Success Story – Danelle | The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans LLC


I have known Danelle since we went to high school together in a small town in south central Idaho. We have kept in touch via Facebook and Myspace the last couple of years and I have been simply amazed at the transformation that took place in this lovely woman during the last year. I asked Danelle if she would be interested in sharing her story; she agreed, and I think you will all find her to be quite the inspiration!



Height: 5′ 7″

Starting Weight: 227 pounds

Current Weight: 147 pounds

Pounds Lost: 80

How long have you been overweight and what made you decide to take action?

I gained about 20 pounds after I got married 10 years ago, but it was not until after the birth of my three kids that I saw a huge weight gain. My pregnancy weight (up to 40 pounds) would fall off, but then I would gain it right back. I was addicted to Pepsi and I think the sugar from that just packed the weight on. I never felt terrible about myself or did not realize how terrible I felt until my size 18 clothes did not fit and I had to make the switch to buying everything I owned at Lane Bryant. It was then that I began realizing that if I had to shop in clothing stores for bigger women, that I needed to do something about it. Looking back, that is when my self-esteem began to drop as well. Then In Dec. of ’07, my mom came for the holidays and took the ” Before” picture of me cooking our turkey dinner. I was horrified.

Do you follow a specific program or are there certain websites that you love?

On January 3, 2008, Crystal (a friend of mine from CO) told me about I joined it that day, but it was not until the next week that I really began following it. Once I decided I was going to get serious about losing weight, I was determined to do so. For me, it was counting calories and at least three days of exercise. Crystal and I made weekly competitions that kept it very fun!! That is why your group can be such a success. You need to be accountable to someone.

How soon did you begin adding exercise?

I added exercise right away. I had never exercised. I was to the point that I could not shop at the mall without sitting down every few stores. I had no energy and I was always tired. I have a manual treadmill and I started walking 3-5 minutes at first. It about killed me. I worked up to 15-30 min. At least twice a week, I also did exercises around the house, jumping jacks, situps, crunches, wall sits (whatever those are called) and then I got a fitness workout with my exercise ball that I used once in a while. I also got some weights with that ball that I used.

Describe your workout plan.

I did my own thing. When it came to working out, I did not know what I was doing, but what I was doing was working for me. For the first few months, I walked on my treadmill everyday for 5-20 min. After that, I would ensure that I used the treadmill at least 3 days a week and did the other exercises twice a week. I saw the most results when I would walk 3 minutes and then jog 1 minute; I did this for three repetitions at least for up to 30 minutes.

What is a typical meal plan for your day?

When I first started I could have 1950 calories a day, according to the site. I averaged about 1700. For breakfast, I would either have a cup of cereal and a 1/2 C milk or I would have 1 egg and 1 slice of toast with butter. Lunch, I would have a ham sandwich with a slice of cheese and 3 pickles and BBQ chips. ( I counted out the 15 chips per serving and put the bag away) My lunches varied, but I tried to stick to around 400-600 calories. Dinner, I would make up the rest of the calories. I ate all things I had eaten before. I ate Hamburger Helper, tacos, spaghetti, and everything else you would eat, but I measured it out. I usually ate about a cup of food instead of the heaping plate I used to eat. There were many nights that I was way under and I would have a snack before bed. I know this is discouraged, but when I felt hungry or I knew that my body needed the extra calories I would eat them. I trusted how I felt. The key was portion control. I measured everything. Even on my ham sandwich, I counted out the 4-6 slices of Ham. One big change I made for the first few months to save calories was eat bread that was 45 calories/slice. This also allowed me to have two slices of toast for breakfast some mornings.

What food can you not live without?

I am a huge sweet eater. I also love BBQ Chips so I ate those often, but only 16 for lunch each day. I also love Snicker Bars and I remember a month or two into this process, I bought a package of the little Snickers. I figured I would just eat a couple when I was craving something sweet. My kids started screaming in Wal-mart, ” No Mommy, you can’t east those, you are losing weight”! It was horrifying! I did buy them and ate just a couple at a time. I was very good at logging every calorie.

