How I Lost 38 Pounds {and Counting}

by Cate on August 1, 2013

Sometimes we need a reality check.

In a big way.

When I sprained my ankle in May of 2011, it changed everything.


Instantly gone was the breakneck pace of work-out schedules that I had plowed through in the previous year and a half. Appearing at the gym an average of five days a week. Filling time with pilates, Zumba, walking, kettle ball classes, spin, and whatever else I could find.

Regular readers know it all worked, of course, with the combination of a commitment to clean eating … to the tune of losing 60 pounds.

But after my ankle sprain?

It all stopped.

For one, the bulk of my work-outs were Zumba classes, and I couldn’t do them with my sprained ankle. Even now, some two years later, my ankle is still swollen, and although I’ve gone back to some classes, it just scares me.

I’m afraid of hurting again. Or doing worse damage.

But after the ankle sprain, it was the beginning of when Mystic and I started dating, and I got distracted. Sidetracked.

Lost focus.

And pre-ankle sprain, I was on the scale twice a day, every day. (To me, that is the best way to keep yourself in check). After the sprain? I didn’t get on it until we broke up last September (2012).

Over a year and a half.

Most of my clothes still fit.

But I knew I was different.

I ignored the signs. Rationalized.

Re-started with clean eating. Made stabs at consistent walking.

But I just couldn’t get my groove back.

And there was not a day that went by that I didn’t beat myself up about it.

I was so mad at myself. Because I had worked so hard to achieve that loss. So mad that I allowed myself to get off course.

Even though my eating remained pretty clean, I no longer had the intense work-out schedule, and that made all the difference.

For me, it was the combination of clean eating + work-outs that gave me the greatest success in losing that sixty pounds. One alone was not enough.

I could have gone back to the gym and done other things, but, quite honestly, nothing excited me as much as Zumba did.

And I couldn’t do it.

Not like before.

So flash forward to this past March. A friend mentioned Take Shape for Life. I had never heard about it, but I listened, with half an ear, as she asked me to join her and start the program. I said I would think about it, but wasn’t ready to take the leap. After all, clean eating coursed through me like blood. It’s what I know.

Three weeks later, early April, I’m in my doctor’s office being diagnosed with tennis elbow (the worst pain ever), and I noticed a sign for Take Shape for Life in their waiting room. One of the nurses was on it, and after questioning the doctor about it, I found out that he endorsed it as well, and they had an in-house Health Coach.

A couple days later, I get an e-mail from a local gym, offering a free seminar with their Take Shape for Life Health Coach.

And then I decided that I was getting a message loud and clear. I go from never hearing about the program, to all the sudden learning about it from three different sources; but most importantly, the fact that my doctor and gym were very much backing the program.

So I called my friend, and she referred me to her Health Coach, and I signed up the next day.

TSFL calls it their 5&1 program. You eat five of their products during the day, and one meal you make on your own. Their products range from shakes, puffs (like cheese puffs, but not), and bars to macaroni and cheese, chili, and soups. So you have a total of six meals that you space out during the day, and you drink, drink, drink your water (which is important know matter what you’re doing).

Your other meal is a lean and green meal. Protein and vegetables, for the most part, with a little bit of fat for good measure. With the TSFL guidelines, it has made it relatively easy to be on the plan, even while road tripping, going out with friends, entertaining, what have you. Of course, there are a ton of foods that you don’t eat (no more sushi for now!), but you learn to be okay with that.

And I had to learn to be ok with have five meals a day that are pre-packaged. Not necessarily heavily processed, because it’s not like we’re talking about packages of Cheetos and Twinkies here, but still pre-packaged. The bars have, for example, 25 vitamins, mineral, and nutrients inside them. So that’s certainly good. The food items are formulated by doctors, and filled with completely pronounceable items. And, although there is a long list of foods that you can’t have while you’re on the program, it is easy enough to follow because they take care of the thought process for you. You only have to figure out that one meal a day.

As far as taste? You figure out which ones you like best, and stick with that. There are some that are just, honestly, downright, icky. But there are enough that are really good, that everything turns out ok.

Especially when the scale starts moving.

When I signed up, I was so frustrated with myself, I needed something to give me a giant push in the right direction to get me back on track once and for all. I am over a weight loss journey being part of my present. I want to put it in the past, behind me.

And this is doing that.

In three months, I have lost 38 pounds. And while that sounds like a lot, after the first week, the recommended weight loss is 1-2 pounds, just like any other regime you might do, and that’s right on track with where I am. My friend who started a month ahead of me? Has lost 62 pounds.

It works.

