Ask Jaci what has helped her lose weight, and she rattles off the list:
- Cutting down on fast food.
- Learning to control portion sizes.
- Exercising 5 days a week.
- Eating breakfast. "I never used to eat breakfast. I had to force myself to eat breakfast. It gives your body fuel. I used to go without breakfast and lunch and then at dinner, I would just gorge. I'd be starving."
- Eating her favorite foods. If she has a craving for french fries, she will eat a small portion or get a kid's meal if she is at a fast-food place.
- Eating her vegetables. "I love all vegetables."
- Being choosy when eating out. "I'll look for something that is low in fat. I try to eat half of it and box half of it." Sometimes she will share a meal.
- Eating fish. "I never used to like fish before." She thinks fish that she had before may not have been fresh or cooked right.
- Having healthy snacks. "I find that really helps. I'll have an apple or almonds."
- Writing down everything she eats.
- Cooking at home as much as possible. "We do a lot of vegetables. Asparagus has been a big thing with us. The kids like it. My husband likes it. Grilled stuff-chicken. We grill a lot of vegetables."
The key to success
What has been most important to Jaci's success?
"Sticking with it. I know people who have lost 100 pounds in a year," she says. "It's taken me 4 years, and I feel like I know how to do it and I know what I'm doing. I feel like I have a better chance of keeping it off.
"I think if you lose weight too fast, it could come back just as quickly as you lost it." She thinks people who do crash dieting haven't had "the chance to really learn what their body needs and doesn't need. I think if you lose weight too quickly, for one, you're not doing something right, something healthy.
"A lot of people I hear, they cut stuff out of their diet in order to lose weight. I don't think that's healthy. I don't think you can always keep something out of your diet-like a food group or a type of food. If you want a hamburger and french fries, have a hamburger and french fries. Just have it in moderation.
"I don't like to say I can't have something. That's when I feel it's more a diet than a lifestyle change."