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Calorie Count Blog

Enjoying Life to its Fullest

By Sheila on Oct 05, 2009 12:00 PM in Success Stories

Hayliemonster went from a size 16-18 to a size 0-2 by integrating many different types of exercise into her life such as yoga, pilates, walking, spin classes and circuit training.  She says that this variety keeps things interesting.  One of her biggest learning experiences was portion control.  It shocked her to learn what a food guide portion actually was in comparison to what she was really eating.  With all these changes she has successfully lost 100 lbs and is living her life to its fullest.

She contacted us through our Share Your Story feature, and provided the following answers to our questionnaire.

1. What made you decide to lose weight this time?

I was going out to dinner for my husband's 30th birthday and literally had no clothes that fit. I decided then and there that I had to do something about it. So that night at dinner I started and I have never looked back.

2. What other "diets" (programs, products, plans, or services) had you tried in the past?

Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, exercise, limiting diet.

3. What changes did you make to your usual diet, activity, lifestyle, and attitude?

I changed everything. In small steps of course. I used to be a sedentary couch potato and now I am active every day. I never cooked and could eat out for all of my meals before, and now I plan and make almost all of my food at home. I eat whole foods, no artificial sweeteners, lots of fruit and veggies, and food high in fiber. I used to feel that in order to be fulfilled I had to eat food that was unhealthy, and my mantra was that I would rather be fat and happy than skinny and unhappy. I now know that everything is about moderation.

4. How did Calorie Count help you to lose weight?

I discovered Calorie Count when I was transitioning into maintenance. What really helped me was the community feel to it, and in the forums other people who were having the same challenges as I was.

5. What was most challenging about losing weight?

Life! It is very easy with just a little bit of willpower to cut calories and eat to lose or maintain weight. It is fitting life into the equation that is difficult. Birthday parties, going out to dinner, the eating that isn't as easily controlled. Also it was reaching my goal. I had never lost weight to the point where I actually reached my goal before. With diets I had always given up before I got there. It was a really big challenge to switch to maintenance.

6. How long did it take you to see results?

Almost immediately. I lost 20 lbs in the first month. Other people started noticing after I had lost about 40 lbs.

7. When did you realize that you were a success?

That took a long time. Probably this summer when I went to Mexico and wore a bikini for the first time in my whole life!

8. How do you prevent relapse?

I still count my calories, I still limit eating out (once a month), I splurge on a special treat that I really want and have learned to incorporate that into my eating style. I exercise daily. I think that the biggest part of maintaining is that I lost weight as the byproduct of changing my lifestyle, so now there is not the temptation to return to old habits just because the weight loss part is over.

9. How has your life changed now that you've lost weight?

I am a completely different person. I have energy, I am active, I am healthy. I can enjoy life to its fullest!

10. What five tips do you have for other dieters?

  • Change your lifestyle, don't go on a diet.
  • Take small steps and re-evaluate where you are at once a month.
  • Incorporate exercise in some form, no matter how small.
  • Look for new recipes and meals to keep things interesting, almost
    anything can be altered to make it a healthy choice.
  • Remember that it is almost all about mindset, celebrate the
    victories and don't dwell on the setbacks, just know that you can do


If you would like us to feature your success story, you can submit it here. The most insightful stories will be featured on this blog and in the weekly "Success Stories" newsletter.


what an aspiration

Thank you :)


AWESOME!  I am curious.  How long did it take you? and what is your favorite exercise?

Great job!!!!!

Abosolutely fantastic!  Well done - you look superb!

Awesome!! I am in the military and you have to stay at a certain weight all the time. I got hurt and could not exercise at all the weight came back on. Like yourself I had to count calories and exercise slowly but it finally came off. It does fell great to know it took lots of will power to do it. Congrats again and great job.

