Name: Ed M.
Age: 51 years old Height: 6'
Before weight: 203 pounds Waist: 34/36
After weight: 168 pounds Waist: 31/32
LIVESTRONG.COM: What was your life like before joining LIVESTRONG.COM?
I signed up and started using LIVESTRONG.COM's MyPlate Calorie Tracker in late 2008. I really wasn't very overweight at that point - I was roughly 172 pounds - I just wanted to lose a few pounds.
By late 2011 things had changed. I was up to 203 pounds. I was eating pretty much everything and anything; a lot of fast food and processed junk and soda had become the norm. I didn't like the way I looked and I had fallen back into the habit of smoking again after being smoke-free for five years. Back when I was smoking in 2008, I was up to two packs a day on some days so when I started smoking again, I felt that I had betrayed myself. I was disgusted with myself. Shortly after, I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and I knew it was time for a change.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What was your inspiration to make a change?
At my maximum weight of 203 pounds, I freaked out because I realized I was over 200 pounds. It was at that point I said, "Enough is enough." I decided that I would quit smoking and lose weight all at once. It was pretty aggressive, but I had lost weight before using MyPlate in 2008, and this wasn't my first time quitting smoking so I knew what to expect.
I also didn't want to die young. Heart issues run in my family and my mom has had a heart attack and bypass surgery. She smoked up until her heart attack. I didn't want to worry about the same fate.
LIVESTRONG.COM: How did LIVESTRONG.COM help you lose weight?
MyPlate is my tool of choice along with LIVESTRONG.COM's MyWater water tracking app. I also use the MyPlate mobile app for iPhone to keep track of my exercise, which consists of walking 40 minutes, 5 days a week and using the treadmill in my gym aggressively for 40 minutes each Saturday and Sunday. I'm obsessed with making sure I track everything that goes in my mouth. For me it's the key to keeping on track. Seeing my weight go down every week inspires me to keep on going.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What was your support system like?
MyPlate and my friends.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What's the biggest challenge you faced?
Initially, quitting smoking was more challenging than getting into tracking my calories and eating better. I was very short tempered with my closest friends for several weeks but they put up with me and encouraged me, and it really helped.
LIVESTRONG.COM: What's your biggest secret to success that you want to share with others?
Track, Track, Track! It's a long-term commitment. It's a big picture situation. Many small steps and small ups and downs do ultimately turn into overall success. Drinking tons of water and keeping track of it was helpful to me both in losing weight as well as quitting smoking.
Another secret is eating fresh, minimally processed foods. When it comes to meat proteins, I buy mostly organic. I'm lucky enough to live in the same building that is the home of Lindy & Grundy, one of the only butcher shops to sell solely pasture-raised and organic meat in Los Angeles so that really helps!
LIVESTRONG.COM: What's your life like now?
I continue to use MyPlate every day, as I haven't reached my goal weight yet. I'd like to loose another 10 pounds and if I keep tracking, I am certain I will get there. I have more self-confidence and I just feel better overall. I'm going to check with my doctor in the next few weeks to see if I can stop taking medication for my high blood pressure. Keep your fingers crossed!
Ann Rusnak is LIVESTRONG's Sr. Community Manager. Her quest to lose the baby weight before the baby finished elementary school sparked an interest in health and fitness that continues to be a passion to this day. She loves hiking and yoga, and thinks the best exercise is one you can do with a good friend. Over the years, Ann's desire to fit into a certain size has evolved into what she feels is the more important goal of feeling good and having energy to live life to its fullest.