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Calorie Count Blog

Mind Over Body

By Sheila on Oct 31, 2011 10:00 AM in Success Stories

A friendly bet was what motivated A36 to start his weight loss journey.  Not only has he lost 100 lbs, he’s gained more energy, confidence and higher self-esteem.  In his story he shares how it wasn’t initially easy becoming more nutrition conscious.  However, making small changes in his food portions, and adding daily exercise has become the new lifestyle that he’s committed to and determined to stick with.

He 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?

I was at McDonalds (of all places) with a couple of friends.  One of our friends commented on our weight and challenged us to bet each other as to who could lose the most weight by the end of the semester. The bet started at $150 and even though my large friend was a bit over confident, I was determined to win! As it went I lost 13 pounds and he gained 4 pounds and it was there that I realized that I could lose so much more weight if I really wanted to. So I did and even though no money was on the line, I now wanted to better my body for myself.

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

I really didn't try any other diets before I got full throttle into eating and living healthy.  Although I will say that during my diet I tried the Hydroxycut pills and lost 10 pounds in a week, but the next week I caught the flu and was unable to workout and I gained them all back. So I really don't recommend them and plus you feel so much more proud when you lose the weight manually.

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?

I come from a Mexican background, so my mother's cooking although very delicious, was not very healthy. I slowly began substituting all my foods with healthier options, because for me it was impossible to go cold turkey. So I began purchasing my own foods and also buying healthy frozen foods and I replaced all my drinks with water in due time. I also got a gym membership and began working out 5 times a week for at least 2 hours. It wasn't an easy transition, but luckily with a job on the weekends and getting out of school at 12 I was able to balance everything out perfectly.

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

Calorie Count was my savior! Had I not found out about it I'd probably be in a worst condition then I was in my before picture.  A friend introduced me to it, and I slowly began learning the horrors that I was consuming. At first my family would grow irritated because I counted everything I ate, but looking at it now they see Calorie Count was perhaps the main instrument to my weight loss.

5. What difficulties did you experience losing weight?

Definitely not going out to eat with family on a weekly basis, because our dynamic was based on going out to eat as a family every weekend. Unfortunately there aren't many restaurants that provide you with cheap healthy food, and till this day there are times where I reject an invitation to go to a fast food restaurant with them. I do join them from time to time but sometimes I am just so happy that they are very understanding of my new lifestyle.

I also have to say changing my diets constantly, because there's a point where you hit a wall and in order to overcome it you have to change it. For example I started it off with just cutting junk food, then I had to start working out more, and then I hit The Great Wall of China but luckily Calorie Count helped me get to the other side and I have to say it feels amazing!

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

It's strange because there was a period where I was working out non-stop and eating healthy, but I myself was not paying attention to the changes in my body. It wasn't until I went to a church event and saw my friends and family for the first time since going into my diet that everyone's eyes were just opened and everyone complimented me on my weight loss, it felt amazing!

Also, not too long ago, I went to visit some of my old friends from high school at their college and everyone passed by me and didn't acknowledge me... Although I felt rejected at first, everyone apologized and said they didn't mean to do it on purpose, but that I just simply looked like a completely different person.

7. How do you prevent relapse?

I don't know how to explain it, but for example if I over ate during the week and I didn't work out I would feel horrible and feel more than ever motivated to work out and continue my journey to bettering my body.

Also, I love how I look! Once you get there, it's an indescribable feeling where you never want to go back to that place where you felt so miserable looking at yourself in the mirror.

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

Wow my life has changed drastically... I think it's best if I place it on a list!

1. My self-esteem has never been higher, I love who I am for the first time in my life.

2. I am now able to talk to girls without feeling like they are going to reject me right off the bat because of my weight.

3. I've been told by so many that I am an inspiration to them, and that feels phenomenal.

4. I can now move around better, I walk almost everywhere if the location is not too far off.

5. Clothes! I know I'm going to sound very feminine, but I love shopping now because I went from a 5X to a XL and almost every store has XL's in stock. It feels awesome not having to worry if that store will have your size or not.

9. How long have you maintained your current weight?

Well I haven't maintained my current weight in all honesty; I keep striving to lose more and more weight. Not to mention I'm trying to build muscle so that I can love my body that much more. I figured once I lost 100 pounds I would stop, but I'm still going strong every day at the gym and still eating healthy.

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

  • MOST IMPORTANTLY! Rely on yourself: Only you have the power to get to your weight goal. Too many times I see friends, couples, co-workers, etc. go and workout together, and one is always more motivated than the other and because of it one of them is deprived of the opportunity to reach their full potential. It's all you and when you get to the top it will feel that much more satisfying knowing that.
  • Working out is a must! If you want to see some real results you have to go workout. Even if all you have in your busy schedule is 15 minutes of walking, you will notice a huge difference just by applying it.
  • Eating healthy: Not the easiest and not the cheapest, but online or even here on Calorie Count you will find some healthy alternatives or tasty meals one can make in the comfort of their own home.
  • Don't quit using Calorie Count: It never fails you, it's always here for you, and hopefully you will gain motivation from reading success stories just like mine.
  • Believe in Yourself: You have to believe you're going to attain your goal, because if you come in with a weak mentality you're going to have weak outcomes. Have the strength; prove those who doubt you wrong! If you're fortunate enough to not have any, prove to yourself that you can put your mind, heart and body into it and you will attain anything.


