6 Years Down The Road – A Recap of My Journey Into Health

Let me start by saying that I am not very comfortable at all with this page. I sometimes can’t even believe that I dared publish it.

The thing is, you see, I can barely stand to look at pictures of my former self myself, so having them appear on this page for the entire world to see is pretty much torture to me. Also, I’m not the kind of person who likes to expose much skin in real life, so being portrayed sorta half-naked here is really, really hard for me. The “skin” pictures that I posted on this page are snapshots that I had taken for my own benefit, to monitor my progress. I never imagined that I would actually share them with the world.

BUT… I feel I sort of owe this to you guys. After all, this site is about my journey to a fitter, healthier me, and about how making better food choices and getting physically active transformed me over the years.

I mean, it’s one thing for me to tell you: this is what I do, this is what I eat, but if you never get to see what it actually did for me, I guess you’re not going to be quite as inclined to give it a shot for yourself.

So, well, in the name of inspiration… here goes.

Sonia! The Healthy Foodie | 5 years into the lifestyle


This did not happen overnight. And of course, it did not happen in the kitchen alone. I spent quite a bit of time working out, too, as you can very well imagine.

For 3 full years, I worked out exclusively from home, 6 times a week, with no one but myself to coax and motivate me. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times that I skipped a workout during all that time. And every time I did, I had a very good reason to.

Then, about 6 months ago, I felt that my self-motivation superpowers were slowly starting to fade, so I decided I needed exterior help and joined a local gym. Well, box, actually. I decided to give CrossFit a shot. Best move ever!

I won’t be going into all the details, but I want to at least give you a general recap of what it is that I did over the course of these 6 years during which I traveled the path to this new healthier, fitter me.

Oh, and also too: I feel it’s important to mention that none of the pictures on this page have been edited in the least, save for cropping and laying text over them.

Sonia! The Healthy Foodie | 5 years later

YEAR 1 – 2008

I quit smoking.

That’s it! That’s all I did that year.

But what a great accomplishment this was. One of my biggest ever! I’d been smoking for over 20 years…

After I’d been smoke free for 2 months, my daughter made this little surprise drawing for me. It touched me so deeply, it gave me wings. I never picked up a cigarette ever again.

It’s the little things that make a huge difference sometimes… I will forever hold on to this drawing.

No smoking for 2 months

YEAR 2 – 2009

My official resolution that year had been to quit drinking during the week: that meant no booze whatsoever from Monday through Thursday, but I could drink whatever I wanted on the week-ends. It wasn’t long before the need to drink subsided and I started drinking less and less.

About mid-year, I also decided that I was going to lose some of that extra weight I’d been carrying by reducing portion size and making somewhat better food choices. My motto was: everything in moderation.

The pounds were also only coming off in moderation, too, as you can very well see!

Sonia! The Healthy Foodie | In the not so glorious days

YEAR 3 – 2010

That was the year I started exercising: the official resolution had been to be active for a minimum of 30 minutes a day, no less than 6 times a week.

I initially invested in a Wii Fit as well as a not-so-great-Elliptical-Trainer and got my body movin’.

I also started reading on the subject of health and fitness and cleaned up my diet quite seriously this time. I became more and more interested in fueling my body with good food.

It wasn’t long before Wii Fit didn’t fit my needs anymore (pun definitely intended) so I started creating my own workouts and eventually moved on to P90X

When summer came, I got fed up with exercising indoors so I started running. My goal had been to run 10km straight. That year, I ran my first (and only) half marathon in 2:01:40!

Now I was really getting somewhere. The transformation had clearly begun!

Sonia! The Healthy Foodie | After Half-Marathon

YEAR 4 – 2011

Still exercising 6 times a week (although that half hour rule had gone way up!)

P90X was still part of my regular routine but I started mixing with other resistance and cardio workouts.

Still working the heck out of my poor squeaky Elliptical machine, too (I abused the poor thing doing intense HIIT sessions 2-3 times a week)

That year, I came to the realization that I really didn’t like running, so I barely ran at all. I had to think of another outdoor activity that I could do during the warmer summer months, but I spent most my summer exercising in the basement.

