Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

How I lost 70 pounds: My food diary spelled out my problem

Amanda Moreiro

29, Toronto

Pounds dropped: 70

Story continues below advertisement

My turning point: Throughout most of my 20s, I'd lost and gained weight – going all out or not at all. I'd work out like a fiend, count calories all the time, and was really hard on myself when I fell off the wagon – which, of course, was inevitable. In September of last year, I was out for a walk with my dog and couldn't make it up a small hill without breathing heavily. I came home and stepped on the scale: I hadn't weighed myself in years. Seeing the number 268 flash in front of me was the reality check I needed.

My method: I started a food diary of everything I was eating – this really helped me be aware of what I was putting into my body. I was shocked by how much mindless snacking and tasting during meal prep I was doing, and the amount of fast food I was eating, when I saw it all on paper.

The next step was focusing on portion control. From reviewing my food diary I learned I was eating four times the suggested serving of grains at one meal (e.g. two cups of cooked pasta with cream sauce, and two white dinner rolls with butter, and not a vegetable in sight). I cut out diet pop and switched from eating refined, simple carbs to complex ones. Menu planning has been key to my success; I do as much meal preparation as possible on weekends to ensure the fridge is filled with healthy ready-to-go options.

Now, my dinner is typically one serving of lean protein and as many veggies as I want. I limit my complex carb intake to breakfast (usually homemade oatmeal or muesli), and then have a large salad with protein (such as tuna or roasted chickpeas) for lunch and a boiled egg mashed on a rice cake for my preworkout snack.

I started off very slowly in the exercise department; I was out of shape and didn't want to injure myself. In December, 2012, I joined a plus-size fitness studio called Fit Zone Plus, where I did a Zumba class twice a week. I then joined their 12-week Mind Body Makeover program in February, 2013; it combined lessons and strategies about health and well-being and included a group exercise class at each session. I also made small changes, like walking to the TTC (instead of waiting for the streetcar), taking the stairs at work (instead of the elevator) and walking on my lunch break.

I started to feel more confident and eventually joined an outdoor boot camp. It was tough, and I wanted to quit after the first class – I was panting and puffing. Though I had to take frequent breaks, I persevered – I had a lot of support and encouragement from the other members of the group, who kept me motivated and kept pushing me to be faster and stronger. This summer, I increased the number of sessions of boot camp to four or five a week, and now I'm at the head of the pack, cheering on and supporting the new recruits.

My kryptonite: Chocolate. More specifically, dark chocolate with acai and blueberry. I count out 15 squares and make a cup of my favourite tea (peppermint) and eat them while watching Thursday-night TV. I've been told that I make an "mmmmm" sound while eating my hard-earned treat.

Story continues below advertisement

This interview has been condensed and edited.

Tell us how you lost it:

Report an error Editorial code of conduct Licensing Options
As of December 20, 2017, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this resolved by the end of January 2018. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to