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.


great job and thank you for sharing your story.  You are definitely inspirational and have set yourself up for a long, healthy life by getting at this at an early age.

You look great! Thanks for the inspiration. Keep up the good work too.

Whoa!!! Fantastic job!!!  Great pointers for everyone out there.Cool

awesome!  love the McD story!  Great tips!


(link to my blog and 130lb success story in my profile)

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Absolutely inspired! Thank you!...I fall off..oh i do! ...but reading A36' success story: I can't wait to walk into any store and know I can shop there!(vanity will get you every time!)

Awesome job! I only hope I can do as well. It sure gets tough sometimes. I keep gaining it back over and over. Maybe this time...

Very cool!  I have 100 lbs to lose too.  Seems overwheming, but you did it!

Great Job!  Nothing tastes as good as Thin feels!

What a fantastic accomplishment! 

like they say " Hey man you looking good!!" keep up the good work and i believe you about your moms cooking im still dealing with mine!!

I needed to see this story today! I have been working out and watching what I eat for the past 2 months, and I have lost 30 pounds. But the past couple of weeks I have really slacked off. Reading your story made me realize that I need to get back into the swing of being healthy NOW rather than later. I can't wait to have a success story just like you!

Wow you look amazing!!! Everything that you said rings so true. It is unbelievable how much eating centered around family and friends. I have upset a few people by not going out to eat or joining them for dinner but heh we are doing this for ourselves and these are our choices we need to make to be healthy. I started my journey on January 27 at 256lbs and am down to 184lbs. I am going to get down to 150lbs. I am working out an hour a day and it is amazing how wonderful it makes me feel. I have never ever worked out in my life but now I know I have and feel the POWER!! It feels so good. I had a blood work up done this past week and my doctor has ordered me to stop taking my cholesterol pills. Wow does that feel good! Can you imagine all along we had the power do do this for ourselves, who would have known? Your 5 tips for dieters are just the best. Congratulations and keep up the good positive changes. I know that I will continue on my journey.

Happy Halloween and Warmest Regards to All!!

Bravo! As a family you should figure out way to make your mom's delicious foods healthier--I did this and even though it has not been easy it is worth it. I add veggies (zucchini, peppers, asparagus) into the green enchiladas, used halibut or shrimp as the meat, use less cheese only on the top before baking, and do not fry the tortillas first but only dip them in the green sauce....they are fabulous! Bake your tortilla chips and shell in the will never fry them again! I have come up with great ways to cut back calories and still get that great Mexican flavor! Get creative....and good luck continuing on your journey, you look guapo!

This is so inspirational.. I was working out for few days and I felt good. In between, laziness had got into me. after a long time , I just now did my workout and checked Calorie Count. Your Story was truly inspirational. Now, I shall get going on my path. Thanks for your (timely) advice. Laughing

Congrats. I love your tips by they way. Just 15min of anything you can do. Thanks!

Original Post by: juliee28

Very cool!  I have 100 lbs to lose too.  Seems overwheming, but you did it!

Great Job!  Nothing tastes as good as Thin feels!

Nothing tastes as good as HEALTHY feels!

I agree with everything you said in your story! i have also lost 100 pounds! your are very inspirational great job!!

Wow! Inspiring indeed! Great Great job! 

Great job! Love your story and tips.  I recently just hit the 100 lb weight loss mark and can really relate you how much better you feel when eating healthy.  Keep sharing your story and inspiring others.

Awesome! Love the story! You look great! Keep up the great work and thanks for the inspiration!

This success story has totally capitivated me!  I am on my own mission to lose 110 pounds, actually, and this is such a wonderful inspiration!  Your tips are really great, and I'm taking notes from you like mad!  I love the way you have inspired so many other dieters above, to share their own stories and tips!  What a wonderful influence you are on so many people, and how great to hear the thoughts you've brought out in others who have written their wonderful comments too! You certainly look wonderful!  Thanks so much for taking the time to share your story!  And thanks to all the others who've written their tips too!  I love them all!

You do look like a completely different person.  It looks good on you.  All I have to say is WOW.  Keep up the good work!

Wow! What a great story. I would love to use it in the revised edition of my book (, including an endorsement of Caloriecount. Can I?

Quote - "I figured once I lost 100 pounds I would stop, but I'm still going strong every day at the gym and still eating healthy."

