Amber Quest has been on a streak for 4 years, 4 months, 2 weeks and 4 days. A streak of this length is respectable on its own merit but for Quest, it means more than just keeping the streak alive. Every day, for more than 1,600 days, she has logged into the MyFitnessPal app to track her nutrition and fitness goals with MyFitnessPal — scoring a mental health boost and an impressive 93-pound weight loss in the process. “Eating well and exercise are addictive to me now,” says Quest. “I can’t get enough of the way I feel when I am eating well and exercising.”
Four and a half years ago, before her MFP streak started, it was a different story for the 35-year-old from Columbia, Missouri. “Health and fitness were very lowly prioritized in my life before using MyFitnessPal,” she says.
Quest, like so many of us, regularly caved under the burden of too many excuses: Too busy. Too tired. Too late. No matter the excuse, she never prioritized her health, eating poorly and avoiding exercise like the plague instead. “I was miserable with my appearance and the way I felt but didn’t have the accountability and motivation to do anything about it,” she says.
MISSING OUT ON FAMILY MOMENTS
For Quest, being miserable when she looked in the mirror was only part of her struggle with her body. The real catalyst to turn her health around came from her kids — specifically realizing her health was getting in the way of her ability to be active and present with her two children.
“My lack of presence in my kids’ lives was evident to me in simple daily activities, like going to the park,” she explains. “I couldn’t participate with them because I didn’t have the energy to do so. Instead, I sat on the sidelines and watched them.”
Even sharing small moments with her kids like playing with them after coming home from work had become difficult. “I was tired all of the time and didn’t have the energy to devote to my kids that they deserved,” she says. “I was really eager to be alongside them as an active memory of their childhood rather than a passive bystander.”
Finally, Quest hit her breaking point while on a family vacation in Europe — a trip that had long been a dream of the Quest family. “We had done a lot of walking one day and it was nearing the end of the day when our group was crossing a street to get to the next destination,” she remembers. That’s when her legs “literally stopped working,” she says. She was too tired and out of shape to go on. “I was so overweight and unhealthy that my body couldn’t handle the amount of stress I was putting on it simply by walking to see sights on vacation,” she says. “I decided right then that I couldn’t continue to live this way.”
BECOMING A HEALTHY, ACTIVE MOM
As anyone who’s ever tried to get healthy knows, it’s one thing to make the decision to lose weight and another thing to actually make it happen. For Quest, the secret to success was finding tools that kept her accountable for her health by finding a supportive community where she could share her goals — and get support for her challenges.
“MyFitnessPal has been a major accountability factor for me,” she says. “Logging my food and having friends who used the app as well helped me to stay on track with the dietary changes I needed to make to get healthy.”
By eating healthier, Quest started to see and feel major changes in her body. She wanted more. “As I started to lose weight by eating better, I was motivated to add activity to my lifestyle,” she says. In addition to setting nutrition goals and tracking her calorie intake with MyFitnessPal, Quest started hitting the gym. As she got involved with group fitness classes, she quickly became hooked on the high of a healthy lifestyle.
Today, she finally has the energy to keep up with her kids, who are now 5 and 9 years old. “I feel like more of a presence in my kids’ lives now,” she says. Instead of sitting on the sidelines or being too drained to spend time playing with them after a long day at work, Quest now enjoys going on bike rides and walks with her young children. “We play at the park, and I have the energy to take them places that involve climbing, running and just generally being active,” she says. “It’s such a satisfying feeling to know that their memories will include me being alongside them, rather than on the sidelines.”
But it’s not all about the physical changes. Quest says taking control of her health and being accountable to her short- and long-term health goals has also made her a lot happier. “My mental focus, clarity and general level of happiness is much higher now that I am healthier,” she explains. “I’m not so tired all of the time now so I have more energy and endurance to complete tasks at work and home. Additionally, the changes in my diet and exercise have fueled me on an emotional level — I am just a happier, healthier person all the way around.”
KEEPING THE STREAK ALIVE
To this day, Quest — and her amazing health-tracking streak — are still going strong. Even better, the process taught her a lesson she didn’t expect. During the process of tracking her meals and checking off classes at the gym, she learned she had a real interest in how nutrition impacts the body — both her physical appearance and her energy levels — and how different forms of exercise (yoga vs. HIIT, for example) can impact her body inside and out. That’s a fire she wants to keep stoking for the rest of her life.
“My largest driving future health goal is to maintain a healthy, happy lifestyle,” says Quest. “I was unhealthy for so long that now I want to prove to myself that I can be healthy for the rest of my life.”