Volume 8 Issue 1 Spring-Summer 2023
By Jonathan Hankins-Hull
eet two “Balanced Babes” Bridget Shinn and her daughter Hillary Downey who, have recently been in the national spotlight for their successful weight loss program called, Balance by Hillary. Their struggles and stories are those of countless other women. In their Up In Your Business (UIYB) interview Bridget refers to herself as a lifelong “chronic fad dieter”, while daughter Hilary’s weight gain didn’t come until after her first pregnancy.
Downey said, “I was a cheerleader growing up, but in my adult life, I was sedentary. I lived on fast food, coca cola, and energy drinks, and I was actually a chain smoker prior to getting pregnant,” she admitted.
Like many women, Hilary put on unwanted weight during her first pregnancy. "I gained about 70 lbs and thought it's just baby weight, it will come right off." But instead, the weight gain continued. Then one day, as she was walking into the grocery store, something happened that she would never forget. Her “aha” moment.
“I was carrying my son in his baby carrier, and I was so wind-ed by the time I made it inside that I had to sit down to catch my breath,” said Downey. She thought to herself “This is no way to live. I’m 23 and he’s going to be running around one day and I’m going to have to catch him.” She knew then something had to change.
Turning to the internet for answers, Hilary found mostly “fad diets” of deprivation to get weight loss results. “I love food and there was just no way I could do that,” said Downey. Then she came across a post about the wonders of macronutrients and discovered the app “Lose It” for tracking her eating habits. “Apparently, you could count your macros and eat any-thing you wanted, so long as you stayed within your macro numbers,” explained Downey.
Eager, she started right away. Soon Hilary was having noticeable success with little food sacrifices. Her mother took notice.
For a long time, Downey’s moth-er, Bridget Shinn, struggled with her weight. She had fallen into the fad diet trap and even had two unsuccessful weight loss surgeries. After a serious health scare, Bridget turned to her daughter for help.
Downey told her mother all about macronutrients and helped her calculate her macro numbers. Progress was slow but steady. For exercise they began walking together and eventually, Shinn even joined a gym. Now, at age 63, Mom is healthier and happier than ever, all without having to give up any of the things she loves. She eats chocolate, drinks wine, and with her newfound energy has even become a certified Zumba instructor!
So, what are macronutrients? “Macronutrients are the proteins, carbohydrates, and fats that add up to your caloric target,” explained Downey. Think of them as the ‘ingredients’ that make up calories. “Every person has individualized macro numbers,” Downey said. These numbers are calculated using your anthropometric measurements - your height, weight, age, and lifestyle. “Basically, you figure the number of calories needed to maintain your weight, then you subtract a bit,” she said. This puts you in a caloric deficit, which leads to - you guessed it – weight loss.
Over the next two years, Bridget lost over 100 lbs by following her daughter’s advice and counting her daily macronutrients. “Being a foodie, I love going out to eat and I love cooking, it’s my love language for people,” Downey said. “Before, all the diets I tried came from a point of deprivation. The focus was always on what I could not have, I never focused on what I could have,” she added. But with macro counting, everything was on the table.
Most importantly, her weight loss stemmed from a place of love. “I loved myself enough that I wanted to feel good in my body. I wanted to be an example for my son and show him that you could have a healthy relationship with food,” Downey shared.
Now as a certified nutritionist Hilary Downey shares her experience, knowledge, and education with the world on her website Balance by Hillary.
Though Hillary and Bridget’s struggle with weight loss is common their methodology is different. So much so that they have been featured on the cover of Women’s World, featured on Today’s Show website, in People Magazine, and on Access Hollywood.
“It is so important to have support, and our community is for everyone,” said Downey, adding “There are a million and one weight loss programs out there, but we truly care about our customers, and I hope that shows. I'm here to show you a new way.”
Become a Balance Babe at https://hilarybalancedlifestyle.com
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