choices available.”
8) Choose healthy snacks or other options between meals.
“Decaffeinated herbal tea is something I’d do between meals. I knew I wasn’t hungry, but I wanted something. The tea was satisfying, and it kept me going until I knew I was really hungry.
“I also do snack prep each week, like using these little containers that have hummus on top and carrots on the bottom, that I can just grab when I’m feeling like I have to have something.
“White peaches are so sweet they’re like candy. I can cut that up in my yogurt and that will satisfy that sweet tooth.”
9) Don’t let discouragement lead you back to making poor choices.
“What I would’ve done in the past is gotten so discouraged, I would’ve started back into bad habits. I would’ve gone straight for the ice cream. I would’ve felt like, ‘Oh I blew it.’
But then I remember, I didn’t blow it. I thought about what I did to get here. Maybe I’d traveled or went to a party. I asked myself what happened. I’m honest with myself. And it’s usually something simple, like I wasn’t monitoring like I knew I should.”
10) Forgive yourself.
“I have to forgive myself. I have come so far and changed my life so significantly. I just can’t go back to living my life the way I was…just existing. I absolutely forgive myself.”
11) Go back to the basics.
“When I feel like I am not getting the results I want or feeling discouraged, I usually go back to the basics. And that works pretty well.
“I return to structure. I go back to the things I know that work. And guess what? I see those results again.”
Have you ever felt discouraged when trying to lose weight? What did you do to move past it?
Author: Caitlin H
Diet-to-Go Community Manager
Caitlin is the Diet-to-Go community manager and an avid runner. She is passionate about engaging with others online and maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle. She believes moderation is key, and people will have the most weight loss success if they engage in common-sense healthy eating and fitness.