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Calorie Count Blog

Knowledge is Power

By Sheila on Dec 12, 2011 10:00 AM in Success Stories

Having been overweight for most of her life, Eclaireg realized she had the power to change her lifestyle.  She simply started by analyzing what foods she was consuming and self-educated herself on proper nutrition.  She’s lost 100lbs this past year and is perusing her career to become a Registered Dietician.

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

1. What prompted you to begin this weight loss journey? Did you have an "Aha!" moment?

Like most "big losers", I had been overweight my whole life. I grew up an outcast- commonly taunted for my size. During my first year at college, I was forced to eat all of my meals in a cafeteria. It was during this time that I began watching what others ate, which made me realize the ways in which my own eating habits were contributing to my "more to love" factor. Now that I was an adult living on my own, I realized I had to take responsibility for what I put in my mouth and that I was the only person responsible for the way that I look.

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

I tried NutriSystem during high school. I lost 20 pounds, but ended up gaining it all back once I stopped buying the plan. At the beginning of my weight loss, I also tried the Weight Watchers Points program. Finally, I realized that I was paying someone else to simply count my calories for me! I already had the motivation, as I lost 20 pounds during my freshman year (so much for the "Freshman 15"... ha!) and now I was learning how to plan my meals according to their calorie content on my own.

3. Please describe how you reached your weight loss goal. What changes did you make to your usual diet, activity, lifestyle, and attitude?  Did you implement any other strategies besides Calorie Count?  What was the most important change?

Once I started dropping the pounds, I spent lots of time researching the calorie content of foods and finding healthy alternatives for calorie-laden fare. I was hooked! I was inspired by "Hungry Girl" Lisa Lillien's e-mail newsletter, which came bright and early every morning. Not only did it help me by reminding me each morning that I better be watching what I eat, but it also gave me tips to survive the hurdles that come along with weight loss.

4. Please describe how Calorie Count was instrumental to your weight loss.

During my weight loss, I used Calorie Count multiple times a day to look up the calorie content of each and every morsel I put in my mouth. I would then record everything down in a notebook, which I still carry around with me now to stay on track. Before eating out, Calorie Count helped me figure out what to order so that I could stay within my calorie budget, but still have fun and eat out.

5. What difficulties did you experience losing weight?

It's very easy to get carried away with calorie counting. A growing dilemma in our country is the rising rate of eating disorders. An innocent diet can quickly spiral into an eating disorder, especially if the dieter is going through a rough time or has other contributing characteristics. When I would have a bad day or "messed up", I would find that I would take it out on myself and, as punishment, not allow myself to have a full day's worth of calories. It is so important not to starve your body of the calories it needs. Not only will your body begin to eat its own muscle mass (the stuff you want to keep!), but your metabolism will slow down and make weight loss much more difficult. I recommend that each person utilizes a calculator that calculates the number of calories he or she needs each day to reach their goal (or maintain). Then, stick to your number and watch the transformation begin!

6. How long did it take you to see results? When did you realize that you were a success?

I began seeing results almost as quickly as I began changing the way I ate and actually paying attention to what I consumed. I realized I was a success once I had lost 60lbs and was at about 160. My family was raving about how good I looked and, upon hugging me, my aunt said, "Oh my goodness! Now when I hug you my arms go all the way around!" Since I lost my mother when I was 16, my aunt has become a second mother to me. It was in that moment that I realized weight loss was not only changing the way that I looked, but also my life.

7. How do you prevent relapse?

There is no such thing. If you eat an entire pizza (from Pepe's, New Haven CT of course), followed by an entire pumpkin pie, and then realize you still NEED Taco Bell... then do it. You only live once and I'm a firm believer in enjoying every moment of it. Give yourself a day to have everything you're craving, and then get back to your normal lifestyle- and that means eating the amount of calories your body needs, no more and no less. Adding in some extra cardio wouldn't hurt either.

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

My life has changed dramatically since I lost weight. Before, I was introverted and hid behind my clothing; now, I'm outgoing and get to show off my love of fashion. Before losing weight, I felt invisible. Since I've lost the weight, I've met so many new and amazing people that I would have never come into contact with otherwise. At the age of 20 and at about 60 pounds lost, I had my first kiss. And last year, upon achieving my current weight, I met my current fiance. I also switched my major so that one day I can become a Registered Dietician and help others to achieve their nutritional goals. I've never been happier than I am now at my current weight, and every day I am thankful that my weight loss journey built my amazing future.

9. How long have you maintained your current weight?

Next month will be one year! I fluctuate up and down by about 5 pounds, which is normal. It's important not to beat yourself up about the couple pounds that mysteriously come and go. It may be TMI, but I always tell new dieters that it's better to blame not having a bowel movement than to feel guilty all day about a few extra pounds!