Oh, that was also the year when I decided to have that unsightly excess skin removed. (please don’t judge… it was a very tough decision to make and I hated myself for doing it for a very long time… I can’t even believe that I am actually talking about this, let alone showing it, but since it was a turning point in my journey, it had to be mentioned. I’ll tell you more about this eventually, in another post… )

Sonia! The Healthy Foodie | Before Surgery

YEAR 5 – 2012

Still going strong about working out religiously 6 times a week.

Still doing P90X but lifting much heavier weights now. Left the “12 to 15 clan” (lean) to join the ranks of “8 to 10” (size). Also added / switched a lot of the exercises in the program.

Started doing Zumba on cardio days, for a bit of a change.

Oh, and I found an outdoor activity that I truly like for the warmer days of summer: CYCLING! I rode close to 2000 km last summer. Not bad considering I hadn’t been on a bike in over 20 years!

I completed my first official challenge (the Laurentians Challenge : a very hilly 92.5km ride) and I also beat that distance in the same summer doing 104km on a single ride.

This is my awesome training partner, Vince! Together, him and I really go places!

My awesome training partner Vince

YEAR 6 – 2013

After going through my first Whole30 challenge earlier this year, I decided to give the paleo lifestyle a serious shot.

So far, I’m LOVIN’ it!

I also stopped P90X and started doing Body Beast instead. I still do a little bit of Zumba, Elliptical or Biking for cardio.

I dream of giving CrossFit a try. Maybe this summer? I NEED to fit that one into my schedule (and budget!) (EDIT: I did manage to start CrossFit at the beginning of September and I absolutely LOVE IT! Best move I ever did. Read more about it here)

And there you have it. That about sums it up, for now… I don’t think I need to tell you about what it is that I eat, do I?  Of course, if you have any questions or comments, fire them away:  I’ll be more than happy to discuss all this with you.

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  1. Caitlin says

    Thank you for sharing your journey Sonia! It is very inspiring to see your photos – wow you look AMAZING! look at those abs! that is impressive 😀 (and I love your tattoos as well!). You must be very proud of your transformed self. I still have flab on my abs (that I only notice when doing certain moves while working out (i.e. plank!) and thighs that i need to tone up, and I hope I can tone my abs to your extent! My exercise is walking my dog, briskly walking to/from work (40 minutes 4 days a week) and doing a lot of Jillian Michaels DVDs (I’ve done her 30 Day Shred, Ripped in 30, Banish Fat Boost Metabolism, and No More Trouble Zones – all of which are GREAT, and I do any of those a couple times a week). Thank you for this post. It is very motivating to see the great results! :)

    • Tammy says

      I’m not even sure how I ended up on this site but it was fantastic to read your story. You inspire me. I have an autoimmune and for the last 11 years it has kicked my butt. I am on new medicine (which I take many, many, many meds)and I think I’m finally feeling better. Now I’m looking to take the next step, eating better and moving more. Both at this time scare the heck out of me. I am not very good at computers and still get confused on websites and blogs and so on, but I’m glad I came upon your site. I have marked it as a favorite (or I think I did) and plan to use it for recipes, tips and inspiration. Thank you very much for sharing. You Rock!

      • says

        Tammy, I’m real happy you ended up on my blog and thank you so much for taking the time to sign on your way out! Hopefully, you will find your way back, I would be real happy to help inspire you with my recipes and life story. I would also love to hear more about yours and what you went through. Sure must have been tough (and probably still is!) If you want, you can request to receive new posts by email by entering your email address under “follow me” in the left side bar and then click “go”. This way, you’ll be sure never to miss a new recipe! Real nice to meet you Tammy and hope to “see” you again soon! :)

    • says

      Thanks Caitlin! You did an awesome job at transforming your body too! Just keep it up, the results don’t come overnight, and sculpting a body is always a work in progress. You have to be at it your whole life, and it takes a lot of dedication, both in the kitchen and in the “gym”… if I can give you one piece of advice it would be to do weight / resistance training at least 3 times a week. And don’t be afraid to lift heavy! It made all the difference in the world for me! You keep up the great work and thanks again for your kind words. It means a lot to me! :)

  2. says

    Congratulations Sonia, you look super hot! I’m so jealous of those 6 pack abs you’ve got! ahah. This is really courageous of you to expose your body to your readers, I would never be able to do such a thing. I really admire you for that! And you don’t even need to go to the gym to achieve such results, wow! I’m personally incapable of working out alone, I get bored in seconds. thank god group fitness classes exist!

