37 Pounds Lost!
Height: 5'3", Age: 34
From Warrington, PA
Natalie's enthusiasm and participation in the 2011 New Year's Challenge made her a clear grand prize winner choice for the judges. Her delicious homemade recipes, stunning food photos, and constant support brought her to model member status.
Before joining the South Beach Diet, Natalie's everyday life was spent watching TV for hours each day, overindulging in baked goods, and eating take-out dinners. Moreover, she did little physical activity and had no desire to do things with her family and friends. As a result of her sedentary lifestyle, she always felt tired and bloated.
"I would wake up on a Saturday morning, make a huge butter-filled breakfast and retire again to the couch all day. Then in the evening I'd order take-out. I wasn't really living or experiencing anything outside of what I watched on television," Natalie says.
But after starting the South Beach Diet in January 2009, Natalie discovered newfound confidence, good health, and a love for cooking. She traded her bad eating habits for fresher, wholesome foods. During the 2011 New Year's Challenge, she learned how to poach eggs, which is now her favorite breakfast meal. Throughout the 8-week course of the South Beach Diet Cooking School, Natalie tried different healthy cooking techniques, experimented with exotic foods, and stepped out of her comfort zone in the kitchen.
"Bok Choy and tahini were foods that I didn't think about using before. The South Beach Diet Cooking School gave me the opportunity to share my recipes, ideas, and food photos with everybody. I loved the experience so much that I was inspired to pursue a new hobby—food photography!" Natalie says.
Like past Challenge winners, Natalie attributes her weight-loss success to the South Beach Diet philosophy of eating satisfying, nutrient-rich foods and staying active. Natalie has lost more than 35 pounds, feels better, and is much happier now.
Natalie says, "In the past, I would not have loved things like hiking or biking. Now I look forward to warmer weather so I can enjoy these activities again. I also used to dread the warmer months because there would be less clothing to hide behind, but this year I'm celebrating spring like never before. I'm excited to try on my new sandals with a pair of Capri pants."
"I was surprised to become so involved in the online program. There is a definite connection between my involvement in the site and my weight loss. Daily involvement on the South Beach Diet web site is essential for me. It keeps me motivated to stay on track and lead a healthy lifestyle."
"My favorite snack is low-fat cheese sticks. You can take them anywhere, and they fill you up and taste good too."
"I love hiking and biking but that only applies to the warmer months. During the winter time, I like to work out at a health club and interval walk or run on the treadmill."
Most Effective Strategy
"You have to be consistent and patient. I've been losing an average 1/2 pound every week. It's slow, but I've learned not to get discouraged and remember this is a lifestyle change. As a result, I have also improved my health significantly. There are weeks when I'm not the perfect angel with my food choices, but overall if I'm consistent the weight will come off."
"Follow the South Beach Diet! It's a healthy, long-term plan and something you can continue to follow even after you have reached your weight-loss goal. A lot of diets don't work out that way. It's also important to follow a consistent exercise plan and find an enjoyable workout. It doesn't have to be high intensity but something to get you moving. It's unbelievable how much of an impact exercise makes on your overall mood and energy."