Rene¨¦’s Weight-Loss Advice: ‘You Can’t Out-Work a Bad Diet’

Our next Before & After weight-loss success story comes from blogger Rene¨¦ Benda, whose blog, Bendiful Blog, is part of our POPSUGAR Select Fitness network. She shared with us how her journey started: “I literally woke up one day and just decided to get healthy,” she said. “My oldest son was born with health issues, and for years I put myself behind his needs. After having my second son, I knew it was time for a change. No one could change the situation for me; I needed to get in control. I put on a pair of sneakers and started run/walking.” Now, she’s lost 70 pounds and knows being at a healthy weight is a lifelong commitment. “Most people think weight loss is a one-way street to success, but it really is a never-ending battle of will,” she said. “There are ups and there are downs, and maintenance is a challenge all its own.” Read more about Rene¨¦’s story below!

Rene¨¦: Before

POPSUGAR: What made you decide to start?Rene¨¦ Benda: My oldest son was in the hospital for an extended stay and ended up working with a local sports team in our town on a project. The children’s hospital took tons of photos, and soon, unflattering photos of me were showing up all over social media. I knew I had gained weight but had no idea how much until I started seeing the photos. I decided it was time to make a change.

PS: What’s your favorite way to work out?RB: I am a huge fan of the P90X program and yoga. The incorporation of weight and cardio training really helped me get a feel for my body, and yoga keeps my mind in a good place.

Rene¨¦: Before

PS: What’s your weekly exercise schedule?RB: I work out five to six times a week. Two days of cardio, two days of weights, and boxing/yoga/swim on the other days. I try to shake it up each week. I get restless if the program doesn’t change.

PS: How do you keep workouts exciting?RB: I am always changing up my routine. I swam in high school and recently got back into the pool. Even just adding one day of pool work has done wonders for keeping my body and mind challenged and excited.

Rene¨¦: After

PS: How much weight have you lost?RB: I have lost 68 pounds to date.

PS: What was the first big difference, other than the number on the scale, that really made you feel proud and excited?RB: The numbers on the scale weren’t ever a driving factor. I can’t even really tell you what I weighed at my heaviest because I was too scared to know. I still don’t own a scale. Going from a solid size 14-16 to a 6 has been the biggest nonscale victory I have seen. It’s also been rewarding to see my running PRs continue to get smashed. There was also a funny moment when I was running in our neighborhood on a warm day and stopped in at my mother-in-law’s house, and she was like, “I didn’t know who was here, I don’t even recognize you anymore!” I’ve gotten a lot of those moments.

PS: How do you track your weight loss?RB: I blog about the experience so I have a written diary from the beginning right through to today.

PS: What’s a typical day of meals and snacks?RB: I am a believer in three meals a day with little snacking. I found for me snacking makes me hungry ALL the time. So for me three meals a day packed with fresh veggies, fruits, and protein keep me full and satisfied.

PS: What’s the range of calories you eat per day?RB: I think it would be a huge shocking number. I eat mostly in a Paleo style with very little sugar, but I’m not sure of the actual number.

PS: What are the healthy staples that are always in your fridge?RB: Eggs, kale, and fresh salsa you will ALWAYS find in my house. We joke about raising our own chickens; it’s incredible the amount of eggs we eat.

Rene¨¦: After

PS: How do you strategize your meals?RB: I’m a pretty religious meal planner. Sundays are usually an afternoon dedicated to planning out. I can roast all my squash for the week, cook my proteins (chicken, eggs), and have some veggies already chopped ready to eat. Planning meals just makes our weeks much smoother. There is no guessing or last-minute dinner ideas, which usually leads to poor food choices. And another perk to meal planning is the money it saves us each and every week!

PS: What advice do you have for anyone starting out on a weight-loss journey?RB: It took me a long time to figure out you can’t out-work a bad diet. I really suggest to people, along with increasing their activity levels, you have to look at what you are eating. This was a mistake I made for years ¡ª eating whatever I wanted because I worked out for an hour. You really have to change your relationship with food.

Do you have an inspiring Before & After story to share? Message us on Facebook and give us a few details about your journey. We might even profile you on the site, like Rene¨¦!