  3. Karin Rush says

    Thank you so much for being vunerable and sharing your story. I love your blog and recipes. Your photographs are amazing. Now your story is inspiring.

  4. Diane Bonham says

    Thank you for sharing. At 55 I know I need to start eating healthier and exercise. I worry I will have excess skin and wrinkles. You show that you had to work for what you have achived. That deserves respect. I have a sister in law that has always been rail thin. She worked at nutra system years ago.
    . I never understood how she could even fathem how hard it was for people to lose weight. Her parents were tiny people and I have watched her eat good sized portions over the years..
    She now is a dietition. So now her advice is even more irritating. She, my brother in law and their daughters have always made fun of fat people openly in front of my husband and I (who are over weight). Ooo I’m ranting. Sorry but again advise is so much better coming from someone who has lived it. Thank you so very much for sharing!

    • says

      Hey, no problem Diane, you can rant all you want! I totally hear your frustration. People just don’t understand other people’s struggles and trials with food unless they have the same beliefs themselves, and those that can’t seem to ever put on weight and / or don’t give a damn if they do often judge you on every single morsel that goes into your mouth. If you eat healthy stuff, they say you’re anorexic, and if you treat yourself to something a little more indulgent, they say you eat like a pig. Whatever. I say you have to do your own thing and make your own beliefs. Trust your instinct, it will take you a long way. At least, it did me! And yes, I do have to put up with all that… A LOT! People think I’m crazy for STILL restricting my food intake. They just don’t get that this is a lifestyle, this is FOREVER. LOL… my turn to rant! 😉 Thanks for dropping by and sharing, Diane. I truly appreciate that! :)

  5. says

    Absolutely amazing post! I don’t often read every word of a blog post I’m a total skimmer but you had my attention well held! Thank you for sharing you’re story and although I know it’s not why you posted, WELL DONE! You’re in amazing shape thanks to hard work and dedication! Seriously taken aback…:)

  6. says

    You how I do things with reading a few weeks of posts at a time… well today I saw this and just had to come on over and comment immediately!

    This is amazing and most definitely inspiring. I can’t get over how different you look. You really look like a different person in some of these!

    And that picture from your daughter. Aww. I’m so happy she made that and supported you and I’m proud of you for never going back!

    I can’t get over how tiny you are now. Tiny! I guess that’s not the correct word. Fit! You are super FIT! Awesome job. :)

    And I still giggle every time I read that you named your bike Vince. I don’t know why… Vince just has a funny connection for me.

    Anyway, amazing job! You’re so brave for sharing this. Oh and I have to say, that first picture of you from your not-so-healthy days… your face is absolutely gorgeous.

    • says

      AHA! You’re just so funny Erin, your comments always make me laugh! Thank you, thank you very much! But that face, no matter how pretty, is never to return! Besides, I looked like a Cabbage Patch Kid… don’t you think? 😉
      p.s. I got your email, God I’m bad with those. It’s like I read my email and then file them as “done” in my head, but sort of forget that I also have to answer, not only read! So I end up answering them in batches, once or twice a week. I know, BAD ME! I’ll answer you in a few… promise! (hours, that is, not days!) 😉

  7. Nicola says

    WOW, to get a body like that on your own is true dedication. If you like to compete, you should look into a CrossFit gym. You would love it and I think you could go far, very far! Thank you for your blog. It is one of the best, realistic and NOT preachy. Just found you today and will be a regular. Found you via a recipe on Pinterest:-!

    • says

      Oh wow! Thank you so much for all your kind words, Nicola, I am truly flattered! Unfortunately, I am not really one to compete and between this blog and my full time job, there wouldn’t be much time for it anyway. I have however considered giving CrossFit a try many times. The only thing stopping me again is the lack of time… but I’m guessing I’ll eventually find a way to make it work. When there’s a will, there’s a way! :)

  8. says

    Wow…. That is so impressive Sonia and great that you have the courage to show all the details here. You’re truly are an inspiration and in fact you’ll be featured on my Scribbles and Notes blog next week as inspirational blog.. 😉 It’ll go up on the 7th, just so you know!

