Stacey Monahan weighed at least 230 pounds at one point. But after a visit to her doctor and a stern warning, she decided enough was enough and decided to turn her life around to lose weight, get fit, and be happier overall.

By Krystal Hagan

Stacey Monahan, a 41-year-old paralegal from Massachusetts, walked out of her annual physical deciding to make a change. With the help of an app, she went on to lose 85 pounds.  

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Photo courtesy of Stacey Monahan

What made you decide to finally commit to losing the weight for good?

I’ve struggled with my weight throughout my adult life, and even though I’ve tried several diets in the past, none were successful in helping me keep the weight off. I always managed to lose the weight pretty easily, but maintenance felt impossible. My breaking point came in February 2016, when I showed up at my doctor's office for my annual physical and my doctor expressed her concerns over my health and the path I was headed down if I didn’t start to make a change. She offered to refer me to a nutritionist, and I decided then and there that I needed to be healthier and took her up on her offer, walking out of her office with a different attitude.

How much weight have you lost and how did you do it?

I lost a total of 85 pounds and have gained some back, but I believe that is mostly muscle since I have no problem fitting into my new clothes. I downloaded the Lose It! app almost immediately after I left the doctor’s office in 2016 and began paying attention to everything I ate, soon realizing that it wasn’t so much what I was eating, but the portion size of my meals. I started cutting back on the amount of food I ate and began walking for a half-hour at lunch. I eventually joined a spinning studio and a boxing club and even started running. I never thought I could do any of these things, and now I can’t imagine my life without them.

Photo courtesy of Stacey Monahan

What is your goal weight? Have you reached it?

My highest known weight was 230 pounds, and my goal was to reach 150 pounds, no matter how long it took. I hit 145 pounds in June 2017. In the summer of 2017, I signed up for a lifetime membership of Lose It! Premium, because I still use the app every day; I can’t imagine not using it!  

What other diets/routines you've tried in the past?

I’ve tried the South Beach Diet, which helped me lose over 60 pounds initially, but I eventually gained that back once I stopped following the program. I’ve also tried hoping for the best, which definitely didn’t work!

What has been the hardest part of your journey?

Understanding portion size has been a key part of my success, but I have found that I don’t always have the best eye for knowing a portion size.

Who/what inspires you to keep going?

I’ve met so many people who now tell me that they keep going because they saw me doing it. I also remind myself of where I started and how far I’ve come since then.

What does your typical day look like?

I exercise five to six days a week, interchanging between spinning, running, and personal training. I switch it up because it keeps things fresh and exciting for me. Even if it means I get up early or stop on my way home from work, I get it done! Nowadays, I am not overly focused on what I’m eating, because I eat to be full. I just make sure to track what I eat every day to make sure I’m getting the nutrients I need to feel my best. The Lose It! app is able to show me my macros, so I know how much protein, fats and carbohydrates I am eating. I also don’t beat myself up if I go over the calorie count on any given day. I’ve learned that it all evens itself out.

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Could you give us an example of what a typical healthy meal is for you?

  • Two eggs, 1 slice toast, coffee
  • Salad for lunch
  • Grilled chicken, brown rice, vegetable
  • Small steak filet, cottage cheese, vegetable

What are your go-to snacks?

  • Nuts
  • String cheese
  • Protein bars
  • Water, water, water!

Do you have cheat meals/cheat snacks? If so, what are they?

I never tell myself that I can’t have something. If I want it, I eat it. I just make sure to enjoy things in moderation.

Photo courtesy of Stacey Monahan

Why do you think the Lose It app worked for you? Do you have any other go-to tools or apps that keep you on track?

Before I started using Lose It!, I was not really paying attention to what I ate, but thought that I was eating healthy. Turns out I was right. It was just my portion sizes that were way too large.  Before, I would eat three eggs and two pieces of toast for breakfast. Now, I eat two eggs and one piece of toast. The app has helped me better understand my portion sizes and I use the meal planning feature every day. I also have an Apple Watch and some running apps for when I work out.

Do you find yourself focusing more on diet or exercise? Or do you try to find a balance?

Activity is key. I don’t always think, “I have to work out,” instead I think, “I have to find a way to be active instead of sitting on the couch.”

Photo courtesy of Stacey Monahan

What is your favorite way to work out? How do you motivate yourself on the days you don’t want to exercise?

My first love is spinning. I found a studio of people who I love like family and now I can’t imagine my life without them. They quite literally saved my life there! After spinning is running. I always thought I hated running, but I have come to find it so peaceful. Putting my earphones in, turning on a good music mix, and just running on a path in my neighborhood helps me release stress from my life and work. Lastly, I enjoy a regular training session either on my own or with a personal trainer. I like someone there watching my form to be sure I don’t hurt myself.

Photo courtesy of Stacey Monahan

How has your weight-loss journey affected your life?

If you had asked me before I lost weight if I was depressed, I don’t know what I would have said. Now looking back, I know I was depressed. I didn’t want to go out and see people or do things with others. I was afraid that people would look at me and laugh about my weight. Clothes didn’t fit and I was always looking for something to cover up with. That feeling is gone. I am happy with the new choices I’ve made with my life and I can’t ever see myself going back there. I’m more confident in my own skin, which has helped me enjoy hanging out with people and not worry about whether they’re judging me or not.

What advice do you have for other women who are struggling with their weight?

Focus on your goal, but don’t let it define you. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes once in a while. You didn’t gain all your weight overnight, so don’t expect to lose it overnight either. It takes time and persistence. There is no easy fix. So if someone tells you there is, run the other way. Lastly, don’t give up even if times get difficult. Stopping isn’t going to make it any easier to get to your goal.

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