My big “a-ha” moment was about a year ago, when I weighed myself and saw that I was close to the weight I was in high school in 2010. After high school, I lost about 65 pounds and felt great about myself. I met my husband Joe, we got married, and had a baby boy (our son Lucas is now 3 years old!). When I saw that I was back to my high school weight, I thought to myself, “No! I refuse to weigh what I did senior year again. I need to make changes.” So I did. 

“When my belly is full, I stop eating.” 

When I began the Challenge, I started focusing on food and fitness. I decided to make easy, small changes at first, like eating smaller portions. When I eat snacks, I take the time to measure serving sizes. I try to eat slower now too, so I can really listen to my belly. When it says it’s full, I stop eating. I used to have to finish my plate because that’s how I was raised, but I’ve learned that saving some of your meal is OK! If you are full, stop eating. 

“It’s all about balance and moderation.”

I keep track of my calories to an extent, but honestly, it’s all about balance and moderation to me. I don’t like to deprive my body of sweets or things I “shouldn’t” eat. I can have a few bites or a serving size of something versus eating the entire bag. I do not drink soda, and I changed the way I drink coffee. I used to put tons of creamer in my coffee. Now I make iced coffee at home using Starbucks unsweetened medium roast coffee you can get from the store. For the creamer I use almond milk creamer. I measure all the suggested serving sizes, and I limit myself to one coffee. I’m also drinking tons of water, and I’ve been encouraging my son to drink more water with me. I always carry a large Camelbak water bottle with a handle so that I can have water ready and available to me. My bottle is one liter, and I refill and drink it about six times a day.

I’m so happy I didn’t listen to my inner critic.”

The hardest part of the Challenge is not giving up hope when you’re not losing the weight you want. I struggled the most when I wasn’t seeing changes right away, but you have to trust the process. It will happen, you just have to be patient. My inner critic would say, “The scale isn’t moving, so what you are doing is not worth your time!” I am so incredibly happy I didn’t listen to that voice, and I kept pushing myself and making time for myself every single day. I’ve lost 60 pounds. I’ve encouraged not one, but at least three people to start making Better Choices — including my husband, who is also down 50 pounds. 

As far as family goes, I’m trying to leave my phone in other areas of the house so I am not distracted. That way, I can really open my eyes and enjoy these moments with family more. I sit down on the floor and play with my toddler a lot more, and I include him in activities that keep us active!

–-Melissa Palmer, Supercenter #2352; Cambridge, MN; $5K Winner