    • says

      Aw, thank you so much Simone, this means A LOT to me! I am extremely flattered that you would consider me to be so inspirational! I can’t wait to see your post on Scribbles and Notes! I sure will be keeping an eye out for it.

      Thanks again, my friend, from the bottom of my heart. You are simply awesome! :)

  9. zafirah azmiz says

    hello sonia :)
    I’m so happy to see your transformation
    I’d like to know how did u built that 6 packs
    wow it looks stunning!

  10. Deb says

    Hi Sonia!

    I found you when looking for info about wax beans. Love them more than green.
    Never see them fresh, just canned. They taste good too after washing off the salt.
    Anyway…wow what a transformation…but I think you look beautiful before and after.
    Your site looks like fun, I’ll be back.

  11. johngalt says

    I’m not sure why, but your tranformation reminds me of Sandy from Grease:D You know, when all of the sudden she’s like ‘hello stud’:D Congratulations, what you’ve managed to achieve is truly amazing!
    I was wondering if you could give some advice on how to start weight training at home. I’m a student and can’t really afford a gym right now. I also don’t have much space in my[tinyyy] room. Where did you learn how to do the excersises properly? I’m just little overwhelmed with all of this and would be grateful for any word of advice.
    Oh, and sorry if my english seems off, it’s not my first language:)

    • says

      Haha! Too funny! Thanks for that, John!

      I guess if you’re gonna work out from your tiny little apartment, you best bet is to invest in a few good dvds and a few sets of dumbells. P90X served me very well for a long time. Body Beast is another excellent program. Dumbells can get fairly pricey, so the trick is to buy new ones every now and then. Same goes for other pieces of equipment you might eventually want to add to your arsenal.

      And the one key ingredient is CONSISTENCY! You need to stick with it. Make time to work out. Make it a priority. Keep pushing play! (you’ll get this one if you do P90X) :)

  12. Maria says

    Hi Sonia. I happen to stumble to your link through Pintrest for a chia pudding recipe. Im so glad that I navigated to your site. I must say, “Wow! Amazing! Admirable!” After reading & seeing your transformation, you truly have inspired me. Im 43 years old and honestly can say I try to keep a healthy weight by making an effort to eat healthy & excercise 5-6 times a week. But my exercise consist only cardio: running & cycling. I don’t do any strength training because I hate going to the gym – the gym intimidates me. After reading your story that your transformation was not done at the gym made me feel a sense that I too can have a rock ass body like yours! Thank you for sharing your journey, recipes, and tips!……..Awesome accomplishment!

  13. Seattle says

    Congratulations Sonia, nice story and hope you’re still riding your bike {I am]… 😉

    • says

      Good to hear! Are the pounds coming off for ya?

      As for me, sadly, the weather has been real bad in Quebec lately, rainy and cold all the time, so I haven’t been ridging much. Pretty much been lifting instead, with a bit of cardio in between…

      There’s always next year! 😉

      • Seattle says

        Next year?

        We live in the same hemisphere so we share same seasons so this is riding season.

        As far as my weight is concerned, I guess I”m losing weight but wearing shorts all the time and not really weighing myself.

        Definitely, not a full body transformation, I’m happy with my body, just like in the beginning, I’m always interested in how people are eating.

  14. Katherine says

    Je suis arrive sur ton blog en cherchant une recette avec quinoa et crevettes. Je me reconnais dans ton blog :) J ai 33 ans et j ai decide de me remettre en forme et me debarasser des 15 livres de ma derniere grossesse. A date, je m entraine presque tous les jours, je cours, je fais de la musculation et j ai decide de m inscrire a un gym. Je veux integrer l entrainement dans mon mode de vie. Je suis diabetique (type 1; juvenile) et vegetarienne. Les recettes que tu offres semblent absolumment delicieuses!

    merci de partager et bravo pour ton parcours!

  15. says

    In awe.. Your blog is FREAKING AMAZING!!!! I am drooling over all of your yummy recipes. Completely inspired by your before and after pictures and after almost an hour of browsing your page I am still finding AWESOMENESS!!!

