Morning!  Today looks like a busy day on my agenda, and I bet it does on yours, too.  So let’s get to it!




One great yogurt mess.


In the mix:


  • 1 serving honey Greek yogurt
  • Flax
  • Cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • Banana
  • Blueberries
  • Perfection


It’s that time again – I’ve got a Healthy Tipping Point story to share with you.  I love Maria’s story because it proves eating right and exercising is about WAY more than lookin’ good.  It’s about your long-term healthy – inside AND outside.


Read on:


Maria wrote, “In July 2007, I set out with one goal in mind: to lose the weight that had been slowly piling on throughout my teenage years and reach a healthy weight for my short 5’3” frame. I was only 20 years old, but already more than 50 pounds overweight.


Carrying all that extra weight embarrassed me. I was terrified of being the “fat” girl and instead chose to take a backseat in my own life—excelling at school and having a wonderful boyfriend, but never pushing myself outside of my comfort zone. I wore baggy clothes to cover up my weight and had lost most interest in being feminine. I mean, who wants to wear skirts when your thighs rub together so much you chafe anyway?  I had no confidence and felt hopeless.

I began paying closer attention to the portion of foods I was eating and every week when I stepped on the scale, low and behold, a pound or two had disappeared. I was ecstatic. For the first time in my life I felt proud of myself and knew I wouldn’t quit until I reached a healthy weight. In December 2007, I hit my first “goal weight.” This was not my healthy tipping point.

 seniornight 015me

On paper, it certainly looked like I was heading in the right direction, I’d lost weight and inches and was no longer  considered obese or overweight. Much of my weight loss came from subsiding on 100-Calorie-Packs, frozen diet meals, iceberg lettuce salads, low-fat treats and smaller portions of the junk food that had helped me gain so much weight.


I’d lost the weight, but I hadn’t learned very much about nutrition or how to healthily fuel my body. I was tired a lot.  When I worked out (which wasn’t often) I didn’t have much energy. I didn’t feel full of energy and life like I had expected. To make matters worse, after returning to university for my Junior year, I started experiencing back and chest pain so intense I went to the hospital one night believing I was having a heart attack.


Many doctor visits and an ultrasound later, the doctor broke the news that I had gallstones. What many  people, myself included at the time, don’t realize, is that your body cannot thrive on a high or low-fat diet for a long amount of time. The gallbladder, which produces bile and aids in the digestive process of the body, requires a certain intake of healthy fats to function properly.


A variety of reasons why a person can develop gallstones exist. They are are a common digestive problem and a large number of people develop them every year. According to my doctor, mine were created by a combination of too many years of eating high fat foods combined with my dramatically low intake over the previous months. Rapid weight loss didn’t help either, he said.


Just before Christmas my gallbladder was removed and I vowed to start feeding myself real food—no more microwave dinners and chemically-laden-processed snacks. This was my healthy tipping point—the moment I realized the foods I put into my body are more than just calories. I began learning as much as I could about nutrition, food labels, and the chemicals in the foods I enjoyed. I stopped buying most of the diet foods, increased my calorie intake, and started exercising. I even started running and ran my first 5K in the fall of 2008.


Almost three years have passed since my surgery and eye-opening awareness of what I was putting into my body. A lot has changed since then. I’m now married and live in Japan teaching English. I’ve developed a passion for running I never thought possible. My husband (the pickiest eater I know) chooses healthier fare over the packaged foods he ate throughout college and regularly asks me questions about the meals we eat.  I even lost some more weight after ditching the diet food and gained a confidence I didn’t know existed.


None of these achievements would have been possible if it weren’t for the single moment when I realized my body  deserved real food. I’m so grateful to have experienced my healthy tipping point and began blogging in August 2009 at Chasing the Now to show my friends and family that I could continue to eat healthy while living abroad.”


Wanna read other Healthy Tipping Point success stories?


  • Dani:  Learning to Run Through the Couch to 5K Program
  • Maissa:  Finding a New Outlet for Negative Emotions
  • Freya:  A Journey Out of Anorexia
  • Carrie:  Ditched Distorted Thinking and Ran a Marathon
  • Amy:  A Mom Who Lost Baby Weight and Became a Triathlete
  • Jenny:  Saw Lance Armstrong on Oprah and Decided to Ride a Century
  • Lauren:  Stays Active Despite Being a Busy Associate at a Financial Firm
  • Beth:  A Friend’s Serious Illness Inspired Her to Focus on Her Own Health


  • tanyasDaily ProductViews July 27, 2010, 9:27 am

    Great story! and your breakfast looks good!

