As most of us know, the fall seems to be the easiest time to let our diets and workouts slip away. We worked and worked for swimsuit season. Then it comes and goes. Our evenings seem to be consumed with kids’ activities. The evenings slip away faster. The weather is cooler so we start wearing heavier clothes. Sometimes we have no clue that we’re eating more and working out less. Sometimes we totally and completely forget to schedule some active time into our weekly agenda. Then all the sudden we step on the scale…
Here we are, week one of October. The PRIME quitting time. But not you. Not this year. We’re going to do everything in our power to help you stay on track. Today we’re sharing an interview that we did with our friend and iTrackBites user, Stacey Black (@stronger_stacey2.0). We first noticed Stacey when she would tag @itrackbites on her before and after and weigh-in Instagram posts. We took a closer look and we were instantly amazed by her. The important thing to know about her is commitment. Her story serves as a huge inspiration for staying the course right now. Here’s Stacey:
Explain your weight-loss journey. How/ when did you get started? What were some of the first steps you took?
I have been a serial dieter for as long as I can remember. I have started more times than I can count. In 2011, I lost 70 pounds in addition to 50 pounds I had lost during the two years before. I was down 120 pounds after being 300.5 pounds at the age of 25. I was able to keep myself at that weight for 3 years before I got pregnant with my daughter in 2014. During my pregnancy, I let go of all the good habits I had developed over the years. I gave in to most every craving and I ultimately gained 65 pounds during those nine months. Life (in general) and a healthy lifestyle after a baby came very difficult for me to balance. I have started and restarted my journey a dozen times over the last 5 years, but in 2020 I have seen some big progress. I am a teacher and the summertime is always the time I restart and focus on healthy habits. This year when school let out in March I decided it was the best time to focus on myself again. I had 5 months to get a jumpstart on my weight loss journey before the hustle and bustle of the school year would begin again. The first step is and has always been food for me. It was time to clean out the foods that could trigger me into not tracking or overindulging and start planning all my meals. The quarantine was not like a regular summer filled with rest. (For example) lunches with friends and playdates with other moms. It was lots of eating at home and trying new recipes. This really gave me the push to get food back on track.
How would say your everyday lifestyle, routines, and habits have changed since beginning this process?
When starting any journey, we must evaluate the areas in our life that made us begin the journey in the first place. I had to make time for things that I normally do not prioritize. I made exercise a no excuse priority. Starting with my mile and I usually do something else in addition to the mile 3-5 days a week. I meal prep breakfast, lunch, and snacks on Sundays. This helps me not use the excuse of being too tired during the school week to pack a healthy lunchbox. If I buy snacks that do not come in single servings, I split them into servings as soon as I get them home. These little changes help set me up for a successful week!
Tell us the story of starting 1 mile a day. What/ who made you want to do this?
On March 1, 2018 I went to the YMCA like many afternoons. I usually worked out with a friend, Genise, and that day after the gym she told me she was going to run a mile. Genise told me she planned to do a mile a day the entire month of March. I was instantly interested and told her I would join in. I am a goal setter by nature, and I love to set goals publicly for extra accountability. So thirty days in a row sounded like just the challenge I needed to start something new and that Facebook was just the place to announce it! I set the rules that day for myself that I could walk or run a mile each day, but that it had to be separate from any other activity. By the time I got to the end of March, I knew that I wanted to do at least 100 days in a row. Those seemed to fly by and my next goal was a year. And here I am less than 100 days from one thousand days in a row!
What does that challenge look like today versus over 900 days ago?
This challenge really evolves and changes. Sometimes my goal is to use my mile to relax and take 20 minutes for myself. I listen to podcasts mostly and it makes the time fly by! Some days and weeks my mile has been for speed! There was a time period where I was trying to beat my best personal mile time. I ran with faster paced friends and with the help of another teacher at my school I was able to reach my goal of a mile faster than 10 minutes. 9:50 was my time that day and I have no intentions of ever beating it! It was so tough! And then some days the goal is just to get it done.
In what ways do you include iTrackBites in your weight-loss journey?
Tracking food and activity are a major part of my journey. Using the tools provided to get this done have made my journey easier. iTrackBites also has a very inspirational social media presence. The quotes, recipes, and users they feature are all integral parts of helping mold the mindset of a successful health and wellness journey.
Can you talk a little bit about accountability and commitment? Over 900 days! Wow! What has worked for you and what hasn’t?
Accountability at first, came from announcing my plan on social media. I knew if I made a public declaration that I would be more likely to follow through. My hesitation to announce it helped to me to realize that I would need the accountability. After the first 100 days, it really was just a habit. I knew I had one mile to do each day and I got it done. At most, it was 20 minutes of my day. I have had strep, a stomach virus, and an outpatient procedure done since I started and those 3 days I had to really dig deep and remember that I’ve come too far to turn back. I have gotten soaking wet in the rain many days, danced in the breeze on others, I have almost froze in the winter, and I’ve battled the Alabama heat all in the name of commitment.
As you know, autumn through the holidays is the easiest time for all of us to fall off of the health and wellness wagon. What advice can you give to those of us that have either slipped up recently, or feel the onset of a slip up?
Fall is my favorite time of year. Relief from the heat, the leaves are gorgeous, and the social season is really getting started. It is so easy to get caught up in gatherings and parties (then) our own goals and health can get pushed to the back burner. Someone once told me to remember that each holiday is just a day. One single day. I try and remember that it is ok to enjoy myself that one day. I may not track or count any points that holiday, but the next day it is back to business and my goals resume. That is especially important over the next few months. My motto this fall is “be picky with your treats”. That sentence resonated with me because I love to treat myself and sometimes it is so often, they aren’t even treats anymore! I have no plans (of) “restarting” this January! I will be just be continuing my journey, but that is going to take some discipline and commitment this fall.
Favorite cheat day snack or activity??
On cheat day you can find me at a Mexican Restaurant! Queso and margaritas are my favorite indulgences!
Thank you, Stacey, so so much for that incredible story. It is so true that we grow wiser with time and experience. It’s pretty obvious that Stacey has had both of those things in her health and wellness journey. And that cheat day- UH YEAH same girl same! I think we can all come away from this story with not only admiration, but motivation.
As the leaves begin to turn and our calendars fill with social events. We encourage you to stay the course in your journey. We love when our community reaches out in need of support. We have endless resources, guides, and even coaches for one on one accountability. Don’t fall victim to this tricky season. Let’s charge full steam ahead, together.