As a mother and self-described jack of all trades, Celeste Casey found herself weighing 182 pounds at 5’3” tall.
It took her four months to lose 46 pounds and reach a weight of 136 pounds.
Creatively altering recipes and making smarter choices were the driving force behind her success.
When Celeste’s grandfather had a stroke 2014, she recalls that all her family had gathered together for a final visit.
Grandpa is okay and still alive today, but the gathering gave Celeste the chance to learn more about her family history.
From a medical standpoint, it scared her.
“I decided to go see a nutritionist that I knew had helped a lot of my friends lose some weight,” says Celeste.
“So I went to her.
She told me that I was pre-diabetic and that scared me.
I had some things going on with some hormones. I’m female.
I guess that’s what happens when you get older, right?”
After seeing the results of her bloodwork, this nutritionist recommended Celeste take three different medications.
For three months Celeste took the medications.
She didn’t see any change or any weight loss.
Celeste says after taking those medications, “I didn’t feel better and I didn’t feel like anything was helping with the symptoms that I went to her for.”
Soon after, Celeste says, “I had a meltdown in front of one of my friends.”
But, it was a good thing.
At the time, Celeste didn’t know that her friend and co-worker could help.
“She told me that in the evenings she actually coaches Type II diabetics and helps them get off their medication.
In the long run people lose weight and they feel healthier.”
“She told me a little bit about her program,” Celeste says about how this encounter kick started her weight loss success.
“And I thought, I see this girl three times a week and it’s going to hold me accountable.
I was scared for my health.
I didn’t want to put that burden on my family and my friends.
So, I jumped in with both feet in and I don’t regret it, not one bit.
“First and foremost I stopped eating sugar and carbs,” says Celeste of she started to lose the 46 pounds.
“This specific diet that I was on was high protein and vegetables only.
I had to modify a lot of my recipes to be sugar free and carb free which can be hard when you’re married to someone who could live off of meat and potatoes.”
Given her husband’s preferences, she says, “I had to get creative, but I decided to look at it and have some fun with it.
I pulled out a bunch of my recipes and just went to town.”
Celeste primarily credits a change in diet for her weight loss.
Her reinvented recipes removed a lot of the sugar and carbs that kept her at an unhealthy weight.
Having a person who knew what she was going through was important for Celeste.
“Even though my friend wasn’t necessarily doing a weight loss program with me, trying to lose weight herself,” says Celeste about her friend who acted as her support.
“I at least had somebody that knew what I was going through.
She knew when I was excited.
She knew why and when I was frustrated and upset.
She always had something to kind of throw my way to help me to keep going and I always had that support.”
Even though Celeste saw her friend on a regular basis, they had a scheduled appointment every week on Tuesdays, while their daughters attended dance class.
“She actually took all of my measurements as far as my biceps, my chest, my abdomen, my thighs and my behind,” she says.
“It was kind of interesting to watch the centimeters drop, but now that I can put that into inches it’s pretty cool.”
Celeste believes her success came from a change in mindset.
Before she became motivated to lose weight, Celeste felt her health deteriorating, but accepted things were happening to her.
She was being tested for various symptoms.
The potential onset of diabetes loomed ahead.
Her life changed when she chose to live longer.
“You know what,” she says about her change in mindset.
“This whole life’s too short to not enjoy the things you want?
Well, life’s also too short to cut it short.
I don’t want to cut it short and I don’t want to be in pain.
I don’t want to not enjoy my children or my grandchildren or great grandchildren just because I couldn’t make a choice to be healthy.”
“That’s a hard one,” she says.
“You have to have those dark days where you just know you’re being naughty.
I’m sorry, you just do.”
However, she knew that she had to keep those temptations under control.
Celeste followed her diet plan and was strict with it for four months.
She saw progress and felt better, she says, “but I had to keep telling myself, eating healthy, eating this strict this long is just temporary.”
Telling herself she could have a reward later if she made smart choices now helped her through temptation.
After four months of choosing healthy, she created new habits for herself.
“Yes, you do need to live a little,” says Celeste.
“But, also what is living if you’re not being smart.
So, I enjoyed some birthday cake on my birthday, but I also was smart for the rest of the day trying to think of other ways to counteract what I was going to treat myself with.
“I do walk on occasion,” says Celeste about her activity.
“I park far out in the parking lot so I can get a few extra steps.
I’m not lazy by any chance.
I actually do feel like I’m very active, but I don’t have any cardio or workout regimen that I’m working with now.
There are things I do I guess, mostly walking or running, but I’m not very consistent with it.”
Celeste is a fan of protein and fruit shakes for breakfast.
“I think it’s easy, it’s simple, it’s something that I enjoy,” she says.
For lunch it’s another protein shake or a salad, keeping an eye of sugar for both and substituting Splenda instead of sugar to cut calories.
“I use Splenda a lot. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, you can pick your battle, but at least for me it’s working.”
“I do have a couple of snacks in the afternoon,” she says.
“I love almonds.
I’m one of those people.
So, raw, roasted, whatever, I love them.
I love veggies especially if they’re cold so I do that.
I do eat Greek yogurt, cottage cheese those kinds of things for snacks.”
For dinner, Celeste tries to get roughly four ounces of protein, but the majority of the dinner meal consists of vegetables.
“I love veggies,” says Celeste.
“I’ll do two cups of veggies, so that may be a squash or broccoli or cauliflower.
You can find recipes for cauliflower, fried rice on Pinterest and it will knock your socks off, it’s so good.”
“I don’t stop myself from eating the extra sides with my family, with my kids and my husband, especially my husband won’t eat anything green.
So, I have to do the green or the potatoes or something along with that, mac and cheese.
I will let myself have a small helping of that because I will enjoy that, but I definitely make sure that I’m heavy on the veggies.”
Celeste’s other strategies are to turn to non-sugar sweeteners to cut calories.
She uses Splenda in some of her recipes and buys Crystal Light drink mixes with Truvia as a sweetener.
At first, Celeste encountered a little bit of resistance from her family, but the family got on board with making healthier choices.
“I think more or less I took my diet as a way to lead by example, not necessarily force it on them, but I wanted them to see that I was making choices for myself,” says Celeste.
“It’s funny because I would premeasure my vegetables, my two cups, and then it got to the point where they were eating my two cups before I could so I had to start cooking more which was awesome.
How often is that that I’m cooking more vegetables than the rice a roni and my kids were eating healthier.”
Some of what Celeste did to make food healthier was to modify recipes.
“I think a lot of it just takes some creativity,” she says.
“Looking at your recipe and thinking what could I substitute the brown sugar for?
It’s pretty amazing.
If you start thinking, and getting creative how your recipe can taste just the same or better without the stuff that’s going to harm you.”