As if being a mother of twins wasn’t hard enough, Roxanne Crozier was finding it harder and harder to make time to take care of herself. At the beginning of last year, she was knee-deep in looking after her 4 year olds and paying less attention to her own health as her habits had slipped. At her peak, she weighed 350 pounds.
Everything changed when a big health scare prompted her to hit the reset button.
One day, in January 2016, the Springfield, Missouri-based stay-at-home mom noticed a strange rash on the back of her hand. After Googling frantically to identify the cause, she quickly became convinced that it was a sign of diabetes, which runs in her family — her father and maternal grandmother have Type II diabetes, as did her late uncle. Crozier was 28 at the time and was afraid she would be diagnosed next. That was enough of a scare to make a change.
Her strategy was to consult the internet for the best food-diary apps, and most of the resources she found identified MyFitnessPal as a favorite. So Crozier took the plunge and understood the benefits immediately. She quickly found herself in the habit of logging her food intake. It wasn’t easy — and she knew her eating habits would need a rethink — but she used that as tool for daily motivation and focus. She began entering her own recipes, which allowed her to know, with relative certainty, how many calories were in each of her meals.
“Once I had my standard meals loaded in the app, I didn’t have to worry about tracking the math,” she explains.
As Crozier started making smarter decisions about her food, the weight started to come off, but the bigger challenge was making changes to her habits, which she admits were the cause of her weight.
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One was accountability. Whereas she really had no system at the outset, she made a decision to crowd-source her choices to keep her honest. She began to take photos of all her meals and posted them in various Facebook groups.
“Arranging my food on the plate, mindfully, in turn makes me eat mindfully, and really [makes me] put thought into what I’m eating and how much,” she explains. “You eat with your eyes first. I’m able to really slow down and think about the nutrition in the food I’m eating, since I eat to live instead of live to eat. It helps lessen my stress because I’m not left with charting after I eat or accidentally going beyond my calorie range.”
Her husband also helped keep her focused, going so far to diet with her (and losing 90 pounds of his own) and playing “guinea pig,” and she puts it, with the recipes she tweaked to make them healthier.
Another new habit was committing to exercise. For the past nine months, she has enlisted the help of a friend as a workout buddy, which has helped keep her going strong. For Crozier, it’s as simple as walking. She says she started by “hobbling down the driveway and back, and now a friend and I walk 4–9, or more, miles twice a week.”
“If the scale says something annoying, I just stick my tongue out at it and go about my day.”
Finally, she took control of her urges. Whereas previously she would give in to her cravings, she developed a new strategy to control the hunger.
“If the need to binge comes over me, I remind myself how far I’ve come and how much I do not want to [be at] my previous weight,” she says. “I also remind myself that it’ll be ‘a minute on the lips but longer on the hips.’”
If she has any calories left to consume, she might indulge in a cookie or a little ice cream, and it hasn’t derailed her yet. She also keeps healthier versions of snacks around for when those moments arise.
Today, Crozier has lost 215 pounds and recently hit her goal weight of 145. She’s gone from a size 4X to a small in less than 18 months. It’s been an amazing journey (which she has documented on her Instagram account), but not without its obstacles. Her biggest challenges came on the days when she stepped on the scale and her weight went up, not down.
“I’d put so much work into balancing my food and exercise, and that little number might still be bigger on weigh-in day,” she recalls. “Instead, now I go by how my clothes fit and I feel, and if the scale says something annoying, I just stick my tongue out at it and go about my day.”
Crozier considers herself lucky to have had support from family, local friends and the remote pals she’s made on social media. MyFitnessPal was just a part of it — she credits it with helping take the guesswork out of keeping a food diary. But the big revelation was that losing weight isn’t a zero-sum game.
“Along the way, I realized that weight loss isn’t linear,” she says, “that there would be ups and downs, and that I shouldn’t put so much stock into what the scale says.”
If you’re wondering about the rash, that ended up fine, too. Crozier got herself checked out and it turned out it was just a skin irritation from cold air. “I’m glad I was paranoid enough to think it was something worse, though,” she says, “or I wouldn’t be where I am.”
Where she is today is her biggest victory: She’ll turn 30 this month, and she’s in the best shape of her life.