  • Madeline - Greens and Jeans July 27, 2010, 9:30 am

    What a great story! I feel like so many people just look at the total number of calories they are consuming and now what goes into those calories!

  • Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin July 27, 2010, 9:33 am

    That’s a really inspiring story. I love your Healthy Tipping Point series!!

  • Tina July 27, 2010, 9:33 am

    Such a wonderful story. These are always so inspiring to read. And that reminds me – I will get mine to you sometime in the next week or two. 🙂

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat July 27, 2010, 9:35 am

    Congratulations to Maria! What an inspiring story! 🙂

  • Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine July 27, 2010, 9:36 am

    Great success story. I love the HTP series- it’s great motivation to keep making the right choices!! Hope you have a great day!

  • Exercise and Eat July 27, 2010, 9:36 am

    Wow! That’s a very impressive story!

  • Marilou @ Mostly Healthy July 27, 2010, 9:36 am

    Wow, sounds just like MY story! I lost almost 100 pounds the exact same way (iceberg lettuce anyone??) .. but I also develop a very bad relationship with food. It took me years of unhealthy weight loss, sadness and gallstones as well to finally decide to be healthy, at whatever size this would bring me.


  • Sarah for Real July 27, 2010, 9:39 am

    Great story! Yeah for real food! I had a similar, though smaller scale experience when I ditched diet foods as well. Love it!

  • Carolyn @ lovinlosing July 27, 2010, 9:43 am

    Fantastic story! My husband has a (male) friend who lost a bunch of weight really quickly in high school and had to have gallstone surgery, as well. Scary.

  • AllieNic (Frisky Lemon) July 27, 2010, 9:44 am

    Thanks for sharing, Maria! To me, it is yet another reminder to think of food as fuel and not as a weight loss tool. Thanks for posting this Caitlin!

  • Estela @ Weekly Bite July 27, 2010, 9:52 am

    I love reading these stories! So inspirational!

  • Alyssa @ Bride To Be Fit July 27, 2010, 9:53 am

    Thanks for sharing that! I think it’s so important to realize how important REAL, healthy food is for our bodies.

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) July 27, 2010, 9:53 am

    Love this story! I hate processed weight loss foods! Real food is so much better and it makes you feel good too! What a great lesson!

  • JenATX July 27, 2010, 10:03 am

    Caitlin, thanks for sharing these stories 🙂
    Maria, I can totally relate. I remember how I secretly used to hate Lean Cuisines.. blegh, I hated peeling back the plastic covering and how all the steam would drip down onto the food. ick

  • Maria @ Oh Healthy Day July 27, 2010, 10:06 am

    Beautiful story! I love how it addresses how “diet” food isn’t really healthy after all and real food is where it’s at!

  • Jessica July 27, 2010, 10:10 am

    Wonderful story, almost teared up at work. Thanks for sharing. It’s great hearing about hard work paying off and the benefits of a healthier lifestyle.

  • Daniel July 27, 2010, 10:10 am

    Awesome story! It’s really inspirational and it’s a great example of what real food can do for people. I’m glad you overcame your obstacles and feel happier and healthier with your lifestyle!

  • Jewels July 27, 2010, 10:11 am

    great story 🙂 I’ve been trying different bookstores in ny to see if any have your book early, no luck yet! can’t wait to read it

  • Kelly July 27, 2010, 10:12 am

    That’s a great story that truly shows thin doesn’t equal healthy!

  • Fit Chick in the City July 27, 2010, 10:16 am

    Maria, thank you for sharing your amazing story!

  • Heather (Heather's Dish) July 27, 2010, 10:17 am

    i love this story…i agree that we all deserve real food! thanks so much for sharing Maria 🙂

  • Michelle @ Give Me the Almond Butter July 27, 2010, 10:21 am

    I absolutely love these stories. They give me chills down my spine 🙂

  • Julz @ freshman5k July 27, 2010, 10:21 am

    Actually, I DON’T have a busy schedule today! What a great story 🙂

  • Brittany (A Healthy Slice of Life) July 27, 2010, 10:26 am

    Wow, what a great story!

    I think it’s always a revelation, especially in women’s lives, when we realize that it’s not about the quantity of calories, but the quality of the food. I wish I could go back and tell my younger self that I’m not “getting away” with anything by eating lettuce so I can binge on pizza later… I’m so glad to finally have found my healthy balance.