Do you ever splurge?

I am a huge splurger. For me it was not about a diet. I knew I would fail. It was about a lifestyle change and one that I would be willing to keep and stick to even after I had lost weight. I still eat a lot of sweets, many more than I should, but I weigh myself every time I go into the bathroom and I can tell by the weight if I am eating right or not. The first 6 months were the most tedious and hardest months. I would have 1/2 C of ice cream instead of a huge bowl. Once again, I eat per portion on the box instead of eating from the box.

What was the hardest thing to give up?

I have not given up anything except for my Pepsi. I was drinking up to 200 ounces a day and I stopped cold turkey. I have never smoked or drank, so I knew nothing about addictions, but I literally went through a withdrawal stage from Pepsi. I thought about it all the time and it was difficult to not pull into the gas station for one every time I went by. I also gave up fast food the first couple of months and then after that I ate healthy choices when I did go out to eat with my family and friends. I also stopped feeling like I had to clear my plate. I took leftovers home and tried sharing my meals with my kids instead of buying each child a meal too.

Does your entire family eat healthier?

Yes and no. My husband is old enough and stubborn enough that he will cook his own food if he does not like what is made. He also is the one who brings most of the sweets into the house and it drives me batty. The kids do eat better. They have been eating healthier snacks and more apt to try veggies. I still do not buy a whole lot of veggies because I do not like them, but the kids have learned to eat salad and a few other things. They also eat a whole lot more fruit than they had in the past. We have tried a lot of new things in the past year. The thing we are tackling this year with the kids is also portion control. My 7-year-old seems to be shoveling it in. We are discouraging them from second helpings and trying to give them a fruit or something healthy instead.

Favorite snack?

My favorite snack is ice cream or cookies. (Who doesn’t like those??) This last year I have been trying to eat more fruit for snack time. I have also tried new things like carrots in light Italian dressing, which is clearly a whole lot less calories and you can eat so much more!

Favorite activity?

Spending time with my kids. I have so much more energy now. I can’t wait until it warms up so we can get out and have fun! (Danelle and I live in the same state and we are having a BITTERLY COLD winter!) This last summer I spent a lot of time playing at the park with the kids and actually going down the slides with them. Nothing like acting like a kid, right?

How do you maintain your weightloss?

I weigh myself all the time. If I am up, I know I need to eat better the next day!

Any goals for the future?

Drink more water and exercise more often. Right now, the only exercise I am getting is the running around I do for my paper route. I also want to get out and have more fun!! I feel so much younger than I did last year at this time.

What is your favorite thing about your “new” body?

Everything. My waist dropped 12 inches in the first two to three months. That was insane for me. I am happy with the whole package. I love the comments and the looks I get from others who have not seen me in a while. I have run into two ladies here now that have not even recognized me. It is an amazing feeling.

Anything else you would like to share with the Shrinking Jeans readers?

The first thing I decided was that if I was going to do this, I was going to succeed and do it right. For me, I am a very determined and competitive person, so in January of last year I posted on Myspace, as well as sent an email out to family and friends and told them I was going to lose weight. I knew then that I was accountable to a lot of people. I wore a size 22 when I started and now I am wearing a size 10/12 jean, and a 7/8 top and skirt. It is just amazing and I actually enjoy shopping now. Shopping for clothing was so depressing for me before. I would not try anything on, I would just return what did not fit. Now I like to try on clothes just for fun and then leave without buying anything. It has just been so much fun seeing my shrinking body. I used to wear baggy t-shirts and jeans, even in school. Now I like the cute, tighter-fitting clothes that have style!

My self-esteem and energy level went through the roof when I started losing weight. Every pound I lose, I feel so much better. It was great when I hit 160 and Calorie Count said I was at a healthy weight. How awesome of a feeling that was!

Thank you so much for sharing your weight-loss story with all of us here at Shrinking Jeans, Danelle! I am so, so proud of you and all that you have accomplished!

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