At the age of 23, Christina Mannarino weighed 296 pounds (about 21 stones) and was miserable, only knowing obesity her whole life. She realised she not only wanted to escape from the plus-size section of clothing stores and fit in with her friends but, being newly engaged, she also wanted to be healthy for her future husband and kids.
Now, three years later at the age of 26, Christina used Weight Watchers and the power of social media to lose an incredible 138 pounds and has gained confidence, self-respect, and pure happiness. Her amazing story is sure to inspire you on your own journey.
POPSUGAR: How did you lose all the weight?
Christina Mannarino: I lost all of my weight by following the Weight Watchers plan! It was that easy!
PS: Did you only focus on diet or did you include exercise, too?
CM: At first I just focused on diet because I had so much weight to lose. Then once I started feeling more comfortable in my own skin I started walking. The walking turned into jogging and running! Last year I actually ran a mile for the first time in my life, and yes, I cried the whole time. I couldn't believe I was actually running!
PS: Can you provide an example of what you eat in a day and include points?
Breakfast: egg white, spinach, mushroom, and goat cheese omelette for 3 SP (SmartPoints) with a side of roasted butternut squash (0 SP) and fresh berries (0 SP)
Lunch: roasted vegetable and hummus wrap (4 SP) with some unsweetened applesauce (0 SP) and raw carrots (0 SP)
Dinner: homemade burrito bowl with cauliflower rice as a base (0 SP), black beans (2 SP), caramelised onions, peppers (0 SP), and grilled chicken breast (3 SP), topped with some salsa verde (0 SP). I promise you'll feel like you're indulging at your favourite Mexican joint!
PS: What kept you motivated on your journey?
CM: What kept me motivated more than anything was seeing my progress along the way!
There is nothing that I cannot have, nothing is off limits!
Things that used to be hard, like climbing a flight of stairs, all of the sudden became easy. One time when I was younger, I was turned away from a roller coaster because I couldn't fit. The feeling of being able to ride any ride I want now is seriously indescribable! That alone keeps me going!
PS: What do you like about Weight Watchers? Why was it so successful for you?
CM: My favourite part of Weight Watchers is that I never feel like I'm on a "diet." There is nothing that I cannot have, nothing is off limits! It has taught me how to live my life in a perfect balance. I can go out for girls' night and still lose weight!
PS: How have you been able to keep the weight off? Are you still following Weight Watchers now?
CM: I have been able to keep the weight off because I still follow Weight Watchers! I love how after you reach your goal weight, the program shifts to help you live in maintenance mode. I've also learned so much from my journey that I'm pretty good at eyeballing a plate of food and coming up with points in my head. That way I can always make good choices if I'm not able to actually track. I also stay very active! I love hiking, Zumba, running, and spending time with my fiancé and our dogs at the park!
PS: How did you use the power of social media on your weight-loss journey?
CM: Social media was one of the biggest tools for me on my journey. I started an Instagram (@christina_ww_thing1) to originally hold myself accountable. I never dreamed I would discover such a loving and supportive community on there! If I have a day where I'm struggling, I know I can reach out and find a shoulder to lean on. I also love all of the fantastic meal ideas out there!
PS: What are your tips for newbies trying out Weight Watchers?
CM: One of my favourite motivational quotes is, "Don't ever quit because of the time it will take; the time will pass anyway." This journey can be daunting when you look at the big picture, but it is so worth it. You are worth it! You are worth the good times and the bad times. You are worth putting yourself first!