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Updated: Jul 3

Tanya talks about her weight loss journey

Gina sits down with this powerful duo from Milton, Ontario. Joanna and Brian Hunt will talk about everything that has led to their combined weight loss of 170 pounds. Their journey highlights navigating life after post-concussion syndrome, following the program as a couple, and the influence their new healthy habits have had on their daughter.

Joanna, you’re down almost 100 lbs and Brian, you’re down 70 lbs. Let’s talk about your journeys.

Joanna: I'm Joanna and this is my husband, Brian. This is my fifth round doing the Livy Method. I stumbled upon you on Google, while I was dealing with my post-concussion syndrome. I was seeing a chiropractor and a naturopath and both of them had encouraged me to look more into my gut health. They also encouraged me to try and find a nutritionist or a plan that would help my brain health as well.

I was overweight and was actively trying to lose weight even before my incident where I slipped and fell at the grocery store. Unfortunately, I was dealing with a lot of stomach issues and severe headaches as a result of it.

I went to Dr. Google and decided to look for something local as we are located in the GTA, in Milton, Ontario. You popped up in my search and I started creeping your website and looking through all of the information you provided. I started thinking, maybe I should join your program, as it was almost sold out.

It was the Winter program and I was still hesitant. I wasn’t sure if I should do it and now I regret not joining that first group. Before I joined my first program, I followed along on your social media, making little tweaks from the information that you shared there. I was a hardcore exerciser and I thought “Oh yeah, I am exercising. I can eat however I want because I am exercising!” It was a horrible mentality. Eventually, when it was time to join the next program, I said “Okay, what do I have to lose?”

At that time it was only $60 to join, and I talked to my husband Brian and he said “Go for it!” He didn’t want to be involved yet, and I never pushed for it. I never said, “Hey do you want to do this with me?” Because I just knew that you have to be ready to do that on your own.

I dove right into that first group and I was trying to be perfect. I quickly realized that that wasn't going to work for me. I still enjoyed the little bits and bites here and there, and I've still been successful.

This is my fifth round and I've had a lot of issues throughout the last year and a half, because of your program, a lot of them have been resolved, on top of losing weight.

I have noticed a significant improvement in both my brain health and the inflammation in my body. My doctors are shocked by the improvement in my blood results just by changing what I was eating and by drinking water.

Drinking the water has improved my gut and brain health. My weight loss, obviously that's important, however, it is those non-scale victories that have been life-changing.

I get emotional because I was at a point in my life last year when I didn't think that I was going to be able to get back to work. I didn't think that we were going to be able to live a proper life. I had such bad headaches, and I had such bad stomach issues, I had such bad pains in my body that were just like, “When is this going to resolve?”

I'm so happy to say that it's almost all resolved! I’ve done the work to get me to where I am because of your program. I'm not perfect but that's what is so amazing about the plan. It accounts for those off days and I have still lost weight. I have done so much for myself and because I was doing the things that I was doing, Brian and our daughter Sophia, caught on as well she comes home and asks for her veg snack or she’ll say “Mommy, can I have fruit and cheese for my first snack at school?”

In January, Brian came to me and said, “Can I try this with you?” I'm so happy he did because now it's even better together.

You can’t make someone want to make these changes, they have to come to this decision on their own. Brian, what made you decide to join?

Brian: Watching Joanna make all these small changes in what she was eating and the water she was drinking. I thought maybe I needed to get on this train because I have always struggled with my weight. I figured why not give it a try?

So I kind of just sat in the background and did my first group, and in my second group, once I got into it and saw the changes, I ate a spinach salad every day for however long, and it worked.

To be honest with you, I had never eaten spinach before your program. I had never picked up spinach and eaten it. I ate spinach salad pretty much every day for my dinner for the first three months. My results were showing very quickly. I started picking up foods and eating things I had never had before. And I actually enjoyed it. Then it was a no-brainer, and I said “Okay I want to sign up for the next group! I want to have all the tools I want to have all the things.” It's worked well for both of us and even doing it as a couple just makes it so much easier.


What have been the best non-scale victories you have experienced, Brian?

B: The biggest change I have found is honestly the amount I’ve been sweating. I used to sweat a lot being a bigger person. Now, I still sweat, but not nearly as much. And, eating all those nutrient-rich foods just makes you feel better inside.

