Every bride looks forward to seeing her wedding photos, but for 29-year-old Eden Sanboeuf, revisiting that happy day came with some major mixed feelings.
“That was when I was at my heaviest, four years ago. When I saw the pictures, I thought, ‘Something needs to change,’” recalls the Pennsylvania resident. “I knew I was overweight. I had been most of my life, but I started to connect that to how I was feeling.”
That feeling was physically sick, all the time. She suffered from daily headaches, fatigue and a general sense of being unwell. Only 26 at the time, she felt far too young to feel so wiped out and constantly ill. Since a new year was approaching, Sanboeuf felt it was the perfect time for a fresh start and became determined to make a permanent change her body had been needing for so long.
It was a leap of faith, considering she’d been trying to lose weight for most of her life — she even went to Weight Watchers as a kid, she says. That kicked off a couple decades of fad diets, with plenty of fast food between those efforts. Like many people, she found college to be a swirl of cheap, calorie-packed food, and by the time she walked down the aisle, she weighed more 300 pounds.
But something about that New Year’s resolution was different, she notes. Something clicked, and it started with her food. She downloaded MyFitnessPal and set her goal to lose 2 pounds per week. Using the app helped her learn more about how many calories she was eating and how healthier choices could make a big difference. It also gave her a sense of accountability that helped her avoid the numerous candy, cookies and snacks she encountered daily at work.
The weight came off quickly in the first couple of weeks, especially after she had stopped eating fast food and focused on real, unprocessed options. As her progress slowed, however, Sanboeuf knew she should start using other measures beyond what the scale read.
“It’s great to have results quickly because you’re losing that water weight, but, of course, that’s limited,” she says. “I started paying attention to how my clothes were fitting as one mark — but even more, I noticed how I was feeling.”
The daily headaches were gone, and the fatigue was replaced by steady energy that kept increasing once she started working out. She started with walks and progressed to Zumba, then YouTube videos guiding her through cardio and strength routines.
“What opened my eyes the most was that it’s the little changes that matter as well as the big ones,” she says. She cites examples like choosing baked chicken over fried or working out for just a few minutes rather than being sedentary. These little choices for Sanboeuf were building blocks to help her reach the much larger goal.
Her journey wasn’t without challenges, though. Sanboeuf will never forget a notably significant one. After losing about 100 pounds, she got pregnant, then found out the baby had a rare birth defect that wouldn’t allow him to live outside the womb.
“We lost the baby, and I thought, at that point, I’d go back to my old habits because they were comforting,” she says. “But MyFitnessPal alerted me every day about tracking my food, and that became a reminder to me to live a healthy, happy life — something my son would never be able to do.”
She got back on track, started losing more weight and became pregnant again. Happily, it was a normal pregnancy, but Sanboeuf allowed herself to eat whatever she wanted, gaining 60 pounds along the way.
When her son, Joseph, was born, it was another “wedding photo” kind of moment. She knew it was time to kickstart her goals, and she’s been focused ever since. She’s now 141 pounds and concentrating on building muscle — so she uses MyFitnessPal as a way to track her macros in order to eat enough protein every day.
“I always tell people that no matter what hurdles you’re having, no matter what kind of doubts, you can get healthy,” she says. “This isn’t about being skinny, it’s about feeling happier, feeling better. Just start small, track what you’re eating and set achievable goals. When you start reaching those, it can change your life.”