She said swapping fad diets for lifestyle changes -- like meal prepping and regular exercise -- has made all the difference in her weight loss journey.
“I can't diet anymore ... I was kinda hitting a rock bottom where I was kind of secret eating and binge eating,” Valentine said.
Valentine takes an hour to an hour and a half on Sundays to make lunches and dinners for the whole week. Her meals usually consist of a protein, vegetables and a small amount of carbs.
Chicken, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, brown rice, quinoa, broccoli, asparagus and brussel sprouts are some of Valentine’s go-to foods.
The past six years haven’t been all meal preps and 5K’s. There’s been a lot of failure too.
“Everybody falls off the wagon, and it's gonna happen a lot - you're gonna fail and fall a ton,” Valentine said. “The most important part is brushing yourself off, getting back up.”
Valentine said it’s important to know yourself and understand what your limits are. For her, she can’t have pizza or potato chips in the house. She calls pizza her “trigger food” because she can’t just have one slice.
Eating clean can be difficult for Valentine, especially because her husband’s favorite snacks are Pizza Rolls and MoonPies.
“A big question I get asked, ‘How hard is that - it's in the house the whole time?’ At first it's really hard because it's what you're used to doing … but for me now I kind of ignore it,” Valentine said. “I don't even want it anymore.”
Valentine said she can pass on junk food “98 percent of the time,” and she always considers whether the treat is worth it. She said she’ll pass on store-bought cookies to be able to eat her grandma’s homemade cookies any day.
She weighs herself everyday for accountability, but she said she’s trying not to let those numbers define her progress. She said she’s focused now on gaining muscle and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
“I feel so much better, all the cliche things people say, more energy, sleep better, skin looks better - all those things are awesome,” Valentine said. “Whenever I don't stick with this healthy lifestyle, I don't feel good.”