When I started working night shifts, it was the first time I've ever worked nights and I was struggling to stay awake. It was a struggle, but drinking the amount of water I drink now, I just feel like the energy is there! I used to drink probably two or three cans of pop a night at work just to say, “This is keeping me awake. It's the sugar, it's the caffeine, etc…” Now I'm lucky if I maybe have one pop every couple of weeks or something. Now, it's like a treat to me, but I don't miss it. Before I was like, “Where's my pop? I need that Coke. I need to have that cold pop.” But now, I just reach for my water! J: He also used to live off of energy drinks. He would have those all the time. He was buying three or four at the gas station every night and he would live off of the energy drinks and it's been months or longer since he's had any!

Ultimately, as we said, we're not perfect. Yes, we could do this quicker and faster. But I think the way we are doing it and the way that we are, you know, still enjoying the bits and bites and enjoying the Traeger and making some things, cookies, once in a while. You know, we’re still enjoying it, but we’re not over-enjoying it. It's just that mindfulness that's sticking, like I said before, if you go to a restaurant or you go out if you want the thing, have it, but have a little bit of it. I feel satisfied just having a bite or two now, whereas before, we used to order pizzas like two or three extra large pizzas. And it's not that we would eat it all in one day, but even eating, you know, pizza every day for two or three days afterwards that adds up as well. Whereas now we'll order one large pizza and we might have a slice. But there's always salad, there's chicken with it, it's just those little changes.

If we go to a restaurant, I'm the queen of looking at the kid's menus now, because if I'm not super hungry, I'll look at the kid's meals, or I only eat about half and take the other half for lunch or whatever. You don't finish it. That's the other thing, food waste!

Coming from a European background, you always keep your food, you finish your plate. My mom is still a food pusher, God I love her, but when I go there, she’s like “Have this, have this!” She's also the one who's always been saying “Watch your weight” in the nicest way possible. So for me now, I'm like “No thank you, Mom.” I've gained the courage, it took me a little bit, but I've gained the courage now to say, no thank you.

Tanya walking after losing weight

Brian, you have been barbecuing while doing the program. How many days in a row have you been barbecuing?

B: We're still currently going and we're on day 841! People always say “What do you do with all that food?” or “Oh, you're eating all that?!” No, usually our neighbours are taken care of quite well. There's a lot of food being passed back and forth.

Sharing is caring and a funny memory came up the other day, I made this massive bowl of party mix like a Chex mix. I took it to all the neighbours and all the neighbours still talk about it to this day. And the one guy says, “I tell all my friends, this guy shows up with this food. He shows up with brisket at my door. Like what kind of neighbour brings you brisket to your door?”

But people see you cooking this massive piece of meat and they think you're sitting there eating the whole thing until it's gone, right?

J: Food brings people together, right? We had a neighbourhood street party for the first time in the summer. Brian put the Treggers in the front and everybody brought food. It was like a potluck with the whole neighbourhood. And after COVID, it was just so needed!

I had little bites and bits but wasn't overfilling my plate and feeling awful after. That's my other biggest takeaway is mindfulness. I always felt that feeling but I didn't acknowledge it. I know that takes a while for some people, but it will eventually come because honestly, that feeling was probably towards the end of the second, almost third round for me.


How do you two continue to stay motivated? And how are you able to see that big picture?

J: It's not easy. Some days I don't see it all the time. I always go back again to your quotes and many things that you say in the lives. One of the biggest things that you say is, “If not this, then what?” For me, I feel like I'm the queen of back on track, I'm the queen of saying BOT for president, right?

I love BOT because weekends, they're just not my jam with the program, okay? I like to have a thing here and there. I've never derailed so badly that I've fallen behind. I know that happens to people as well, and that's fine. But I think the bigger picture is that this is how life is going to be, right? If we want to continue to lose weight and not regain it, we have to understand that the scale is not going to move if I'm going to have a weekend like I did.

And I'm okay with that though because I know that I'm a big believer. And I'm going to get emotional again, God bless my sister. She is the one who told me this. As you know, she passed away, she was a true believer in the 80/20 rule. And 80% of trying to be your best and live your best life and 20% of sometimes that's not going to be how it goes. She said, you know, If you're going to go to a party and it's bedtime for Sophia, it's okay if she stays up an hour later, you know? Like, it's just one of those things, or if you're trying to do a diet and you're not perfect, like, it's okay that you're going to have a day off, right?

And I truly live my life with the 80/20 rule, where I feel like, you know, 80% of the time I try my best. Sometimes I kill it and I’m at 100% but sometimes I'm not and am at 20% because I just had an awful week and can't do it anymore. I know for myself, my health, the end game is I want to continue to feel healthy. And this is making me feel healthy. I've talked about wanting to feel skinny initially when I started this. And yeah, I do want to see myself skinny. I'm not going to lie because I don't know what that feels like. But at the same time, for myself and for Brian's health.