  • Carly (Swim, Run, Om) July 27, 2010, 10:27 am

    I love these HTP stories … once the Operation Beautiful starts slipping on the bestseller list (a looong time from now!), you should write a book that compiles all of these stories together! It could be an OB/HTP hybrid.

  • emptynutjar July 27, 2010, 10:39 am

    I love this story. This girl is beautiful in all her pics and her story is wonderful. She should feel so proud.

    (and another note: I had a similar breakfast recently, same things only added berries, walnuts, coconut flakes, maple & bown sugar – good in oats).

  • Danielle (Runs on Green) July 27, 2010, 10:42 am

    I loved this story Maria! Thank for sharing 🙂

  • Holly @ couchpotatoathlete July 27, 2010, 10:50 am

    Oh my, Maria’s story was fantastic! I am sort of in that place now — I lost weight by eating “diet” food and now I am eating REAL food and I feel better than I ever have. Thank you Maria for sharing your story and Caitlin thank you for sharing it with all of us!

  • Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman July 27, 2010, 10:52 am

    That was a great story. I can’t believe those before and after photos. What a change.

  • Samantha @ Health, Happiness & Skinny Jeans July 27, 2010, 11:01 am

    What a great story! I love reading about allt he different ways that people find the inspiration to improve their lives!

  • Kacy July 27, 2010, 11:04 am

    I love this story! It’s so refreshing to hear when people discover the beauty of REAL food. Love it.

  • Marie D July 27, 2010, 11:08 am

    this is such a sweet and inspiring story. thanks for sharing!

  • Annie@stronghealthyfit July 27, 2010, 11:10 am

    Awesome story! One more healthy, happy woman 🙂

  • Katie @ Healthy Heddleston July 27, 2010, 11:11 am

    Wow, I loved this story. Truly inspirational.

  • Wei-Wei July 27, 2010, 11:17 am

    Wow, what a great story. I think that it’s so important to now about more than just calories – I’m vowing to learn about nutrients and minerals in foods RIGHT NOW.

    Wei Wei

  • Alyson @ Nourished Fitness July 27, 2010, 11:18 am

    ahh love that Tipping Point story 🙂

  • Gavi July 27, 2010, 11:18 am

    Yet another beautifully inspiring story about incredible people learning to be healthy and love their bodies. Thank you so much!

  • Jen July 27, 2010, 11:28 am

    Great job, Maria, I’m glad that you’re healthy now! It’s so easy to be deceived by appearances; numbers don’t tell the whole story, neither calories nor the number on the scale. It’s essential to give your body the things it needs, and you’ve found that balance: congratulations!

    • Jen July 27, 2010, 11:33 am

      Oh and I meant to write also, I’ve recently started researching some of the ingredients common in diet foods, which I didn’t realize I had been eating. Aspartame especially concerned me since it’s been linked to cancer and neurological symptoms in some studies, so it’s definitely best to avoid the fake stuff and go for real food, as unprocessed as possible!

  • Christine @ Grub, Sweat and Cheers July 27, 2010, 11:39 am

    Great story. I love that the lightbulb moment was about your health and not hitting a number on the scale. Congrats!

  • Rachel July 27, 2010, 11:42 am

    She looks so beautiful!! What a great story.

    Someday I’ll have a healthy tipping point to share with you. I just realized I’m still on the upward climb of the mountain. Its always a journey!!

  • Cate July 27, 2010, 11:48 am

    That is a really great story! and that running picture is awesome! Way to go 🙂

  • katherine July 27, 2010, 11:53 am

    A beautiful story by a beautiful blogger! Sounds like she’s really come into her own and embraced her body, as well as her right to information about what she eats and how it affects her!!

  • Annie @ Delicious Wellness July 27, 2010, 11:59 am

    Thanks for sharing these HTP stories, Caitlin! They always put tears in my eyes. Such powerful and inspiring stories! 🙂

  • Aimee July 27, 2010, 12:05 pm

    Way to go Maria! Real food rocks! 🙂 And that breakfast looks super yummy too. Making me a bit hungry. LOL.

  • Abby July 27, 2010, 12:20 pm

    That’s awesome! Has anyone read Jillian Michael’s Mastering Your Metabolism? I started reading it yesterday on a whim and I’m so glad that I did. I wasn’t sure what to expect but so far Jillian has done an excellent job breaking down the metabolism and how it works and all the things we do (and all the outside inputs) that effect how our body works. I haven’t finished it yet but I think where she is going is how important REAL, NUTRITIOUS food is the only way to truly be healthy.