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

  • I'm a water addict. I constantly have water with me, and actually have to make sure I don't drink too MUCH water. However, my best advice is to take a sip of water in between each bite during meals. The water will fill you up, making you feel much more satiated and satisfied.
  • Exercise. Even if it's just a walk around the block, exercise is great to rev up a sleepy metabolism. It can also help to prevent constipation (common during dieting), keep you motivated, and help you achieve your weight loss goals quicker.
  • Never cut out any food groups. Those who eat no carbs, no fat, etc. are losing essential nutrients and vitamins found in the food group which is being cut out. Instead, strive to eat the healthiest choices from each group and integrate all of the groups into your day.
  • Always decide what you're ordering at a restaurant BEFORE you get there. You're much more likely to make a wise, healthy decision at home than you are when you are ravenous and surrounded by calorie avalanches. Plus, when you do this you get to see all of the options available to you and their caloric content- not all restaurants provide nutritional information for customers.
  • Find an online calculator to calculate the daily caloric intake you need to achieve your weight goals. Like the one available here on Calorie Count, these calculators will help you find that "sweet spot"- the amount of calories your body needs to function and lose weight, without still feeling hungry.


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.


Let me be one of the first to say "you look wonderful"!  I am so inspired by your journey.  Thanks so much for sharing!


Oh my gosh, you have done it! And your tips are spot on! Congratulations!

*round of applause*

Congratulations on your success and thank you for sharing your story to inspire and motivate those of us who are still on the journey to a healthy weight =)

amazing! all that in ONE year, hats off to you....:) thanks for sharing the story you look amazing!

'drink water between each bite'--good one! i'ma try that...

You were beautiful when you were chubby, but even more so now that you have lost weight!!!  Thank you for the inspiration!!!

Your story and tips are of the most valuable I have ever read. And, OMIGOD, you're beautiful. I am going to walk around the block now!

Thank you for the wonderful article and great info!  I've been thinking about this, too.  Eating smaller isn't easy but it is easi-er if we eat nutrient-dense.  Thanks for sharing!  Cheryl.

Thank-you for taking the time to write your story.  I am going to take a number of the suggestions that you made.  Congratulations on your great attitude!

"There is no such thing. If you eat an entire pizza (from Pepe's, New Haven CT of course), followed by an entire pumpkin pie, and then realize you still NEED Taco Bell... then do it. You only live once and I'm a firm believer in enjoying every moment of it."

I can't help but smile when I read that. You have no idea how much you've inspired me today. I stopped logging my food intake on CC a week ago, but after reading this, I'm going to start again! Thank you so much. You look awesome!

So proud of you! And wish so greatly that some of my close "more to love" friends could come to that same understanding of responsibility for self in regards to their weight and health.

Thankful for your inspiration!

Wow girl! You look awesome and I am so inspired by your success!  Your tips are fantastic! Thank you for sharing your story and CONGRATULATIONS on your engagement!

Eclaireg, you look absolutely fantastic!  I love the details you went into in conveying your success tips!  I also really love some of your thought-proviking "quotes", which I'm making special note of in my own journalling, such as: "I had to take responsibility for what I put in my mouth and that I was the only person responsible for the way that I look;"  then, (referring to Weight Watchers) " Finally, I realized that I was paying someone else to simply count my calories for me!" and, "every day I am thankful that my weight loss journey built my amazing future."  OH WOW! Those are dynamite words!  One could almost meditate all day on each one of those gems!

I love your philosophy about eating a whole pizza and not sweating it -- just getting right back on track again afterward!

Thanks, for your uplifting, and very helpful ideas, Eclaireg, and long may you stay so beautiful!

What an AMAZING transformation!  You look awesomely wonderfully irresistably gorgeous!

This article was wonderful; great insight; great tips.  Congratulations on your success! I'm sure you'll be a great dietician. 

Congratulations! You are truly inspirational!


You have provided such an inspiring story of how you achieved your goal, it is very motivational for all of us on the same road.  Thank you so much for sharing. I know you will continue to have success in the future.



this is the best story i have read so far..and your tips are are going to make an amazing dietitian!  Congratulations on your weight loss and good luck with your education and your upcoming marriage..sounds like you now have such a wonderful life!


thank you for sharing your story...stories like this really help keep me inspired!


You look absolutely gorgeous!!