I started in a 16-18... on June 15th 2009, I am now 25lbs lighter. I have 25-40lbs to go, but i am taking it one day at a time. You are amazing! it is hard everyday. But today when i put on my size 14 dress pants and their loose... I have this inner smile that is stronger than any temptation. I know how hard it is... But I am responsible for my own happiness! You look great :) I still have a hard time with things I like, but i eat them in moderation. I was just thinking the other day... I can't BELIEVE how i used to cook... i.e. Shrimp scampi with a WHOLE stick of butter! good luck on your continued success!

I'm an 18, wouldn't mind being a 2 so much. :D I like this new focus on lifestyle changes everyone has. Sustainability is sooo important. And once you realize it's making you happier, you have so much more strength.

You are truely an inspiration. I am in the same boat and just can't lose. I have already changed my eating habits as well as eating in and not out, but I will try doing more and different exercises.

Congratulations!!!  You're story is very inspiring and empowering.  I agree that a life change is necessary to loose weight AND keep it off.  You look amazing, congrats!

Awesome Sista! God bless you and your family! You look great before and after because you have the inner determination to change before and hold on to it afterward....

Great morning inspiration!

WAY TO GO!  I LOVE your story!!

Wow!! Keep it up you are doing great. I start in July 13 of this year with 250 pound and so far I had lost 26 pound. Is kind of hard some thing but like you I don't look back.

Keep Going


What a transformation. Thanks for sharing.

Very inspiring! Thank you for sharing it with other people that are lost. You, yourself know how hard it is and those words are the light at the end of the tunnel. Good luck and keep on going! You are great! Laughing

Gooooooooooooooddd Jobbbbbbb!!!!!!!!!Kiss

hope fully I end up as happy as you are

take care


way to go! You look really great!!! I have to lose 100 lbs. and am happy to see so many stories recentl;y about people who have actually done it. Thank you for the inspiration!

You should change your screen name to AmazingHailey!!! You have done a fantastic job in your lifestyle makeover, and you are truly going to be an inspiration to many.  Congratulations!

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Wow! Congratulations! You are truly an inspiration and excellent model of the way to become who YOU want to be...with healthy determination, focus, perseverance, and obviously educating yourself about good and bad food choices! Good job! You just put me back on my track:)! Thank you for sharing.

As always another inspiring story. I must ask this though (of anyone). I realize that a dress size is only a number but what measurements are we talking about and what height? Thanks!

wow, i am inspired!  i lost 10 lbs in spirng, the counting worked but i have so many obstacles that have me running in circles: menopause, apnea, sleep disorder, anxiety and panic disorder, and a diagnosed snail metabolism. especially since i quit smoking i also deal with evening carb cravings badly.

so i am back on the block here. to daily count intake and exercize is great!  it truly works. my friends had noticed i had changed a size in clothes, so i was going toward a size 12 already!  yeah i was already down to 177, but now back to 183!  i reached a plateau then and it lasted weeks. this is when things went backwards....

absolutely amazing and incredibly inspiring!!!!   Thank you so much for posting really hits home!!!  :)

Fabulous story and what a source of inspiration for others!  Congratulations and wishes for a long healthy life!

Wow, great job!

Im happy for you, and your body looks amazing!

Thank you for such an inspirational story. Thank to you, I am more committed to definitely lose my 20 pounds. I know I can do it. Reading your stories and so many others have truly kept me focus on maintaining my healthy lifestyles. Again, than you!!! By the way, you look amaaaaaaazing! Keep up the good work!!

This is really an inspirational story - congratulations to you!! 

I've lost 36 pounds since June 10.  For the first time in a long time, I am combining calorie restriction with exercise.  This is a lifestyle change.  I feel naked now if I haven't gone to the YMCA and done at least 500 calories on the treadmill or exercise bike.  So I'm at nearly 4 months now and stories like this inspire me to keep on going!  My 82 pounds of extra weight didn't come on overnight, it took decades to add this weight on, and so if it takes me a year or more to take it off, that's just the normal order of things.  But no quit in me, I'm redoubling my efforts! 264/228/182

That is wonderful news!  You look absolutely wonderful!  Your before and after pictures really shows us proof of your 100 lb weight loss.  I am currently a 16W and working hard towards getting down to a size 8.  I have lost 4.5 pounds since September 8th, I count calories and exercise moderately at least 4 days a week.  I feel great.  You are an inspiration to the rest of us.  Keep up the great work; you look awesome!