    • Caitlin July 27, 2010, 3:36 pm

      I haven’t read it but I’ve heard awesome things about it!

  • Sara July 27, 2010, 12:44 pm

    I was in the dressing room at Macy’s this past weekend and heard a girl (who had her boyfriend in the room w/ her) say, “I look 6 months pregnant don’t I? You can just admit it, it’s not going to offend me.” Then she proceeded to degrade herself a little more with every item she tried on. I happened to be there with my mom who started to do the exact same thing. I was in a dressing room full of negativity. I wanted so badly to say something to both of them and to put a sticky note on their foreheads telling them they’re amazing but I chickened out. Any advice on talking to your own mom about changing the way she eats, exercises and looks at herself? I would love it if she could find her healthy tipping point even if it is at 60 years old!!

    • Caitlin July 27, 2010, 3:37 pm

      You can have your HTP at any age! I would just be honest with her… I actually had an intervention of sorts with my mom. I was like, “Look I want you to live for a long time and be healthy and happy, and if you don’t start exercising and eating right, that’s probably not going to happen.” I was just brutally honest. Not sure that would work with everyone, but it worked with my mom. She started to walk around her neighborhood and lost 10 pounds – the healthy way.

  • Michelle July 27, 2010, 12:46 pm

    I love these HTP stories! Maria’s is so great – I find it really interesting that she felt like she didn’t have energy eating the processed (but low cal) foods.

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin July 27, 2010, 12:51 pm

    Great story! I love it when people realize being healthy doesn’t mean eating low fat and diet foods! I fell victim to that craze too and I feel so much better feeding my body real, whole foods! Way to go Maria. 🙂

  • Cynthia (It All Changes) July 27, 2010, 1:06 pm

    I love this! I lost a ton of weight on “diet” foods and then it stalled. When I learned to really eat and enjoy food the rest of the weight just came off. And I actually learned that I enjoyed food instead of seeing it as the enemy.

    Congrats Maria for finding this to be your tipping point too 🙂

  • Jaclyn July 27, 2010, 1:07 pm

    Wow thats a great healthy tipping point thanks for sharing!

  • Amber K @ sparkpeople July 27, 2010, 1:28 pm

    Way to go Maria! I love these stories. =)

  • Ellen@FirednFabulous July 27, 2010, 1:41 pm

    Love these stories! Awesome job, Maria! Thinking about putting real food into my body vs. focusing on the calories always help me make healthier food choice. Plus, the more healthy foods you eat, the more your body craves it!

  • Healthy Amy July 27, 2010, 1:43 pm

    Wow – what a fantastic, inspiring story – well done Maria!

  • Caroline July 27, 2010, 2:09 pm

    Great story! Real Food is where it’s at and your living proof! Congrats!

  • Katy @MonsterProof July 27, 2010, 2:11 pm

    What a wonderful story! And such great perspective!

  • Monica July 27, 2010, 3:10 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this story – truly inspirational and a big reminder that I really needed today!

  • Janna (Janna's Keeping it Real) July 27, 2010, 3:21 pm

    I just love success stories, especially showcasing the correlation of the foods you eat having such an impact! i think people get way too wrapped up in thinking “diet food” = better for you…it usually doesn’t! real food is where it’s at!

  • maria @ Chasing the Now July 27, 2010, 6:27 pm

    Caitlin, thanks so much for letting me share my story with your readers. I hope it has helped someone else who is in a similar situation as I was. You can eat real food, lose weight, and get healthy… all at the same time. You don’t have to play guessing games with what is in the food you are eating.

  • Miranda @ MirandasJeans July 28, 2010, 8:19 am

    I really love this healthy tipping point. It’s great to read about people not only meeting their weight loss goals, but finding a way to live and eat healthy to maintain those goals.

    Food is fuel.

  • kelsey July 28, 2010, 10:29 am

    loved your story, maria!

  • Sarah @ See Sarah Eat July 28, 2010, 3:12 pm

    Wow, what a neat story! I had my gallbladder out when I was 20 and I believe it was the same thing — I was going to Weight Watchers at the time and eating lots of fake foods to lose weight (25 lbs at that point). Unfortunately, the surgery was really complicated and I had a long recovery, which just sent me into a deeper hole and I gained all the weight back and then some. It took me four more years to come out of it but I did 🙂

Healthy Tipping Point