You are truly an inspiring person! Congratulations are everything you have accomplished! I have to say my biggest hurdle I encounter is splurging on Saturdays and then beating myself up over it all week long, its like a cycle. But your right when you said we only live once and to just jump back into things the next day. We are young (I'm 22) and need to enjoy every day, but we can do that and live a healthy lifestyle with the occasionally splurging! Thank you for making me realize that : )

You look fantastic, and even more importantly, you seem to have two feet firmly on the ground. Great sound advice, definately do-able!

wow ! is all i can say and great job, you are a motivation =)

It seems like we have similar stories! I haven't quite made it to my goal weight yet, but our starting points look like they were the same. I just hit -60 and am around 160 now. It feels SO GOOD, but I must admit...I'm eager to finish--I can't wait until clothes fit right again! You look great, and it's encouraging to hear that you've kept it off for a year. You hear so many stories about people gaining everything back, but I feel like, with calorie count, I have learned way too much to ever let myself gain it back. Great job, and thanks for sharing your story!

you are gorgeous!! thanks for sharing & congrats!

I don't necessarily think that weight loss will make a person better, but I do think that that may contribute to a confidence factor that may not have been there previously. I appreciate the inspiring stories that people tell, and that eating right and making excercise a normal part of one's life is quintessential in being a happier person in general. Healthier foods and habits build a healthier mood and mindset. Thanks very much for your story! It was well worth the read!

so she has been using calorie count for the past year to get in amazing shape (congrats!), yet it shows she's been a member for barely a month.. what's up with that? I'm by no means hating or picking, but am just genuinely curious how that works out..

I had a very bad problem growing up i was always to skinny and then the doctors told me i need to gain weight i was about 5 2 little under 100 pounds so i gain the weight fast then i was at about 170 pounds then the doctors said to much time to loss the weight they said i should be about 110 to 120 at the time then going through high school i was about 180 then right after graduating from school i was 220 then my family started to make fun of me at that point i knew what to do. i started to loss weight again i started eating only 1800 calories a day then dropped down to 1000 to 1500 a day working part time and able to workout 2 or more hours a day really worked for me. Now working full time it is hard to find the time to workout so what i am getting at is i lost 70 or more pounds in one year and kept that weight off for about 3 years. SO GOOD JOB AND GOOD LUCK TO ALL THE OTHERS OUT THERE.

What a great story! A big takeaway on it is to do the numbers (see Tip 9 on my weight loss blog

What a great story! A big takeaway on it is to do the numbers (see Tip 9 on my weight loss blog

Congratulations!!!! You look fantastic!!!! thanks for sharing.

im struggling to believe this story is even true, to many small things pointing to a fake article by calorie count....

I love your approach, how inspiring, sometimes when I  read these stories, people have completely lost the enjoyment of food but you seem to have a nice balance!

great work and great tips!! proud of you! mine is only 40lbs all together have lost 4lbs from those 40lbs....if you can lose that much i sure can too!!! thanks for sharing your story! by the way you really do look more beautiful now :) cheers

Wow, what an inspiring story!! You look absolutely amazing, and I love your attitude. I, too, am aiming to become a Registered Dietician since going on my weight loss journey. So awesome!! :)

Definitely really inspiring, as well as being wonderfully written, with no bias -just from the heart!  Thanks :)  - I was getting down in a 'giving up' mood but  reading your story (& others on this site) has reloaded my motivation to continue my journey. 

Thank you ALL for your amazing and kind words! Just to clear this up - this is not a fake article. I typically use another account to log everything, I just made this one to submit my success story since I knew I'd be meeting lots of great new people! Thanks again everyone, and keep up the great work! YOU are MY inspiration :)

I was impressed with how well written this was, and it made me want to keep on reading! I say writing a book about your journey should be in your future Cool. Congratulations on the life change!

Original Post by: davisk4

I love your approach, how inspiring, sometimes when I  read these stories, people have completely lost the enjoyment of food but you seem to have a nice balance!

i agree, the just created account when the person supposedly has been using CC their entire journey seems totally suspect. 

Wow! What a great story and a great direction in life! Thank you for the inspiration. I am 48 years old and have fought my weight most of my life. You've inspired me!

You are fabulous!! I think that its awesome you are on your way to help other people too!! Thankyou for your story, it helps to see that with faith and hard work, it really can happen!

Congratulations dear, your story and advices inspired me. thank you

I carry around water all the time, now. I stopped drink soda about a year ago, and along with exercising and all that H2O goodness I've lost about 50 pounds. I too have been obese, and overweight my whole life, because my Parents were, you grow up around it, you're more likely to do the same. I finally realized when I did want to get out there and not look the way I did that it was up to me, and that I just had to do it. Now I'm 17 and still continuing to lose because I only have about 30 or so more pounds to go, but everyone noticed when I came back to school, and when I saw a family friend over the summer that hadn't seen me for awhile- the reaction was worth everything.

I'm going to try and read one of these success stories each day, and make it my motivation. Today you've inspired me to do my best! <3

Your story is very motivating and You look awesome after weight loss.

Congrats on your success.

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