In our regular transformations column, LeanFit highlights everyday Canadians who are working to live their healthiest lives ever.
Mary Foresta said goodbye to her maternity jeans and dropped 30 pounds in the first few months of her new health journey. She has kept the weight off for over four years and shares her transformation story with us to inspire other moms that it’s possible to take care of your family and yourself.
Uncomfortable in Her Own Skin
After years of complacency, Mary’s turning point came on Christmas Eve. That night she had emptied her entire closet and just barely managed to find a dress that still fit before her dinner guests arrived.
“After having three kids, nothing in my closet fit me anymore,” she says. “It was at that moment that I realized it was time for a positive change in my life. Not just because of my clothes and the fact that my children were starting to notice, but because I had been uncomfortable in my own skin for a long time.”
A Slow Weight Gain with Each Child
Until that moment, Foresta never paid attention to nutrition labels or bothered to look at how much sugar was in a snack. Like many Canadians, carb-heavy foods like cookies, bagels and muffins were her go-to, and she was no stranger to a late-night helping of chips or ice cream.
“There I was with three kids,” says Foresta. “I had gained more weight with each child, making it harder to lose each time. I can recall still wearing maternity jeans a full year after having my youngest daughter. My sister looked at me with pain in her eyes and said, ‘Mary, why are you still wearing maternity jeans?’”
Ready, Set, Lose!
On January 1st after that fateful Christmas Eve dinner, Foresta welcomed the first day of her new health journey. “I was determined, I was ready, and I was going to do this,” she says.
She joined an online weight-loss program and headed to the store to get tools to document her progress. “I bought myself a new scale, measuring tape and a scale to weigh my food,” she says. She wanted to establish a baseline for her progress. “When I got home, I did all my weighing, measuring and picture taking. What a dreadful, harrowing experience it was.”
Her weight-loss program suggested that she needed to lose 30 pounds for her height and age. “Amazingly enough, I wasn’t overly daunted by this number,” she reminisces. “I thought, ‘You can do this, and be happy doing it.’”
And do it she did. Besides her weight-loss program, she joined an online workout community, downloaded exercise guides and bookmarked any healthy recipe she could find. She fell in love with her new healthy foods, logging her daily meals to keep herself accountable.
Mary’s favourite healthy foods
“Also, cutting out a lot of gluten has increased my energy levels,” says Foresta. “Gluten used to drag me down. I’m not a complete gluten-free eater, but reducing it has helped my energy.”
Dancing Her Way Across the Finish Line
A few weeks into her diet, Foresta started going to dance-based exercise classes in her community, and even brought her mom along for support. She loved not just the physical aspects of working out, but also the spiritual and emotional benefits. “To me, the gym is the best antidepressant,” says Foresta.
With her new diet, plus twice-weekly workouts, Foresta hit her weight loss goal of 30 pounds in just eight months!
Keeping the Weight Off
“It has now been four years since my health and fitness venture started, and I have not looked back,” she exclaims. “I feel healthier and have a better sense of well-being.” Now in her late 30s, she notes how she’s never been in better shape than she is today, even though she no longer follows her original online diet program.
The online program gave her the foundation she needed, she says, but now that she knows what to eat and what to avoid, she finds healthy eating second nature. And instead of carb-heavy snacks and foods, she takes LeanFit’s whey protein powder every day. Studies show that having protein at every meal helps with healthy weight maintenance and lean muscle mass.
“I learned about LeanFit by seeing it at Costco,” says Foresta. “I use it daily, and in my healthy baking. It replaces flour in my recipes, so that is a huge help.”
Now that she’s lost the extra weight, Foresta is focusing on becoming stronger. She goes to the gym almost daily, doing a combination of weightlifting, yoga — her 5-year-old daughter loves doing yoga with her — and running.
“I was surprised, and still am surprised, at how physically strong I am,” Foresta says. “My mission now is to encourage other mothers that they can be fit and healthy, with kids or a demanding career too!”
Her advice for moms like her: “Eat healthy, keep active, and be patient — the results will come,” she says. “If I can do it, anyone can. When people approach me and ask, ‘How did you do it?’ My answer is, ‘I believed in myself!’”