This couple proves that making even the smallest changes can lead to achieving massive results.
Stephanie Engblom, 25, and her husband, Brandon Engblom, 29, looked in the mirror one day and realized they were at one of their “lowest lows.”
The pair each weighed over 300 pounds. Brandon had just been diagnosed with sleep apnea, while Stephanie felt generally awful. Her whole body ached every day. They knew then and there that something had to be done before it’s too late.
“We needed to make a change if we wanted to live a long, happy, healthy life together and maybe someday start a family,” said Stephanie, a photographer.
So they did.
In less than a year, the couple lost a combined 200 pounds! Stephanie has shed off 116 pounds, while Brandon lost 80.
They did it with none of the fad diets and extreme exercise plans that are trending today. Instead, they got results by following a simple method: making small lifestyle changes they can keep forever.
“I’ve been overweight my entire life,” Stephanie recalled. “I have early memories of trying fad diets like Weight Watchers or low-carb and I would initially lose a little bit of weight, but I would never be able to keep it off long-term. I’d always gain it back plus five pounds.”
If they wanted to keep off all the extra weight for the rest of their lives, Brandon and Stephanie figured they should do it in the most sustainable way possible. The couple didn’t aim for instant results; they wanted something they could stick to forever, so they don’t keep playing the weight loss game.
The couple shared their weight loss strategies with TODAY.
Stephanie replaced her sugary coffee with something lower in calories. Instead of having whole milk and chocolate syrup with coffee, she now drinks it with almond milk and espresso.
They haven’t restricted any food from their diet. In fact, they still eat their favorite dishes like pizza and tacos, but they tweaked the recipe a bit to make it healthier.
Instead of cooking with ground beef, they replaced it with ground turkey or chicken. They also switched to Greek yogurt in place of sour cream. They also cut back on the cheese and added more veggies.
For pizza, they make it at home and use turkey pepperoni.
“You can eat everything you want still, just in moderation,” Stephanie explained. “It’s more about portion size and being mindful of how much you’re eating rather than completely restricting yourself of certain foods.”
As for Brandon, who is an attorney by profession, it’s all about consuming more protein. They veered away from consuming carb-heavy pasta and switched to protein-rich alternatives such as chickpea noodles. Doing so helps them feel fuller for longer.
Stephanie says going on this journey together has only strengthened their relationship.
“I feel like we’ve only gotten stronger together and doing this with him has made it more possible than doing it alone,” she said.
The couple goes to the gym occasionally to do light workouts. But what they’ve found more effective is finding sustainable ways to keep their bodies moving as much as they can. This includes walking their dog about a mile every day or simply cleaning the house. It’s all about getting into a routine they can keep up with.
Stephanie’s advice to others who are just starting their own weight loss journey is this:
“Make small changes: It doesn’t have to be a complete restriction from the get-go,” she said. “Something new each day that leaves you one step closer to your ultimate goal, whether that’s drinking more water today than you did yesterday or skipping the ketchup at dinner — just little things you can modify every day rather than completely cold turkey all at once because that is where you can run into trouble.”
For Brandon, it’s also important to alter one’s mentality.
“Be open to changing your mindset that this isn’t just you dieting, this is now your life and who you are going to be going forward. You have to know you’re going to alter your life in a way where this is your new normal,” he said.
What an inspirational couple! Share this story to motivate friends and family who are on their own weight loss journeys.