Start small, win big
Dallas Matheson’s small changes add up to big differences.
When Dallas Matheson saw herself in a family photo, she realized as a single mother she needed to lose a few pounds and get into a healthy routine for her family. She didn’t want to make it seem like a big deal for the kids, so she made small changes for the entire family. They became more active as a family and started to eat healthier. So far, Dallas has lost over 100 pounds. As a reward, she treated herself to a new look, cutting 16 inches off her hair.
You’ve had impressive results. What is your exercise routine?
I’m on a budget and have two kids, so I work out at home. I walk a lot, and I bike and swim with my kids. When I started getting in shape, I did a lot of 30-day challenges online, and I incorporate some of those methods in my workouts. I get up early and do a 30-minute workout that includes dumbbells, resistance bands, and old-fashioned exercises like sit-ups and push-ups. I also have a stationary bike and try to do 5 miles a day.
How much do you walk?
My goal is 6,000 steps, but I normally walk 10,000–12,000. Sunday is our family day, and we get out together and walk to the park or mall, which is 2 miles away. Those days I may walk 20,000 steps.
What are some of the biggest changes you’ve made in your diet?
I drink a gallon of water a day. I use the Fitness Pal app to count calories and try to keep it to 1,500 a day. I always ask myself, “Is it worth it?” I’ve cut out bad carbs, including the good stuff like bread. But I don’t deprive myself totally. If I want chocolate, I eat a little.
How do you help your kids eat healthier?
We haven’t changed our diet a lot: just eating healthier food and watching portion size. I portion out the food before I put it on the table and never tell them to “clean their plates.” If they are still hungry, I tell them to have some water.
How are your children doing?
My son is 12, and my daughter is 14. There’s been a big change in all of us. We’re all more active, and my daughter is doing Junior ROTC in high school.
I always tell them you have to love yourself and that any size is truly beautiful, but you have to be healthy.
What are your goals?
I want to be healthy and to be able to look in the mirror and be happy about what I see.
How do you reward yourself?
I reward myself every time I hit a weight-loss milestone. When I lost 25 pounds, I bought a pair of shoes. At 50 pounds, I got new jeans and a FitBit. When I lost 90 pounds, I got a new look by cutting my waist-length hair to about 3 inches long. When I lost 100 pounds, I rewarded myself with a new phone.
What motivates you?
I want to teach my kids to be healthy. I want to be there for myself first, but for them, too.
What are some tips for others to try?
Keep it simple. Find a reward system that works for you. Remember that one bad day doesn’t mean the whole week has to be bad. You can depend on only one person in the world, and that’s yourself. If you don’t like what’s happening, make a plan and do something about it.