I Lost 40 Pounds by Eating More — and Working Out Less

One woman's transformation story.

Photographs courtesy Kara Byler.

Changing your body takes hard work, persistence, and dedication. Here’s one Philadelphian’s transformation story. Want to share yours? Email ccunningham@phillymag.com.

Who: Kara D’Onofrio Byler, 37, mother of two from Medford, New Jersey

Starting weight: 173

Ending weight: 133

How long it took: Approximately nine months

Why I wanted to change: “I decided I wanted to make a real change at the end of March 2017.  At an appointment with my primary care physician, I told her I had been walking 12 miles a week on the treadmill as well as some strength training but the number on the scale never changed. She basically responded that working out is good for you but has little to do with actually losing weight. For women, it is all about food. She suggested I see a nutritionist.  Shortly after, my sister recommended OnPoint Nutrition. After seeing her immediate results and knowing I needed a change in my diet after two pregnancies, I signed myself up.”

How I changed my diet: “I am now eating more food each day, but the right types of food — and, most importantly, in the right proportions. I can still eat my ice cream, pasta, and bread without guilt, but in the right amounts. I enjoy and crave vegetables more than ever before and I have less of an (to zero) interest in fried foods.  I do not eat now because it is in front of me, my kids are eating it and they did not finish, or I have had a rough day and just want to sit on the couch and drink wine or eat ice cream.

“Going out to restaurants is still fun, but now I leave comfortably full and not regretting my meal.  I have leftovers for the next day, and I enjoy them just as much as eating the food out. I crave healthier foods now instead of the opposite. I have a healthy relationship with food now — not one dictated by convenience, lack of time, or emotions.”

How I changed my exercise plan: “Admittedly, working out is where I need the most room for improvement. I spent the summer pushing two kids (70 pounds) in a stroller on the boardwalk almost every day. Once fall came, however, it was really hard to find the time with our new schedules. I was still losing weight though, so I did not prioritize it.  Now that life has normalized a bit and I have two mornings kid-free, I plan on starting back again with cardio and Pilates.”

“I have a healthy relationship with food now — not one dictated by convenience, lack of time, or emotions.”

What else changed: “What has changed the most, aside from the 40 pounds, is my confidence has increased exponentially. I am now able, after two pregnancies, to wear my favorite designer dresses that I was wearing ten to 12 years ago.  I am in pictures now all the time with my kids, instead of just taking them. I never wanted to be in front of the camera before! I have more energy even though I work out less. I am much happier.”

What I’m most proud of: “That I was able to lose all this weight while we were going through major life changes.  We relocated to New Jersey from Maryland this summer. We lived at the beach until our house was ready and then once we moved, we spent August traveling including a vacation in Disney World.  With all the upheaval, meals out, inconsistent schedules, and holidays, I was able to maintain the program under every circumstance — still losing weight or maintaining my current one.”

Photographs courtesy Kara Byler.

The hardest part: “The hardest part of the transformation was probably the beginning when I had to readjust my diet, make the time for meal planning and eating (instead of just picking at what my kids didn’t eat for lunch). It is second nature now, but at first, it felt a bit all-consuming: the portioning, planning, thinking before breakfast what you are going to eat the rest of the day, writing everything down and not wanting to go out to eat because you could not control as much what was in the food. However, OnPoint served as a wonderful support system.”

What I want everyone to know: “I am never hungry, and eat more in a day than I have ever eaten before. [My weight] is not only pre-two pregnancies but also ten pounds under my wedding weight. I was able to accomplish this with lots of life changes and without a consistent workout schedule, so it is possible under almost any circumstances to lose weight, and I am a testament to that.  It all starts and ends with what you put in your mouth.”

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