Maria, Digital + Studio, Lost 32 lb*
*People following the WW program can expect to lose 1-2 pounds/week. Maria, Wellness Guide, lost weight on a prior program and is continuing on WW FreestyleTM. Watch Maria's journey of getting healthy and experiencing life like never before in the video below.
In Maria’s words:
As a stay-at-home mom for almost 30 years, my life revolved around my three kids. After they matured and moved out, I felt lost. In 2015, my husband, Jody, and I decided to downsize from our five-bedroom house, and move to a small apartment in Marina del Rey, CA. We wanted to spend more time taking care of ourselves, and we hoped to adopt a more active lifestyle.
Assessing my life
My habits weren’t the healthiest — I found that I was eating out of boredom or stress, and when my mother died in 2016, I fell into a depression and put on weight. About six months later, a friend who was on WW showed me the app. I thought it was marvelous, so I joined, too. I quickly became active on Connect. It’s a daily motivation for me. I’ve built a little tribe of people; our journeys bind us together. We can talk about what we’re eating, how we’re moving, and how we’re feeling about our week.
We moved to the marina for the lifestyle. Everyone was so active and friendly, and the beautiful weather was calling us. Once I learned how to eat better, I started living my best life. Since moving here, Jody and I have reconnected. We go to the gym together every day; we go on little adventures over the weekend. We make decisions with just the two of us in mind.
Stick it in the air fryer
My family and I love fried foods, so it was natural for us to get an air fryer. I hardly have to use any oil to get food crispy. We especially love to use the air fryer to make one of our Filipino favorites, lumpia, a Filipino egg roll. Many Filipino foods are cooked in oil, but I’ve created a lightened version using the air fryer. Another Filipino recipe that my mom passed down to me: Filipino barbecue! [Editor’s note: Snag Maria’s two recipes below!]
How Maria’s success with WW has improved her life
More time on my hands
We’ve traveled to the island of Kauai in Hawaii four times. Through those trips, I’ve fallen in love with the beautiful sound of the ukulele. Once I had more time, I learned how to play. I’ve also been drawing since I was a young girl. I stopped when I had kids, and I picked it up again last year. I recently started urban sketching — you go outside and sketch what you see! People have been kind enough to tell me that I’m talented, but I just love to draw and I do it a lot. And I think that’s what creates talent. If you keep doing something and you don’t quit, you’ll be good at it.
My kids were supportive of our downsizing. They told me, “We’re good. It’s your time now.” I needed that approval from them; it helped me move forward. I’ve discovered this confidence that I’ve never had before. I’ve always been shy—even an introvert. But recently, I was a background actress for a few gigs, and I just got hired as a Wellness Guide at my WW Studio! I’m living my best life at the marina.
Maria’s lightened Filipino recipes
2 lb chicken tenders
½ c reduced sodium soy sauce
½ c rice wine vinegar
1/3 c brown sugar
1 garlic bulb (yup, the whole thing!)
1 tsp black pepper
Combine soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, brown sugar, garlic, and black pepper in a bowl. Place chicken tenders in soy sauce mixture and let marinate for at least four hours (all day is best). Skewer the chicken and grill. Serves 6. SmartPoints value: 2
Air-fried lumpia (Filipino egg rolls)
½ lb lean ground chicken
½ lb raw shrimp, chopped
½ c water chestnuts, chopped
½ c green onion, chopped
1/3 c carrots, shredded
4 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste
Small wonton wrappers
1 egg, beaten
Coconut oil spray
Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Place 1 tablespoon of filling in the middle of a wrapper. Dip your finger in the beaten egg and run it along two sides of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper over to the other side creating a triangle. Press together to seal. Lightly spray with coconut oil. Place wontons in a layer in your air fryer for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. You can eat them plain or serve with sweet and sour sauce. Serving size: 3. SmartPoints value: 3