Project REAL

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In June 2018, Stephanie and Lee from Blaine, Minnesota embarked on a journey towards better health, committing to 16 weeks on Healthy For Life Meals. Here’s what happened.

Meet the participants

Stephanie - June 2018:

"My name is Stephanie and I’m a 40 year old mother and wife. I left my career to stay home with my disabled child and raise my 3 year old.  I’ve always struggled with body image and losing weight after having 2 kids and being diagnosed with a connective tissue disorder and fibromyalgia. I wanted to make a big change in my eating and exercise habits. I wanted to start leading a more healthy lifestyle and so that I could keep up with my kids. I wanted to feel good about my body and mind. I decided to do Healthy for Life for these very reasons. 

My goal is to lose 30 lbs in 16 weeks by following the Healthy for Life meal plan and working out with a combo of weight training and cardio 3-4x a week. I  very excited to start this journey with my husband by my side. It’s a great support system for each other. I hope this is the start of a new chapter in my life where I will be leading a more healthy and active lifestyle for my kids, my family and myself."

Stephanie - October 2018:

“Last time I weighed 150 was my wedding - 10 years ago. But I wasn’t fit. My body was different before I had kids and I actually feel like I’m stronger, leaner and more fit then I was at 31.  I just turned 41 and I’m really happy with how many inches I lost.  I’ve gone from a size 14 to a size 8. You can now see my waist! I’ve had a lot of friends compliment me on my weight loss. I can now shop at all the stores I used to walk by. I have more choices in cute clothes that I didn’t have before. I feel a new level of confidence that I never had before. My plan is to lose 10 more lbs and to work on tone and definition of my muscles. I'm super excited to try new recipes and start to cook for my family again! It will be hard to not have the convenience of prepared and portion sized meals for us. But the tools I’ve gained over these last 16 weeks have really helped me understand what we need to be successful and maintain the weight loss. I never want to go back to being heavier. This has also helped my connective tissue disease. I don't have the joint and muscle pain that I used to have. My blood work is stable. I have more energy to do things with my kids. To me, it’s all about them and how I can live a long, long life.”

Lee - June 2018:

"My name is Lee.  I’m a 40 year old father of two beautiful daughters and husband to my wonderful wife Stephanie.  For the last 3 years I have worked behind a desk, so the weight I kept at bay by previously working outdoors, has slowly caught up to me.  I was at a point where I was the heaviest I had ever been, and was very unhappy about it. 

When Stephanie told me she was going to start Healthy for Life, I told her “good for you!”…and then she asked if I would like to try it alongside her.  I was hesitant to say the least.  I am a guy who likes his steak and potatoes, burgers and fries, pizza and beer.  I was worried how this would affect my life.  After some thought, I realized “well isn’t that how you became so unhappy with yourself, by over-indulging?” and decided to make the change.

What started out as begrudgingly being there to support my wife, has turned in to my own journey of getting back to the “me” I have wanted for too long.  I'm excited to see what the next few months have to offer!"

Lee - October 2018:

Since finishing 16 weeks on Healthy For Life Meals, I feel stronger, feel healthier, and have more energy than I have had in years.  I'm also feeling increasingly more confident and happy with myself with each day.  Compliments from those around me, noticing my transformation, have greatly helped with that.  Support and encouragement from the outside is always helpful to keep you motivated, because it's extremely difficult on your own. 

That's what makes Healthy for Life such a great program to use.  Their staff encourages you and is there for you throughout by helping with tips, offering solutions, and giving advice.  Eating is easy and super convenient with the pre-made meals.  You still get to enjoy good food that tastes great with flavorful recipes...without the hassle of grocery shopping or trying to decide what to make.  They take the inconvenience out of everything!

I have now incorporated a weekly workout routine, to complement my newly found want to eat healthier, and it's like I found a new me. 

I've had persistent heartburn since my early 20's, and since the meal plan my acid reflux has reduced significantly to almost non-existent.  My joint pain and inflammation has also subsided greatly, which makes chasing and playing with our children so much more enjoyable!  Also, I cannot describe how nice it is to wake up in the morning and not be hobbling around until my joints loosen up.  I feel 10 years younger and am enjoying life!

None of this would have been possible without taking that first giant step, and joining Healthy For Life. It has changed my life, for sure, and I never want to go back to how it once was.

Twin Cities Live features Project REAL 3.0

Stef Keegan