'After I Started Using A Meal-Planning App, I Lost 100 Pounds In Just Two Years'

Photo credit: Martha Elizondo
Photo credit: Martha Elizondo

From Woman's Day

My name is Martha Elizondo, and I'm 30 years old. I live in Texas, and I'm a professional wedding photographer. I also manage my own photo booth business. I’ve lost over 100 pounds since I started my weight-loss journey in 2017.

During high school and college, I was an active person. But when I graduated at age 21, I began to gain weight because I lost control of my habits. I ate uncontrollably and I chose not to workout anymore.

My weight made me feel embarrassed, and I carried that negative energy around with me. Physically, I was experiencing extreme lower back pain and swollen feet after each work day. I also had terrible knee pain. I interpreted these issues as my body telling me my weight was problematic.

My weight gain also began to affect my career. As a wedding photographer, I'm required to stand on my feet for over 10 hours at times. But during shoots with a bride and groom, I had to take breaks to sit down and needed moments to catch my breath.

My Turning Point

It was right after New Year’s Day in January 2017: I was at Walmart with my husband, and we came to aisle of scales. Jokingly, I told my husband, "I bet you $5 that I do not weight over 180 pounds." But after the number appeared on the scale, I broke down: It showed I was 250 pounds. I stepped off the scale in shock and fell to the floor, sobbing. Through tears, I asked myself, "What happened?" "Why did you do this?" "Why have you stopped caring?"

I told myself that night that I could *not* afford to keep living like this anymore. My health was completely at risk and I needed to save my body. I began with meal prepping and tracking everything I was eating with the MyFitnessPal app β€” and that was the biggest tool for me.

What I Eat In a Day Now

I lost 5 pounds within just two months of eating well. Here's what a typical day of meals looks like currently for me.

  • Breakfast: Three to four egg whites scrambled with turkey sausage, or a spinach wrap with four egg whites, a cheese slice, green pepper, and a turkey sausage patty

  • Lunch: Grilled chicken served with mixed veggies and sweet potato fries

  • Snacks: Vanilla greek yogurt, a Nature’s Own Honey Oat granola bar, grapes, or a banana

  • Dinner: Pork loin slices with green beans and cauliflower rice

  • Dessert: Halo Top ice cream

How I Sweat

In late February 2017, I told myself I was finally ready for some physical activity, so I started out by using the elliptical machine I had recently purchased. I was determined to exercise every single day for 30 minutes. But eventually I got bored of just using the elliptical, so I began a new journey and started running.

Running was hard work. But by the time November 2017 came around, I was officially jogging two miles without stopping, and walking a third mile. I was very proud of myself for setting a realistic goal and reaching that goal. Fast forward to 2019, and I am an adventurous runner, running without breaks for a full five miles a day.

My Top Three Tips for Success

1. Set realistic, short-term goals. I knew if I had set a giant, vague goal, I would not have been able to reach it and would have lost my motivation. I had to keep telling myself that each month of the year, I was going to lose a certain, achievable number pounds. This way, the goal was quantifiable and measurable, and I could make notes about exactly how I was going to get there.

2. Plan all of your meals and workouts for the week. I created a bulletin board where I kept weekly meal and workout calendars. I would write down the main meals I would have each day, plus the exact workout I planned on doing. I also put rewards on my calendar, like seeing a new movie. (And on the day I was going to the movies, I would check the movie theater dinner menu to plan ahead what I was going to eat!)

3. Drink more water than you think you need. As simple as this tip may sound, drinking the amount of water our body needs helps the body with so many functions. I purchased colorful water jugs and always drink from a different one. I began with drinking half a gallon of water daily, and now I drink 1.5 gallons of water every single day.

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