    I think I have pinned every whole30 recipe you have listed. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for making my own personal health/fit journey easier with all the time and effort you have poured into this blog. I am a mom to 5, struggling to loose the last 20 lbs. My husband and I did whole30 2 years ago and I only made it 10 days. The lack of simple and tasty recipes were hard to find. But I feel like I have a secret weapon now- YOUR BLOG to help me rock it out to the 30 day mark!!!

    Seriously beyond giddy right now!! So glad I stumbled upon your page through Chow Stalker.

    HUGE BLESSINGS to you!!!

    • says

      Wow, what an amazing thing to wake up to and read first thing in the morning! This sure will start your day right! Thank you so very much for all your kind words, Jen, that alone makes every single hour spent working on this site more than worth it. I seriously should have your comment printed and framed so I can read it on those days when I’m not really feeling it, you know…

      And so glad to hear that you decided to give the Whole30 another go. If it can make your life easier still, I have created a board where I pin all of my Whole30 compliant recipes. You can find it right here: http://pinterest.com/healthyyyfoodie/thf-whole30-compliant-recipes/

      And if you ever need support or inspiration, don’t hesitate to reach out to me! It’ll be a pleasure to help you in any way I can!

      You can do this!!!! :)

  16. Chris says

    Your transformation is incredible!!! Thank you for finding the courage to share your story in such detail with all of us, very inspiring. I absolutely love the story about your daughter and her picture to you, so supportive of her. What you’ve managed to achieve with your transformation & this blog is truly amazing! Your photos in your recipes are absolutely gorgeous! They look like an insert in a magazine. What type of camera/editing software do you use? I want to eat some of them right off of my computer screen lol. My husband encouraged me to try CrossFit and I absolutely love it. It definitely pushes you and gives you great results, definitely worth the try 😉

    • says

      Ah, thank you so much for all your kind words, Chris, I truly appreciate them! I don’t use any high tech equipment, really: your standard Canon Rebel equipped with a fixed 50mm lens. I think it’s my passion for food that does most of the work! 😉

      And funny thing is I was sure I had updated this page to add that I had finally started CrossFit. I’ve been doing it for over 6 weeks now and ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!

      Guess I’ll have to post an update soon! :)

    • says

      Ah, thank you so much for all your kind words, Chris, I truly appreciate them! I don’t use any high tech equipment, really: your standard Canon Rebel equipped with a fixed 50mm lens. I think it’s my passion for food that does most of the work! 😉

      And funny thing is I was sure I had updated this page to add that I had finally started CrossFit. I’ve been doing it for over 6 weeks now and ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!

      Guess I’ll have to post an update soon! :)

  17. Kim says

    Thank you Sonia for being my inspiration! As many others did, I stumbled upon your site three days ago and spent time browsing and reading your story. Your before pictures are so similar to what I look like right now, it is uncanny and your current pictures are where I aim to be. After many years of “trying”, “starting” and never sticking to it, you have motivated me! Yesterday morning I did a kettlebell workout and this morning my clothes hanger aka elliptical actually got a workout :) Thank you again!

  18. Barbara George says

    Don’t know how I stumbled onto your blog but so glad I did. I’ve been a Paleo devoutee for two years now and my weight seems about right for me (5’5″ and 125 lbs.) In the winter, hubby and I escape from Canada and stay 5 months in Florida where a girlfriend and I alternate speedwalking 5 miles one day and bicycling 12 miles the next. I golf and garden in between and I don’t like gyms so strength training is definitely lacking but the pics of your 6-pack are SO inspirational! Any ideas pour moi, svp?


    • says

      Unfortunately, Barbara, you can’t develop muscle mass without some kind of strength / resistance training. And as far as abs are concerned, you need to add plenty of core exercises to your training regimen… so again, resistance and strength. Looks like there’s no way around it! 😉

  19. Leo says

    I primarily would like to say a bit thank you for your blog, I stumbled upon it quite accidentally and was really intrigued by the amazing paleo recipes that you have (may I say the ones I’ve tried so far are absolutely heavenly!).

    Your story is very inspirational, way to go and congratulations on having achieved so much! It’s so hard to change one’s life so drastically and it’s very impressive that you have done so! It’s also amazing that you are inspiring so many people through your blog.

