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My name is Deanna DeFilippis (@cycleforchampagne), and I’m 27. I was born and raised in New Jersey, and I’m a senior legal analyst in the music industry, and in an MBA program. I yo-yo dieted my whole life until I committed to Weight Watchers, aricept use in ms Peloton, and the Alive app by Whitney Simmons.

For as long as I can remember, my relationship with food has been unstable. Whether it was eating portions that were too big or consuming foods that were not good for my body, I just could not control what I was eating.

Although I was overweight for most of my life, throughout high school and college I became more aware that I was heavier than my peers and generally unhealthy. During this time period, I tried all the fad diets out there just to try and lose weight. I did cleanses, cut out total food groups—you name it, I tried it. At the time, I was under the impression that a quick, temporary fix would do the job. I just didn’t realize how unhealthy fad diets really were.

So after years and years of trying all the fad diets out there, I gave them up. Instead, I started putting my energy into finding healthy ways to get my body moving. I started cycling and going for walks. But once again, I did not fully commit.

In April 2019, I was struck by a car while walking in a pedestrian crosswalk.

I had multiple injuries, including a fractured knee. It made me immobile, unable to incorporate any sort of physical activity into my day-to-day life. After months of being in a brace, I began noticing even more weight gain and saw just how important physical activity is in general.

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Fast-forward to June 2019: My fiancé and I got engaged in Italy, and I had a wake-up call moment.

I remember coming home from the trip and not liking many of the photos because of how I looked. For such a happy and exciting time in life, I didn’t feel like myself in my body. I knew something needed to change. I knew I wanted to feel better about myself for both my fiancé and me.

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I was finally ready to start my journey in January 2020. I decided to re-join WW (formerly known as Weight Watchers).

I had joined WW in high school and successfully lost weight, but wasn’t ready to fully commit at the time. This time around, I was at a different place in my life. WW is a platform and community that encourages you to create a healthier lifestyle for yourself. Whether it’s practicing mindful eating or getting 30 minutes of exercise in daily, WW gives me the flexibility to find what works for me and my body.

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A post shared by Deanna D | WW (@cycleforchampagne)

Since joining WW, I have learned to make healthier choices without totally cutting out my favorite foods. My fiancé and I enjoy cooking together, so we find recipes for our favorite foods and just lighten them up! Whether we’re craving chicken parmesan or a burrito bowl, the possibilities are endless. I now understand that a healthy lifestyle is about balance, moderation and portion control.

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Here’s what I eat in a day.

  • Breakfast: Black coffee with zero-calorie sweetener and collagen peptides. Eggs with whole-wheat toast, protein smoothies, or my favorite: protein pancakes!
  • Lunch: Chopped salad with grilled chicken, chicken and veggie wraps, turkey sandwiches.
  • Snacks: Homemade guacamole with baked tortilla chips, fruit, string cheese, popcorn.
  • Dinner: Tacos, burrito bowls, healthy pizza, bruschetta grilled chicken (my fave), burgers.

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  • Dessert: Fiber One brownies, berries with Reddi Whip, SmartSweets sugar-free candy.

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When I first started my journey, I would exercise minimally. I’d go for long walks or take a Spin class here and there.

I always loved to go to an indoor cycling class, but never fully committed to it. I never viewed exercise as enjoyable, only as a chore. It wasn’t until the summer of 2020, when I lost around 30 pounds, that I started investing more into getting active. At this time, in the mist of my weight loss journey, my mindset shifted to setting goals to get more physically fit.

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I began running on the treadmill daily and took Spin classes on a stationary bike.

I found a passion for cycling, and my mom and fiancé bought me a Peloton for my birthday that year! I also set a goal for myself to incorporate more strength training (instead of just cardio) into my routine.

Currently, I am using the Alive app by Whitney Simmons and am enrolled in an 8-week strength training program. I now also find enjoyment in strength training. It enables me to push myself and set goals that I never in a million years thought I could accomplish.

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These three changes made the biggest difference in my weight-loss results.

  • I made it a habit to weigh what food I’m consuming. Whether you’re on WW or simply trying to eat healthier, portion control is a major aspect to incorporate into your healthy lifestyle. I weigh out all my foods using a food scale to help ensure I am eating the correct portion size. Oftentimes, people don’t realize how much they are consuming by just eyeballing a portion. Weighing out portions is one way to not overeat! For example, if I’m making pasta for dinner, I’ll weigh out 2 oz. (the recommended portion size) instead of just placing a spoonful on my plate. This is especially helpful when on WW with the points system.

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  • I started celebrating the little victories. I knew I wanted to lose at least 30 pounds when I first started WW, but that goal seemed far-fetched and unobtainable. Instead, I started setting smaller goals and celebrating them. I set goals in increments of 10 pounds and celebrated, whether it was indulging in a cupcake or buying myself a new shirt! Either way, celebrating small wins helps you to keep going towards your end goal.
  • I stopped being so hard on myself. In the beginning of my journey, I was set on seeing a certain number on the scale or fitting into a certain size. I would get upset with myself if I didn’t see a loss or work out that day. I was hard on myself to obtain certain goals that I’ve now realized are unrealistic. I’ve realized there are going to be ups and downs throughout your journey, and that’s all a part of the process. There is no set number on the scale you have to be at any certain time. You need to be patient and trust the process.
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I have lost 50 pounds in a year and three months.

After years of weight being a concern of mine, I finally realized that my only setback was myself. I was the only one holding me back from reaching what I always wanted, a healthier life. Although it may be hard, finding the strength within yourself to put you, your body, and your needs first, is worth it. It took me years to realize this, but in the end, I am happy I finally did.

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This weight-loss journey has made me realize that I am capable of accomplishing a whole lot more than I have ever imagined. It’s shown me that half of the battle is finding it within yourself to stay true to your goals. It has given me a new sense of happiness and positive outlook on life.

Always remember: you are worthy enough to do this for yourself. Don’t let anybody tell you differently. From years and years of people making fun of my weight issues, it was easy for me to doubt myself. Even when times get tough and you end up doubting yourself, don’t give up. It will be worth it in the end.

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