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Hilary

Hilary wanted to be a positive role model so when she heard about the Mayo Clinic Diet, she knew she had to do something!

77 Pounds Lost!

Height: 5'5", Age: 40

I had reached a point at which I’d given up and accepted that I was going to be fat for the rest of my life. I bought into a lot of marketing about "loving the skin you're in." This is a positive message, but I realized that it doesn't mean it's OK to be unhealthy. In September 2012, I started thinking more about how my health would impact my children. I wanted to be a positive role model, and I felt like a hypocrite telling my kids to eat healthy when I wasn't doing it myself. I also realized that after I'm gone all they would have to remember me by are pictures of my hand over my face trying to avoid the camera. So when I heard about the Mayo Clinic Diet, I knew I had to do something!

Before starting the Mayo Clinic Diet, I was very sedentary. I had all the excuses: no time, no energy and so on. Until you really make [your health] a priority, you will continue to have excuses. I started doing squats while waiting for my dogs to eat and taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Five minutes here, five minutes there — it adds up. The more you do, the better you feel. I used to eat a lot of sugar, and I had no sense of portion control. What I immediately liked about the diet is that it's really about common sense; it's clear how many servings of each food you should have each day.

I lost 27 pounds in the first 12 weeks, although I will admit that the beginning of Lose It! was incredibly hard. I followed the mantra: "You can do anything for two weeks," and, little by little, it became easier. I don't even consider myself on a diet anymore. This is just my lifestyle, and I don't even think about it. I no longer want to eat like I used to. If I crave something, I have it — just in a reasonable portion and not all the time.

Aside from my 77-pound weight loss, helping my children develop healthy habits they enjoy has been the biggest reward. We talk about wanting to be healthy and why we should exercise, and that is important. I have even coached their soccer teams for two years now, which is something I would not have signed up for in a million years prior to becoming healthier!

Favorite snacks
Greek yogurt with chia seeds, wheat germ and fresh raspberries. I also make sure my fruits and veggies are ready to eat so I can easily grab them if I'm hungry. I wash and cut them up for the week or buy them pre-cut because if I don't have them ready, I'm likely to go for something [less healthy] that I can just take out of a wrapper.

New healthy habits
Number one, portion control. I make sure whatever I eat is an appropriate serving size. If I want to have ice cream, I put it in a parfait cup, not a cereal bowl. Number two, planning ahead. If I'm going to a restaurant, I look up the menu online ahead of time. If I go to lunch with a friend, I suggest restaurants that I know have healthy options. I also learned how to stop and ask myself, "Am I actually hungry?"

Favorite exercise routine
Running. I swore I would never become a runner, but now I'm running three to five times a week. I started barely being able to do two laps on an indoor track, but I worked up to a half- mile, then a mile and then [was able to do] a 5K. I ran my first race in September 2013, one year after starting the diet. I have run six races since, and am currently training for my first half marathon! Running has become a family activity, too. My kids ask to go running with me. Sometimes they run, and sometimes they Rollerblade or ride their bikes.

Best advice
You have to be honest with yourself and figure out what is going to work for you. If you hate working out at 5 a.m., don't just give up, try noon. If you hate that, try 5 p.m. If you don't like running, try swimming. If you don't like writing things down, use a tracking app. Don't be afraid to experiment.

*Participants can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week.

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