    • says

      Oh, thank you so much for your kind words, Leo, I’m seriously flushed right now! You are a true gem, really! Thank you! 😀

      Glad you liked the recipes you happened to try, too! Might I ask which ones they are? I’m curious…

  20. Alysia says

    First I’d like to say how incredible your story is! I felt so inspired as looking through your blog. It’s quite impressive what you have managed to turn it into! I have a small blog of my own, but it is nothing like this. Reading your posts and reading about your transformation has really inspired me to do more to change my lifestyle. I’m curious, do you use wordpress or tumblr for your posts? And how do you come up with so many great recipes?! I can’t wait to try some of these! Your pictures are amazing as well. Awesome job, keep posting!

    • says

      Thanks much for your kind words, Alysia, I truly appreciate them! You know, every blog has to start small. The key, just as with healthy living and life transformations, is to persevere and keep at it! This place started as a very simple Tumblr blog, where I would basically only post a picture of what I’d had for dinner that day. Then I started adding recipes, so I could replicate those same dishes later down the road. Then, as the place grew, I decided to move to WordPress. Best decision ever. As for coming up with the recipes, I find the more I cook, the more ideas I get. I dunno, the inspiration just comes to me naturally. I’m a true passionate, I guess… :)

  21. Alysia says

    Is WordPress really that much better? I really feel like I’m missing something now with my account on tumblr. How did you turn your blog into the wonderful site that it is today- did u hire a web designer? Oh, and I tried your most recent post for Cauliflower Crust pizza. It was amazing! Your pictures are works of art on their own- if something doesn’t look appetizing then it’s discouraging. Thank you for your response. Again, awesome job. Keep posting!

    • says

      I never really considered Tumblr to be a true blogging platform, to be honest. I haven’t seriously used it in a long while, but from what I can remember, it is extremely limited in terms of what it has to offer. If you are serious about blogging, I say you should definitely move to WordPress. And yes, I did eventually hire a web designer, but you can get extremely nice layouts using the WordPress themes that are available out there.

      Glad you liked the cauliflower crust. Isn’t it the best? LOVE my cauliflower pizza now! :) And again, thank you for your amazingly kind words. You are simply awesome!

  22. Bob says

    Wow! Having got that off my chest, I’m so glad to have found your site.
    Your way may be just what I need and will give it a go.
    Within the last 4 years have reduced by 27kg. As with yourself similar changes to eating, drinking, exercise and lifestyle in general. Have plateaued in weight and need something for the last 15kg. Can totally relate to what you have done and where I will head to.
    Thanks for the insight and honesty
    Regards Bob

  23. Melissa says

    Sonia, I love your recipes, stories and blog. It’s quite obvious that your writing comes from the heart and shows your passion. I’ve done the Whole30, P90X and have set similar goals. I hit a wall with motivation, however, and end up totally slacking on the workouts. I used the hectic schedule excuse, as I work long hours and attend classes online.
    Do you have any tips on staying motivated, designing a schedule to fit in workouts, cooking and meal prep/planning?

    • says

      Thank you so much for your kind words, Melissa, and kudos to you for having set some health and fitness goal for yourself.

      About lacking motivation to work out, believe it or not, I still have to fight with my brains to get it done most of the time. I hate working out, but I know it’s good for me. So I made it a non-negotiable part of my schedule, much like eating, showering or brushing my teeth. No matter how loaded my schedule is with all kinds of other stuff, my workout is always a priority. I plan and work around it, always. The only valid excuse to skip a workout for me is illness or injury.

      As for prepping meals, it’s real easy for me since I’m only cooking and planning for myself, but still, I tend to make big batches of things like roasts, stews, salads and sides on the weekends to last me all week.

