Name: RC S.
MyFitnessPal User Since: October 2012
1. What was your relationship with food like growing up?
Growing up an Italian New Yorker meant food was central to everything. You ate regardless if you were hungry and you ate until you were overly full. I certainly developed an unhealthy emotional relationship with food.
2. What motivated you to start making healthy changes?
I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and told I was on my way to being diabetic. I remember I had visions of my grandfather sticking himself with needles and did not want that for myself. I knew I had to make some changes to better my future.
3. What goals did you set for yourself at the beginning of your journey?
I wanted to lose weight by eating better. I downloaded MyFitnessPal immediately after leaving my doctor’s appointment and just learned what I was doing to myself with food and then made small changes to be able to lose weight. I started with calories, really paying attention to the quantity that was in the foods I was eating and swapping them for options that supported my health goals. I also learned how to make the foods I craved with less caloric ingredients. For example, using “thins” for sandwiches, burgers and even turning them into chips!
4. Can you share a turning point in your health journey?
Running my first 5k. I started going for walks (with my dog!) as a way to “earn” more calories, which led to short runs, which led to a 5k. That led to me losing weight and running more, so eventually I attempted longer distances. Now I’ve completed a total of 18 half marathons and one full marathon!
5. That’s amazing! Why running?!
I like the challenge and how easy it is to see improvement and growth. Being able to run a 5k took time but before I knew it, a 5k became a warm up. That progression was rewarding!
6. What was running your first marathon like?
Completing it remains one of my proudest moments. It’s up there with achieving my doctorate! During the run, I felt every emotion — anger, joy, pain, frustration. I actually wrote my starting weight on my hand. That way, in moments of self-doubt, I had something to look at to remind myself of what I’d already achieved.
7. How has tracking your food impacted your habits?
It allows me to make better choices about what I need versus what I want. If I want a cookie, I’ll still have it! But tracking it helps me make more informed and mindful choices the rest of the day.
8. What MyFitnessPal app features do you find most helpful?
I have a few:
- The 5-week weight projections after completing my food diary for the day
- The daily food logging streak counter
- The Quick Add tool
- Being able to look at nutritional information for restaurant meals ahead of time
Want to try these tools yourself? Download MyFitnessPal today.
9. What goals have you achieved in your health journey — and what do you want to achieve next?
Losing weight played a huge role in improving my bill of health, and I generally feel better.
When it comes to my weight, I gained 40lbs back throughout the 9 years. I recently lost 50lbs again. So, next I want to master weight maintenance and continue sharing my story to help others.
10. What Italian “New Yorker” foods do you still enjoy for your body and soul?
All of them! I was never a “you can’t have this” kind of person. On the days I make sauce and meatballs for dinner, I opt for a low calorie, high-protein breakfast. I also workout and eat a very light lunch. Exercising and eating enough high quality foods throughout the day helps me enjoy my meal without over indulging too much.
Oh, and I make sure I pair those meals with a salad!
11. What have you learned about yourself during this journey?
I’ve learned that I can do anything! All habits start with the decision to try. The only way you fail is if you quit. Consistency will beat out motivation any day of the week.
12. Any advice for others considering MyFitnessPal?
Do one new thing at a time! Don’t introduce tracking, aiming for a calorie deficit, and workouts all at once. I started with calorie counting. I treated my calories like a bank account and made choices that would help me get the most bang for my buck!
I also like the concept of habit stacking. It’s when you link a new habit you want to develop to something you already do regularly. By doing this, you can create a chain of habits, making it easier to remember. For example, if you want to improve your hydration, decide to drink a 12oz glass of water every time you’re waiting for coffee to brew or right after you brush your teeth.
But, most importantly, don’t rush progress! Master one and then introduce another.
RC did it. You can, too. Download MyFitnessPal and start your food logging journey.
*Weight loss involves a healthy diet and exercise. Results may vary.