Like a lot of moms, Danielle Rivoli always put her family first. In 2018, after a few years staying home with her kids — following a career in corporate sales — the Long Island, New York, resident realized something had to give.
“I was taking care of everyone else and putting my health last,” she says, noting she felt exhausted and rundown all the time. “I knew I needed to make a change.” So, like countless other people do in January, she made a resolution to prioritize her health. And while many resolutions are known to fail, in her case, the effort stuck. Rivoli lost about 50 pounds over the next year, dropping from 180 to 130 pounds, and she’s kept it off ever since.
Before that fateful January, Rivoli always made sure her kids enjoyed balanced meals, but she didn’t take the same care of her own diet. “I was in basic survival mode, which a lot of moms go through, and I was just trying to get by each day.” She’d make homemade baby food for her kids, but then she’d resort to Goldfish crackers and takeout for her meals. When she had more time to cook, she’d turn to the comforting pastas (loaded with cheese) she grew up eating in her Italian household.
“I knew I needed a turnaround in my lifestyle,” says Rivoli, now 34. “My goal was simply to take better care of myself and feel better.” She began researching calorie intake and macronutrients, and quickly learned she could track both with MyFitnessPal. She began to log her meals with the app and realized she was eating too many unnecessary calories from small things like snack foods and coffee creamer. She also used the app to scan food labels and makeover her grocery list, and then cooked the recipes on the MyFitnessPal blog that caught her eye.
Today, Rivoli fuels her body with the nutrients she needs, noting she now feels energized and healthy. She turns to foods like eggs, yogurt parfaits, sandwiches and salads, and her snacks are mostly fruits and vegetables. She cooks dinner each night for her two young girls and her husband, who lost 30 pounds of his own.
As her eating improved, Rivoli also found a new love for fitness. These days, she works out 5–6 times per week, usually mixing two cardio days into a regimen focused on strength training. She even turned her fitness affinity into a job, now working as an NASM Certified Personal Trainer and nutrition coach. She shares her passion on social media, where she’s amassed more than 75,000 Instagram followers to date.
Beyond shedding pounds and regaining her energy, Rivoli says the best part of her journey has been getting to help others achieve similar success. “I get lots of questions from clients and on social media about how to start and stay motivated,” she says. “The best advice I can give is that there’s never going to be a perfect time to start — you just need to do it.” She admits she can’t give 100% every day, but she shows up and doesn’t quit. “I don’t feel motivated all the time; the routine is what keeps me going.”
CLICK TO TWEET THIS ARTICLE > Danielle used @myfitnesspal to track calories and macros, losing 50 pounds in one year. #myfitnesspal
Rivoli also points out diet and fitness don’t have to be black and white. She didn’t cut out her favorite foods or do anything drastic. Instead, she aimed for balance and moderation. Weight loss was a result of her efforts, but even more rewarding is that she became a better mom and spouse when she started taking care of herself.
“I thought putting everyone else first was what’s required from this role, but now I know better,” she explains. “Making sure I’m healthy and happy and taking breaks to work out and fuel properly isn’t selfish — it’s what you need to do to be there for yourself and your people.”
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