WOW, you should be very proud of your accomplishment!


I absolutely love "before and after" photos. Helps me believe that weight loss  really is possible for me too, even more than paragraphs of someone's story. Thanks for sharing your photographs. I'm happy for you.


Way to go!  Wow.  Your story is an inspiration.  I know how hard it can be to stay focused.  I am in a size 16 and trying to get back to my ideal body weight (6-8).  I turn 40 in Dec and it is my goal to acheive a healthy weight and most importantly adopt a healthy lifestyle this year.  I am eating whole foods, have cut out dairy, animal protein and white sugars/carbs.  Started reading "The China Study" which is really helping me stay focused on health.  I need to start exercising now.  :)  I am on week 2 of my overhaul....long way to go but seeing your story helps encourage me to reach my goal.

Wow what an inspiration! I started a boxercise class lastnight and it was really hard work but I am determined to keep going, lets just hope I have the same dedication to keeping fit & healthy that you have :) all the best.

You look so toned and AWESOME!!

Congrats Smile

AWESOME GREAT .Keep it up Smile now again you look like 18 year student.

Congrats, and thank you for the inspiration!








Hayleymonster is my daughter-in-law.  I am so proud of her for making the decision to take charge of her weight.  I loved her just the way she was.....but now she is happy with herself.  I tell her she should be teaching others how to lose weight.  She is a wealth of knowledge.  One of the best parts for me as a Mom:..... I got to take her clothes shopping and buy her some beautiful new clothes.

wow thanks so much for sharing ! that is a great story !!

Thank you for sharing your story, its truly inspirational!

As a man who values hard work, it is great to see the power of your determination.

Now to only believe it can work for me! Cool

Good for you, you look great!!!! You're motivation for me to get out to exercise which I was looking to avoid tonite...thanks!

this is truly amazing. I feel that it is mostly about "mind over body", and you have just done that amzingly well !

WOW, congrats!


After you lost some weights. You still keep the way you gain energy like you are on a diet, right :D?

wow soooooooooooo proud of u wish it were that easy 4 me Cry

Congratulations to you!!!!!!!!!!!

And thanks for sharing your story. I'm looking at a 100 pound loss goal and feeling overwhelmed but willing. Your story inspires me and gives me GREAT HOPE!!!

Thank you so much and way to go, girlfriend!!!

WOW, you look great!  Thanks for sharing, very inspiring!!!!  Cool

Thanks for your inspiring story.  today is day one for me. I have to lose 100lbs!! it seems impossible! But I will keep your success story with me on my journey and hope that I can be as successful as you were.  congratulations and wish me luck


Today is also my first day.....And you are an inspiration to all of us.....I have one thing also to share...I had the lapband installed and lost 30 almost two years.....BUT it does not make you lose is YOU  and the changes you make.... so I am here counting calories..Unlike the advertisements I see on the billboards......lapband DOES NOT....MAKE YOU GET SKINNY......THE LIFESTYLE AND CALORIE REDUCTION DOES......ALSO ADDRESSING THE ISSUES THAT MADE YOU LOSE WEIGHT IN THE FIRST weight watchers say..."It is not what you are eating, it is what's eating you"  I am determined to get there as well....:0

Congratulations on a job well done. 

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You are an amazing inspiration to me. You look fantastic in your picture and it makes me so motivated to keep going.

Sometime I worry that by the time I get these 50lbs off it will be too late to wear a bikini in Mexico! Your story means so much to me because I know that I will be able to do it, and it's not too late at all, it's only the beginning.

I started at a size 18 as well, and now I'm comfortably fitting into a 14, and well on my way to getting in the 12. You have no idea how important your story has been to everyone on here.

Thank you so much for sharing,


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