      Hope this helps a bit, and whatever you do, don’t give up, always keep walking forward! :)

  24. Sherie Rodrigues says

    Hello Sonia. I just wanted to say, WOW. you go girlfriend. You should be very proud of yourself. Also your photos are as lovely as your recipes. I have just found Paleo and your very professional humbling site will be my favourite. Luv Ya

    • says

      Awww, thank you so much, Sherie, that is so unbelievably nice of you to say! Glad to hear you like my recipes and that they will be an inspiration to you as you journey into the Paleo world! Stick around, as I’ve got many, MANY more coming! 😀

  25. Sylvie says

    From June 12 to April 13 I lost 80 pounds. I was 51 and in very bad shape, my doctor told me I was very close to have diabetes, I could barely climb stairs, my hips and knees were hurting to much, I had asthma. I completely change my eating habits for good, diets don’t work. I started walking and swimming. After such a dramatic weight loss, I to had skin on my belly and decided to have it removed, not everyone approved, but it was really bothering me to have done all these changes and still not happy with myself. I had the surgery in April 13, a week after I was rushed to the hospital with flesh eating bacteria. I had 6 more surgeries, two weeks in intensive care, a month total in the hospital. I came home with a big hole on my belly. I took me 4 months to recover physically. I now have this horrible scar and nerve damage on my belly,hip and leg. I am still eating well and going to the gym 3 times a week. Many people think I should regret having the surgery but I don’t, I was just not lucky I guess. Its been 10 months and I am probably not over all the emotional consequences, but I am glad that it did not affect the choices I made for myself about my health. Thank you for sharing your experience it help me talk about mine. I will surely try your recipes. You photos are amazing.

  26. Christy says

    Congratulations on your transformation! You look great, very healthy. I just spent close to two hours browsing your recipes. I’m super excited to try many!!! Thanks for all you do!

  27. Carol says

    I just happen to stumble on your website, saw a mayo recipe somewhere and it led me here. Anyway, I am 57 and just starting my journey to eat healthy and exercise and I need to drop about 80 lbs. This is my second week and I am down 3.8 lbs…hoping that this will be the continuing trend. I want to be healthier and happier with myself as I approach retirement in a few years! I owe that to myself! Anyway, just wanted to tell you that your story inspires me and I see through you…it CAN be done! You look fabulous and I am so happy for you! Thank you for sharing your story and your pictures with me. I’m not very literate when it comes to paleo style eating, so I’ll definitely need to study up on that. Like I said…I’m brand new at this. It used to be so easy to lose weight and get fit when I was younger…not any more. And it is truly a lifestyle choice, not a diet! I hate that word! They don’t work! Anyway, just want to say thanks.

    • says

      There is no right time to start, Carol, and now is just as good a time as any. I so wish I had started at 20, but I’m still happy that I did when I did… Congratulations to you for taking command of your health and taking action to drop the extra weight. If you’re just new to the paleo lifestyle but are interested in finding out more, might I suggest you give the Whole30 program a try? It might seem a little hard, I admit, but it’s so very well worth it.

  28. Patricia says

    Thank you for sharing this story. I stopped in for the coconut butter recipe (going to try it in bread, since I can’t use butter/margarine) but you’ve inspired me from this post to keep pushing myself in the fat-loss department. I’d love to read about your experience removing the excess skin – I know that after I loose the weight and have a kid or two, it’s something I’d like to do if I need it.

  29. says

    I am on day #2 of a VERY determined lifestyle change. I’ve attempted this in the past but have always gone back to old habits….I’m also a recovering alcoholic and suspect that I have been giving myself permission to fail in the eating/working out regard. Thank you for putting yourself out there, I’m larger than your beginning photos and am taking heart that it IS possible for me to do this

    • says

      It IS very possible indeed for you to do this, Julie. One day at a time, one STEP at a time… If you were able to quit drinking, there isn’t ANYTHING that you can not do. Eating healthy and staying active is fairly easy in comparison. Just make sure you make the changes durable… and if you need help and support along the way, you know where to find me! :)

  30. Phil says


    Discovered your blog a few days ago and I’m pretty blown away with your story. Congrats ! You’re the living proof that with strong will, we can all achieve great things.

    Your recipes are all very tempting and I can’t wait to try them out.

    Cheers from France !

    • says

      Merci énormément, Phil, I truly appreciate your kind words! And if you ever get to trying any of my recipes, please let me know how they turned out for you. And if you every have any questions, please, don’t ever hesitate to ask. I’m never too far away from the computer! :)

  31. Aimée says

    Querida Sonia:

    Leo tu historia y parece que estoy leyendo mi vida y viendo mis fotos a mis 35 años, justo estoy comenzando este viaje y tu me inspiras.