My short-term goals were to lose the weight I gained since spraining my ankle by the end of this summer. For awhile I didn’t tell people what I was doing. Mostly because while I may live a small piece of my life here, I am generally a private person and don’t want unsolicited opinions.

But now that I’m seeing the finish line in the very short future, I’m more comfortable sharing what worked for me. Because I want to help others. And to that end, I’ve become a health coach with Take Shape for Life.

Weight loss is a very personal journey, and I think that with my own experiences, my commitment to working out (I still do, I just had to cool it on the intensity with Zumba), and my work with recipe development, it makes for a very well rounded Health Coach. One that can offer her team the support they need.

My own TSFL coach was terrible. A great example in what not to do. When you sign up with TSFL, you buy your food and get assigned your own (free) Health Coach. A little cheerleader sitting on your shoulder, guiding you through delicious recipes to make, motivating you to achieve your goals, giving you hints and tips (like, mix the macaroni and cheese together with the chili for a chili mac that is pretty good; because by itself, those packets are no bueno), and helping you along the way as you need it.

Struggling with losing weight is an inner dialogue that I’ve done well to silence. It’s a part of who I am, but it’s becoming a smaller and smaller part (both literally and figuratively). Any struggles with weight loss or working out or diets or any of it are conversations that do not happen in our home. Because the last thing I want to do is raise children that have any issues in that area. Instead we focus on doing 5ks because it’s a fun thing to do as a family, eating healthy because it makes us feel better, and drinking drinking drinking and drinking more water because hydration is good.

So, that was way longer a post than I intended it to be. But I was ready to share. And I’ll share more along the way, as it makes sense, without being annoying. Or I’ll try! One thing I’ve learned in my some 30 years of up and down weight is that it’s a lot like driving. You can’t ever take your eyes off the road, or you’ll crash. I learned it when I dropped 30 pounds right before I got married. And I learned it again right after I sprained my ankle. And I think it’s akin to achieving and maintaining any other goal, you always have to have your mindset focused. Now that I understand that fact, I think it’s the final key that I needed to get to my destination and maintain.

I finally feel, physically, like I did in 2011, when I was all eat clean, Zumba, work out, go go go, repeat. I loved the place I was mentally, physically, and emotionally then, and I’m back in that neighborhood. I gotta say, I really missed it.

And while this is not an advertisement or a sponsored post in any way, shape, or form, if you want to know more about the program or need a TSFL Health Coach, drop me a line. I’m here for you.


PS And if you happen to already be ON the program, some recipes over the past few months that are totally TSFL-friendly for the lean and green meals are … this Creamy Buffalo Chicken Bake, these Seared Scallops, this Mock Shrimp Risotto, Portobello Cap Pizzas, and this Asparagus with Balsamic Tomatoes.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Joanne August 2, 2013 at 6:25 am

I’m so happy that you found something that works for you! It’s always great when that end goal is in sight and you just KNOW you can get there. :)


Meg August 2, 2013 at 9:27 am

Way to go! That is fantastic, and I’m so happy for you. You’re absolutely right: weight loss is an intensely personal endeavor, and it’s different for everyone. I haven’t heard of the TSFL program but have been heavy into Weight Watchers since January, and I can see some of the same principles here. I’ve shed 28 lbs. by revamping my diet and getting serious about my health . . . and man, it makes a difference. I didn’t realize how bad I felt until I started feeling . . . better.
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Mari August 2, 2013 at 7:30 pm

I have been waiting for your story! Very inspiring and will look to see if they have the program in Canada where I live. Been looking for a little motivation and push in the right direction after having my 3rd baby (who is now 21 months old). Its so much harder this time around. Thank you so much for sharing!


Jenna August 3, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Congrats on finding something that works for you! Keep up the great work!
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Jane August 30, 2013 at 9:07 am

Thank you much for posting this! and yes, weight loss is a very personal journey.
I had some questions – I didn’t know how to private message you so I am posting here.
what is the difference between medifast direct and tsfl?
I somewhat recall doing something like this when I was 30 (20 years ago) and it worked, but my options were shakes; chocolate or vanilla.
did you order the variety pack or choose your own?
my problem is my hip, I can’t “pivot” that is why I finally gave up on aerobics of any type. running/jogging and walking are good, but, I really need to drop some weight so I can move more comfortably. and not cause more hip damage.
I look forward to hearing from. I am thinking that now that school has started, summer over, a good time to start.



Cate January 19, 2016 at 3:08 pm

Take Shape for Life is the umbrella, and Medifast is the food. I choose my own products, and reordered what I liked the most. Sorry I missed your questions when you originally posted them!


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