Cindy with her group, Prescription: Action in January 2012.
Six months ago, Cindy Sirois was your typical couch potato.
"At night, I would sit and watch The Biggest Loser with my chips and my pop," she says.
Aside from a bit of skiing, Cindy pretty much did nothing. But in January, everything changed. Cindy got rid of the junk food and started exercising. Now she's lost 69 pounds.
It all started with Prescription: Action - an initiative launched by a group of doctors in her hometown of Edmundston, New Brunswick - the Live Right Now Capital of Canada.
As part of the program, Cindy had to log her minutes of physical activity. In the first month, she logged more than 2000 minutes.
From there, Cindy and a group of friends got involved with Live Right Now. Together, they started walking, skiing, skating, snowshoeing - anything to be active.
"Before, my excuse was I don't have time," she says. "But with my friends, it's easier to encourage each other. For me, that's the key to not stopping."
The other key is a change in her eating habits. No greasy food. No chocolate. No salty, sugary snacks.
"I remember telling my husband, 'enjoy that last pop you're having, cause that's it,'" she says. "We don't have junk food in the house anymore, so we don't eat it."
These days, Cindy has three main staples: fruit, vegetables and water. She's not on a diet. She doesn't count calories. She's not following any meal plan. She's just making smarter choices.
Cindy has lost 69 pounds since January 2012.
At one time, Cindy would often skip breakfast. Now, she doesn't go without it.
Mid-morning, she'll have a snack (fruit or nuts). For lunch and dinner, she'll go with salads, veggies, chicken, fish and sometimes potatoes. After dinner, she doesn't have anything, except water.
"I'm the kind of eater, if I have a bag of chips at night, I'll eat the whole bag. And I'd have six glasses of pop a day."
So, does she ever cheat?
If I'm at a get-together or a party, and there's chips, I'll have a few. If there's cake, I'll have a piece," she says. "You don't want to become so extreme, that you go crazy. I have a little bit, and I'm fine."
That's one of the things Cindy has noticed over time. The less junk food you have, the less you crave it.
"The first week or two after I stopped eating it, I had a craving for sugar but now, nothing. If you stick to it, eventually you won't crave it at all."
She says it's the same with exercise; if you stick to it, you'll see results. "When I first started, I thought I had died. The first month was really hard."
But as tough as it was, Cindy kept going. In her first week of exercising, she lost nine pounds. With that, her confidence and self esteem started to grow. Now, she exercises four or five days a week. Tuesdays and Thursdays, she's off to a spinning class during her lunch hour. At home, she's started jogging on her treadmill.
"I started with a rapid walk at first, then eventually tried jogging. I set the timer for 45 minutes and I kept jogging the entire time. Now, I run 5 kilometres, two times a week."
It's not as though Cindy has a lot of time on her hands. As a lawyer and a mother of a five-year-old, she's busy. But she's made exercise part of her routine. Her goal is to lose another 31 pounds.
"I know it will probably be the hardest to lose," she says. "I'm only losing about a pound a week now." But Cindy knows she can get there. Her life has changed so much in the past six months, there's no stopping now.
"It's incredible. I have a lot more energy. I used to just want to sit on the couch. Now, I can go on and on. I feel better and I'm a lot happier."