    Te veo a los 40 mas hermosa, feliz, saluble, plena y me animas porque quiero verme como tu.

    Quiero ser tu invitada en este viaje así que, tienes una nueva admiradora y te ire poniendo al tanto de mis avances.

    Cariños desde la ciudad de mexico

    Dear Sonia:

    I read your story and it looks like I’m reading my life and my relationship with food, hate and love to eat diet. I am 35 years old and it was time to focus on my health and not only me but. I see your picture and I see myself, I’m starting this journey and find is just the tool you need to accomplish.

    See you at the 40 most beautiful, happy, saluble, fully and finally visualize how I want to see in 5 years, like you.

    I want to be your guest on this trip so that you have a new fan and I’ll put you abreast of my progress.

    Affections from mexico city

    • says

      Aimée, thank you, thank you, thank you! What beautiful words those are, you are a true angel my dear and are more than welcome to walk beside me on this journey to health. It’ll be a real honor for me to travel this path with you. <3

  32. says


    I came across your blog in a search for nut butter recipes as I am in a crazy nut butter faze. HOLY COW did I hit the jackpot with you… and then I got curious. Your posts were fun to read and your photos were beautiful, you are the type of blogger I like to find. And then I read your story, and what a story it is. Congratulations! I too had my own journey, after 3 babies and some auto-immune issues that tried to kill me in my 20’s I hit my 30’s at 250lbs. Yikes! I studied nutrition and joined a gym and lost 100lbs over the course of a year, it felt amazing. I had always struggled with my weight and have major food issues and even though I had lost the weight I still didn’t feel “thin”. I maintained that weightloss but struggled with finding “me”. At 34 I found myself a divorced single mother of 3 little girls. I remarried 2 years later and moved states, changed careers and found myself gaining weight again. This January I topped out at 190lbs and realized something needed to change. I discovered an Arbonne program similar to your Whole 30, I got rid of Dairy, Soy, Sugar, Alcohol, Coffee and a lot of other junk and have now lost 35lbs and I’m still going and quite honestly happier than ever. I turn 40 in a little over a month and it feels so good to have finally found my happy place. So happy to have found you!

    • says

      Wow, good for you, Aimee! I think that finding your happy place really is the key to making the new lifestyle durable and sustainable. It looks like you finally managed to find something that works for you. Thank you so much for your amazing feedback and testimony, reading it nearly brought tears to my eyes. I’m happy you have found me too, and I hope you find much inspiration on my site to support you even further in your journey.

      As for the nut butters, always be careful around them. Some of my creations are pure evil, I tell you! But they sure make for an amazing treat. 😉

      Best of luck to you, Aimee. You totally got this! :)

  33. Donna says

    Sonia, what a beautiful story, and I’m so honored to read it. I’ve been wanting to have my excess skin removed also, and I’ve felt shame around wanting that, except that I have worked hard and consistently to be the me I am now, and why should it be marred by what is in reality, a voice in my head? so you have helped me immensely, not to mention all the ways you’ve helped me already with your FABULOUS recipes! Thank you for being you and sharing it with the world!

    • says

      I so totally hear you, Donna. I was the same. I felt ashamed, I felt like a failure for wanting to use cosmetic surgery to fix my body. But I eventually came to peace with the fact that there was nothing I could ever do about that unsightly skin and that the mere fact that there was actually skin to remove in the first place basically meant “SUCCESS” because if I hadn’t taken the necessary steps and done the right things, then there would still have been a whole bunch of fat where that loose skin now was. Besides, I hated my reflection in the mirror so much, I only had 2 options: have the skin remove or gain the fat back to fill it up and tone it some. The latter was not really an option, so… there was but one thing left for me to do. To this day, I think this has been one of the best decisions of my life.

      If you want to have that same procedure done, Donna, I strongly encourage you to do so. Find a good surgeon and gain your beautiful body back. It’ll boost your confidence and give you what you need to keep going forward on this journey to health.

      And thank YOU for your beautiful testimony. I’m so happy to hear that I’ve helped and inspired you. If you ever need anything, please don’t hesitate to ask! I’m never too far from this computer screen… :)

      Stay strong, my friend, and chin up!

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