“My friend texted me yesterday morning and said, ‘You’re one of the top trending items on Apple news,’” says Stacy Blair, a 30-year-old financial analyst from Coon Rapids.
It began when Women’s Health featured her after following her on Instagram.
“That got the ball rolling, I believe,” Blair says.
Then, on Tuesday, ABC’s “Good Morning America” (GMA) posted a write-up on their wellness page.
“I didn’t realize the story would be posted on ABC News, too” Blair says.
When her friend sent her the screenshot of the top news headlines of the day, it made her smile..
“I was the third most popular story,” says Blair.
That story — “5 tips from a woman who lost more than 200 pounds” — was topped only by “New Democratic senator irritating the left and delighting the GOP‘ by Politico and “Floating statue of Donald Trump surrounded by snakes found in canal‘ by Newsweek.
“It was shocking, to say the least,” says Blair.
It was a different kind of shock that motivated Blair to change two years ago: She didn’t like what she saw when she looked in the mirror on Sept. 14, 2017. She was 352 pounds and she was scared.
“My health was getting progressively worse, and it was getting painful just to move and stand,” she told GMA. “At that time I was 28, so I told myself I wanted to live to see 30, and here I am.”
She’s down to 135 pounds now, but she’s gained a following: On Instagram, she has more than 82,000 followers of her account, @losing_for_health. Many of them are new.
“I’ve gained more than 5,000 followers since Tuesday morning,” says Blair.
On Instagram, Blair shares her new life with her followers, including inspirational quotes like this one: “It never gets easier, you get stronger.”
Everyone wants to know: How did she lose so much weight — 220 pounds — naturally, and in just 18 months?
She says it was motivation (health); food tracking (using an app to track calories); meal prep, following the Keto diet (a diet that forces the body to burn fat); and focusing on diet over exercise.
The Pioneer Press asked her for advice on how to begin, how to start on day one.
“Just track your food,” Blair says. “I used this free app, MyFitnessPal, which is the biggest, most universal app out there. Don’t address what you’re eating at first — just be honest with yourself with what you’re currently eating. Then, take a step back and ask: ‘What are little things I can do to improve my nutrition?’ If you’re drinking soda every day, ask yourself, ‘Is this something I can cut down on?’ It seems so small — but the changes do add up over time.”
Beyond counting calories, she also used another online tool to motivate herself.
“I did my first DietBet challenge with a friend on Sept. 15, 2017,” says Blair.
DietBet is a way to bet on yourself, with financial incentives, but that’s not what brought Blair back again and again (she won 19 consecutive weight-loss challenges).
“You’re not really competing against anyone except yourself,” Blair says. “The community is what I really love about it.”
Currently, Blair is thinking about building a community as she recovers from a concussion she suffered during a fall off a bicycle. She’s thinking about mindfulness and strength and service, too.
“I want to utilize this platform ,” Blair says, “to help other people who have just gotten started.”