I want to mention cancer…thankfully, we have not been affected directly by cancer, but our family and friends that we know have been affected. We know people who have had breast cancer, colon cancer, and testicular cancer. If you don't take care of your health in general, if you don't check yourself, if you don't do things for yourself, then it's not going to help anybody in the end. If I can say one thing, it's for your health. It's for my health. Take care of yourself. That's the biggest gift that you can give to yourself.

What are your words of wisdom for members following the program with health issues?

J: My advice would be to just keep trying and take it one day at a time. Do the best that you can and find a support system. I'm so lucky he's my rock, he's my amazing support!

Reach out, and lean on the group. There have been times when I've posted in the group, don't be ashamed! If you've fallen off, just get right back at it. There's no timeline, that's the biggest thing. like, you say, you know, you made the three months of the group, but there is no timeline. This is my life moving forward, and I know that I need to do these things. I will also say, seeking out practitioners and taking care of your body and stress overall.

Massage therapy, naturopath, chiropractor, etc… if you have benefits, use them. Just because you're not feeling injured doesn't mean that you can't go and get those treatments. Your body will thank you for those treatments. Epsom salt baths, meditation, taking time for yourself, grabbing a coffee and walking through Winners and just shopping around, you know, the little things that are important for your mental health. Or even barbecuing, whatever it is, right? Doing those little things.

The other thing I want to say is that plateaus are normal. Maintenance in the middle of your journey is so good for the soul because it helps you understand that you have lost a lot of weight, and while you might still have a lot of weight to go, living in that little bit of maintenance and seeing the scale go up and down a little bit, it's okay, it's all part of the process because that's how the end game will eventually be.

So being able to learn and know that that's how life will eventually be with maintenance in the middle of your journey, I found that to be so helpful. That's how my last couple of months have been. There's a rhyme and a reason for everything. Ultimately, when I focus, I can get that scale down, I can keep going, and I know that, but sometimes I don't focus. I have those talks with myself, and I look at the bigger picture. I want just to keep going, and that's the only thing that I could say is, for myself, my family, my friends and my extended family as well, it's just what I can do to be healthy for everybody.

Tanya before and after losing weight

Any final words of encouragement?

J: Time is of the essence, but sometimes our bodies need time. Keep going. We’re not done. There's going to be some time in between the groups and it's the holidays, enjoy those little moments! And if you do want the bits and bites, don't berate yourself, just get back on track!

B: Just don't give up. When that scale moves up a little bit, just know that it's going to drop right past where it was and it's going to go back down again. Just stay on plan, and keep doing as best as you can, it's all going to work out in the end. That's what I've taken from all this!

Take it slowly and it'll all work out.

J: One last thing, a huge non-scale victory for me as a woman is period cramps. The way I eat and drink the water has made a huge difference for me in my cycle and my period. I've gone from literally bedridden cramps to now I don't even realize that it's coming anymore because of the overall way I've been eating, the way I've been taking care of my body, and that in itself is also life-changing. For women who do get their period still, up that water during that time because it flushes out the system and it makes a huge difference. You know, it's so funny because I have nieces who are starting to go through the process, and they’re like Midal, take Midal, everybody's pushing Midal, and that's how it was. Now I keep telling them, drink more water, keep drinking more water, and the last time my one niece was just like, “oh my god, I can't believe how much of a difference that's made!” and I wish somebody told me that when I was a teenager.

Those non-scale victories, less period cramps, sweating less, everything is just It's amazing! You're amazing, Gina. We love you. We preach you all the time.



And, Just for Fun...

What experiences with the Livy Method most helped you build your self-confidence?

J: Small changes add up! Progress over perfection and understanding your mental needs are just aa important. Being able to travel and move my body through walking, going on rollercoasters, not needing seat belt extenders and finding more flexibility in my body’s range of motion, along with improving my gut health for my brain health and reducing daily headaches has allowed me to live a better quality of life thanks to the Livy Method.

What do you think makes life meaningful?

J: Physical and mental health - If you do not take care of yourself physically and mentally, you won’t be able to take care of others as they might need you to. Improving gut health helps brain health and improves the quality of life making it more meaningful.

What does your morning routine look like?

J: I wake up, wash up, talk to my husband before he goes to sleep after night shift, get dressed and ready while getting my daughter also fed and ready for school, drink lemon water and 1L of water in this process, have breakfast, start my work day as I mostly work from home and get my daughter off to the bus stop and back to my desk for the day.

What is your favourite music to listen to?

B: Country Music

What was your favourite thing to eat while following the program?

B: Chicken and Caesar Salad

Tanya looking happy after losing weight with Livy Method

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