Heidi Trelstad had been having a whirlwind few years. In October 2010, she opened her bakery, Chef Sugar's Cakes & Confections, and in May 2011, she was featured on the "Food Network Challenge," a reality TV competition. Through all this, she wasn't paying much attention to herself.
But when she saw herself on TV, she did a double take. And had an epiphany.
"Seeing myself on HD TV made me realize I really need to take better care of myself," said Trelstad, 33.
Although she has struggled with her weight since childhood, she was ready to do something about it. That was in May 2011. Fast-forward to now, and she is proud to say she has lost 126 pounds. That's the equivalent of losing another person.
How did she do it? Change her profession to one with less exposure to calorie-laden goodies? Become an exercise fanatic? Eliminate a major food group form her eating pattern? Take diet pills? Replace meals with smoothies?
"Oh, gosh, no," she says. "I eat tons of food. I eat clean, avoiding processed foods. And each weekend, I allow myself to eat whatever I want."
OK. So, again, how did she drop that much weight?
"I have a healthy diet of lean proteins like chicken, turkey, pork and lean beef with lots of fruits and veggies, grains, nuts, occasionally pasta and bread. And I eat chocolate daily."
Trelstad realized that, while building her bakery, she had fallen into a bad cycle of not eating regular meals throughout the day.
"I was working 12 to 15 hours a day," Trelstad said. "I wouldn't stop to eat until the end of the day. Then my body had gone into starvation mode, and I would overeat everything."
She started eating better and having meals during the day. And she joined a gym.
"From May until September, I started watching what I was eating," she said, "and going to Gold's Gym about four to five days a week."
On that regimen, she lost 45 pounds and was feeling pretty successful. Then Trelstad and her mother took a vacation to Napa Valley in California, where, by chance, she met Brandi Hancock, owner of S.W.E.A.T. Ltd. in Colorado Springs.
"It was sort of creepy being in Napa and bumping into someone from Colorado Springs," she said.
The very fit Hancock told Trelstad about her business.
"Here was this size 2 lady telling me about fitness," Trelstad said. "I didn't think she could understand what real weight loss challenges are about. Then she pulled out a photo of herself when she was a size 24."
Suddenly Trelstad realized she had met her soul mate.
"She suggested I try something new," Trelstad said.
Returning to Colorado Springs, Trelstad, her mom and two other women from the bakery joined a fitness boot camp at Hancock's studio. The boot camp is an eight-week program of working out for one hour two days a week.
"I started Sept. 17, 2012, and lost 78 pounds in a year," she said. "It's not just losing weight that is recorded, it's the measurements. I went from a size 20 to what I am now, a size 4."
Hancock also coached her students about nutrition.
"I learned to feed my body properly," Trelstad said. "I eat 40 percent carbs, 30 percent fat and 30 percent protein."
Trelstad logs her calories from carbs, fat and protein on MyFitnessPal, a free app she downloaded to her smartphone.
"My calorie intake has been 1,250 to 1,595 on the low side and is somewhere between 1,450 and 2,000 if I add in more training time," she said.
She tries to fit in walking the Manitou Incline weekly. She balances the extra need for calories on those days with extra food.
And the numbers prove her choices have worked. Now, 33-year-old Trelstad, at 5 feet 8 inches, is happy to report she is in the normal range, according to BMI charts, for her height and weight.
The Body Mass Index is a simple indicator of the relationship between your height and your weight.
Trelstad doesn't see this as a diet but a lifestyle change.
"I've tried every diet on earth," she said. "Some would cut out carbs.
"I'm a chef, and I want carbs. I've learned that the right carbs fuel the brain. Without carbs, I couldn't think straight. I've adjusted the types of carbs I'm eating in the right proportions."