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Recently we’ve been asking some of our users that reached their goals to tell their story on how they did it. We wanted to learn how they made the decision to change their lifestyle, how they stay motivated and how managing this made them feel. 

This is the story of Bruce & Rachel who did this together as a couple. This is a clear example of how important it is to have someone there to support you in your everyday life. Someone that can encourage you and help you stay motivated. We are amazed! 

Our sincerest congratulations to Bruce & Rachel!

Tell us a little bit about your health story. What was the tipping point for you to change your life? Why did you choose to use Lifesum?

Rachel and I were married in 2010. Rachel was 25 and I was 53 and we were both weighing in at around 100kg. I was running a movie theatre and Rachel, a qualified lawyer, was working for our local town council.

Although we thought we were quite active in reality we had become more sedentary over the years we had known each other. Our health hadn’t deteriorated a lot, or so we thought. Rachel was having problems with her knees at a young age and my blood pressure was slowly but surely rising.

As the day for our wedding got closer (14 August 2010) Rachel started getting concerned that she just might get too big for her wedding dress so we started doing some exercises in the evening to try and keep our weight at least stable. That worked as she looked very beautiful on the day.

We did slip back into our old habits after our marriage. I had taken early retirement after having a stress related breakdown during the building of a new theatre. A year later with me drinking alcohol too much and Rachel feeling much older than she should we decided that we needed to seriously do something about our lifestyle and habits.

So I stopped drinking, we started exercising more regularly and started to address our diet. As part of our diet Rachel started to count calories and found a great wee app which made that very simple and easy to do. That app was called Shapeup Club which is now of course Lifesum. Being a tad illiterate about things like apps I started using the website.

Did you follow a strict plan and had clear goals and milestones? Has using Lifesum made you change your habits and adopt healthy ones?

We decided from the outset that we would take things slowly because all our reading suggested the best way to lose weight and keep it off was to imbed it into your lifestyle. So over the next 2 years we changed the types of food we ate, lots more salads and raw vegetables, much less bread, rice, potatoes and pasta (we actually very rarely eat pasta these days), and smaller portions of meat and sweets. Yep, we still eat desserts, chocolate and cake but in much smaller amounts, for instance instead of having a cupcake each we share a cupcake. Also no alcohol, no soda at all, no juice, just lots of water and teas without any dairy or sweetening. We also cut back radically on dairy products, less cheese and skim milk only. We also had 3 distinct meals a day and tried very hard to cut back on snacks in between. We didn’t cut them out completely, just cut back drastically on the size of snack and changed the kinds of snack food we were eating (for example, fruit instead of a sandwich). Our mantra was we won’t deprive ourselves of things like treats but they will be our small rewards and they must still fit into our calorie goal for the day.

While we were addressing our diet we also addressed our fitness, or lack of. To do this we started on the video exercise program we had done before our wedding. At first doing this 6 days a week was exhausting but after 4 or 5 months we found that we were getting lighter, things were easier, we were getting fitter, things were easier still and we started to want harder challenges.

So we started doing interval training 5 times a week through another video, running once a week and having a day off, which in all reality disappeared as we started to really enjoy ourselves.

What was the toughest part of your weight loss journey? What helped you in those moments?

The toughest part of all this was definitely the exercise regime, but we found as we ate in a more healthy way and learned about the calories food contains and proper portion sizes with the help of Lifesum, we were able to be much more active which in turn helped in all aspects of our lives. As I write this we are a few days away from our first half marathon run together and life is great.

What is the best part of your weight loss?

Healthwise at 56 my blood pressure is 112 over 60, from a reading 4 years ago of 133 over 90. As my doctor says, the blood pressure of a 20 year old. Rachel just looks awesome having dropped 5 dress sizes (in New Zealand terms she has gone from a size 20 to a 10), having said that she got into a size 8 dress the other day.

What kind of support did you have along the way?

We don’t think we would have had so much success without having the constant support of each other. When one was down the other helped them up, when one didn’t want to the other encouraged them to keep going. Then of course as our bodies changed our extended families really encouraged us as well.

Our lives are immeasurably different from 4 years ago, from sitting watching tv to running for hours at a time. I am back surfing again and loving every minute. Rachel has new hobbies like growing roses and we have a large vegetable garden which quite often serves us everything on our table at meal time.

How do you plan to maintain your target weight?

We had stopped counting calories for a while but have now returned to Lifesum, not because we had regained any significant weight but because it is such a good measure of what you are doing food wise in your daily life. It is a great tool for weight maintenance and a reminder of your food intake as well as for weight loss.

Your 3 secret tips for others to succeed.

If we could give anyone advice who wants to lose weight and get healthy that advice would be:

1. Take your time, it won’t happen overnight but it will happen.
2. Take time to recognize your achievements no matter how small and don’t castigate yourself if there is a little backward step.
3. Change your whole lifestyle, eating less but not being active doesn’t work.
Oh and watch Americas Biggest Loser the stories there are inspirational.

All the best! 
Bruce & Rachel
Westport
New Zealand

With Lifesum, tracking your healthy habits (and the not so healthy ones) becomes a breeze. We’ll help you pick the right food, and eat the right portion sizes, to reach your personal health goals.

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