Editor’s note: Cathrine Shinn lost 108 pounds using Diet-to-Go, and has managed to maintain that weight loss for more than a year.* We regularly catch up with Cathrine to learn her tips and tricks for weight loss, healthy living and more!
Name: Cathrine Shinn
Occupation: Educational Administrator
Meal Plan: Balance
Favorite Meal: Egg and Broccoli Pie
Start-date: January 2016
Starting weight: 331
Current weight: 223
Pounds Lost: 108
Activity Level: Active
When I get a craving, my go-to trick is: Drink water or herbal tea, chew gum.
My favorite app for tracking weight loss is: Lose It!
Like the rest of the world, Cathrine Shinn faced many challenges in 2020 — navigating a pandemic, taking care of her parents, keeping up on her mental wellness and continuing to maintain her weight loss.
But for Cathrine, 2020 was also a year of important lessons, not the least of which was learning the difference between wants and needs.
“It took me 53 years to realize I need exercise and a healthy balanced diet. I need my family and friends, even if from a distance,” Cathrine said. “I don’t need pizza, I don’t need a weekly manicure, I don’t even need a gym.”
Cathrine said she hopes that others learned valuable lessons of their own during one of the most difficult years humanity has faced in recent memory.
We caught up with Cathrine to reflect on 2020 — and look ahead to a better 2021.
Let’s start by looking back at 2020. It was one heck of a year! What are some things you did to stay motivated amid the worst pandemic the world has seen in more than 100 years?
Two things kept me motivated: Exercise and my meal plan from Diet-to-Go.
I haven’t been in a gym since March, and I do miss it; however, I either walk or hike for 1.5 hours every day, or I bike for an hour. I bought a new bike as a reward for my upcoming 3-year 100-pound weight loss maintenance. On top of the pandemic, I am caring for my parents, who are ill. The exercise is what keeps me from being stressed and maintaining a healthy attitude. Having my meals ready to go kept me out of the grocery store and from allowing myself to fall into a pattern of comforting myself with food.
How do you think the pandemic might shape people’s view of healthy living in 2021?
It took me months to find a bike to buy, so I hope that means people are exercising more! I believe the pandemic helped people identify the difference between needs and “wants.” It took me 53 years to realize I need exercise and a healthy balanced diet. I need my family and friends, even if from a distance. I don’t need pizza, I don’t need a weekly manicure, I don’t even need a gym. I hope that that realization has brought peace to people as it has to me.
How did you balance living through a pandemic and maintaining such an incredible weight loss?
Not easy! I have told anyone who asks, losing weight has always been easy for me. Maintaining a weight loss has not. I have tried to stay true to what bright me to my weight loss — be accountable. Just because I don’t record a cupcake I ate doesn’t mean it didn’t exist. I can eat a cupcake, I just have to account for it. An extra few minutes on my bike, or modifying my snacks — anything but pretending the cupcake didn’t happen.
The other balance in my life is taking time for self care. I often said that I was way too busy to exercise. I’ve learned I need an hour of time a day for my body, my heart and my head. I now make that time every day.
What’s your best 2020 memory?
While caring for my mom who has Alzheimer’s, I quickly learned the importance of routine and exercise for her mental health. In the spring, we walked and looked for four-leaf clovers, something we used to do when I was a child. We found so many, we had to find a new book for pressing. This fall, I was reminded of my mother’s absolute joy in the beauty of changing leaves. She has always collected beautiful leaves, and watching that wonder and joy made me joyful. I’m not sure we would have made these memories if not for the pandemic.
Did you setting a New Year’s Resolution?
My resolution will continue to be maintaining my health. I haven’t made a resolution in years, but I will continue to be accountable for eating a healthy diet and maintaining activity in the new year. This is a part of me now.
What advice do you have for people who want to try something new in 2021?
Be accountable. It doesn’t matter what fitness app you choose, find one, set your goals, give yourself the kindness of making a mistake, and move on right away. One of my biggest barriers to weight loss and maintaining it was thinking if I ate something that wasn’t good for me, the rest of the day (sometimes the rest of the week) was done. I couldn’t acknowledge that I could make better choices and move on. I’d tell myself I’d start over the next day or the next week, and I wouldn’t. This defeated me time and again.
Thinking back to when you lost all that weight, was there anything you did specifically that kept you motivated? Anything that would work for others, too?
Reward yourself when you meet a goal. I used to do this with food. If I was “good,” I would buy some ice cream or have a really indulgent meal. Now, when I meet a goal, I do something special for myself or I reward myself with a new pair of cute tennis shoes or yoga pants.
One challenge of New Year’s resolutions is that people want it to happen quickly, and when/if it doesn’t, they may give up. What advice do you have for them?
I think taking time at the end of each day or week to reflect on successes really helps me. It’s easy to focus on what you did to not keep your resolution rather than all the things you did well.
Some people say that routines are key to success. How has establishing routines worked for you? And how can others establish routines in 2021 that will lead them to success as well?
The fitness app I use really helps with this. I record as I eat or exercise. It’s too easy at the end of the day to forget everything you ate. I would also weigh myself at the same time and on the same day each week. Recording that and looking back over the week always allows me to know why the scale moves in one direction, the other or stays the same.
What other advice do you have for people in 2021?
Start. No matter how many times you may have started and failed before. If it is eating one healthy meal a day, do it. If it is walking to the mailbox and back, do it. Just start and increase something a little every week- add a healthy snack, walk the same distance twice instead of once. You will start to notice a difference in the way you look and feel, and that will keep you going.
Author: Caitlin H
Diet-to-Go Community Manager
Caitlin is the Diet-to-Go community manager and an avid runner. She is passionate about engaging with others online and maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle. She believes moderation is key, and people will have the most weight loss success if they engage in common-sense healthy eating and fitness.