That's right isn't temporary. It's a lifestyle change. Look where you came from and imagine where you'll be in five years if you keep this up. Here's to a long and healthy life....


It's sooo hard with family; I live across the country from mom's cooking so I'm safe, because when I get home I can't resist Undecided  Congrats on your success!

Congrats......and keep up the good work.

Very nice job.Thank you for sharing your story. I was going great and then had a series of setbacks. When all was "devoured" and done, I found that I had stopped visiting this site and had regained 10 (much harder to lose pounds). The good thing is that I KNOW that Calorie Count works, and waking up to stories like yours is one of the reasons it does. I was trying to reach another "goal" in a completely different area once. I was working at it very hard but for some reason, got wobbly, then lost it. I remember talking about it with a very good advisor  and he told me that I did not have to "start all over" (I thought I did). He said:"You have built the bridge, now get back on it." That has stuck with me thru many adventures and has held true. Relapse is not the same as never starting.

Just a note on the Mexican Food and Family Dining. I grew up in a small town in Michigan that offered the Best Mexican food outside of Mexico.  A few wonderful folks had little restaurants, some even attached to their houses. Talk to just about anyone from there and they will agree, that leaving town id the beginning of a long, long search for good Mexican Food. One that too often ends in disappointment. I got tired of searching. I know the food I had had was great because it was and also time and place added to the memory. I would never find it again. So, I learned, thru years of trial and error, and a lot of taste testing, to cook my own. I am not Mexican so I did not have to worry about things like "totally absolutely necessary ingredients, such as loads of lard and exacting amount of "fats". I am, creative. All of my Mexican Foods are wonderful and all have been adapted to an incredibly  low calorie set. I make my own fresh salsa (and almost eat it live soup) and have my own tort press. So it is possible, I just would recommend doing it around someone who knows what they are doing!

Finally, and really very importantly, changing your lifestyle should not have to include those precious times when you and yours gather together as family. Some of us never have the chance, those that do are very blessed. Be savvy. Learn to order everything on the side. At the very most challenged, bring your own food(I used to work in restaurants and folks actually did this, usually for health reasons). Just don't pass on the family time.

Thanks to everyone for the inspiring comments, I'm so happy to hear that I'm a motivation for many of you to keep going strong on your journey to a healthier life... I see all of you aspiring to reach your weight goal, and those who share how they've already reached their goals... It's such an amazing sight and I wish you all the best! Also on my family dynamics, I'm bettering myself from isolation to them... You can't survive without your family and all of you have wonderful tips I can incorporate to keep myself united with them. Thank you all so much again! And I can't wait to see the rest of you on this blog one day!

Original Post by: sadtler

Wow! What a great story. I would love to use it in the revised edition of my book (, including an endorsement of Caloriecount. Can I?

Sure I'd love for my story to be shared with as many as possible, Thank you :)

Great job! You look amazingly awesome! Smile Thanks for sharing your story and I'm sure you are great inspiration to us all!

Your post really spoke to me.  I'm so proud of you and so happy for you!  You definitely serve as a real inspiration to others.  Thank you so much for sharing your story!  Keep up the great work!

I read Success Stories regularly and yours was super.  I wondered about your friends, I know I changed how often or where I went with some people because they were so reluctant to eat well or do healthy things.  How about you?

Original Post by: tawanda1011

I read Success Stories regularly and yours was super.  I wondered about your friends, I know I changed how often or where I went with some people because they were so reluctant to eat well or do healthy things.  How about you?

Hi there, in response to your question... I have a cheat day one time out of the week where I eat out with friends or family... so that's one way to keep myself connected to them... Also sometimes if I want to eat healthy and they want to go eat to a fast food joint, I'll probably get something along the lines of Subway or I'll bring my own lunch to eat with them at the restaurant. After a while you get over the "Do people think I'm weird for bringing my own food?" And you just begin to enjoy the presence of being around your friends.

Great Job!! Ya know though,,..almost all of these success stories on this site are by younger people.It gets harder and harder to lose with you get older,but no one here seems pay attention to this point. I wish there were more stories from older people,..I mean in the Success Stories Blog bit. :) Sigh,..

This story is very inspiring to me.  Thanks for being so specific and sharing this with others.  I liked the part where you said others have told you that you're an inspiration. And it's true b/c you are!! Just imagine how the difficult struggle you went through is now being used for a greater good.  That is awesome!

Great job Dude..It just goes to show its all exercise and sensible eating..atkins or low carbs or only  high carbs or apple only diets etc are  nonsense..from reading yours and other sucesses the key seems to be  proper exercise with proper food intake that is balance.

Love your story, very inspirational. I'm mexican too and coming up with healthy alternatives is a bit hard but it can be done! I can relate to you as well with the "bet", my sister actually placed a bet with me on losing weight....I took off full steam ahead and she's no longer interested. I realized I had to do this for here's relying on myself!

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