Copperfield woman enjoys new image
Ulanda Celestine had lost 50 pounds before, but this time she wanted to slim down without depriving her sweet tooth.
"I like pie, cake, cookies, candy," she confessed, "but I can't afford the extra calories."
Celestine, 36, found a solution by adding Tasti D-Lite, a frozen treat, to her weight loss plan.
Enjoying it as a daily afternoon snack, she lost 52 pounds between November 2009 and May 2010, and another eight pounds since May.
This year, when Tasti D-Lite launched a nationwide, yearlong contest to find people whose healthy habits, including eating Tasti D-Lite, have improved their life and health, Celestine entered her story on the company's website and was selected as the face of the Tasti Healthy Habit Search campaign for May.
Her photo and winning story were posted on the company's website in May, as well as at Tasti D-Lite centers.
Each monthly winner receives $1,000 cash, plus a Tasti TreatCard valued at $155, for a month of free Tasti products, said Jim Amos, company CEO.
Amos said that Celestine was chosen over hundreds of other entries.
"Ulanda's story is relatable for our customers because it's a message we hear over and over: ' How do I satisfy my sweet tooth and still maintain a healthier diet and lifestyle?' Tasti has been the answer for these people and has been one part of helping them lead healthier, happier lives," Amos said.
Celestine said she at one point gained about 50 pounds over a six-month period.
However, she lost them through dieting and sticking to an exercise program that began with recumbent cycling and escalated to two-hour Jazzercise sessions.
Then she gained about 25 pounds during her second pregnancy, eating more and exercising less, and added another 25 in the next year.
In late 2009, she decided, "It was time to buckle down and ramp myself up."
In addition to wanting a more slim appearance, Celestine felt that losing weight would reduce pain she suffered from fibromyalgia.
Her resolve to lose weight coincided with the grand opening of a Tasti D-Lite store at 1707 Post Oak Blvd. Although Celestine lives in Copperfield, she works as a technical manager in the Uptown business district; so she had noticed the store as it was being constructed and was attracted by signs advertising more than 100 flavors.
"I had tried similar products, but they were too tart," she said. "These have a good taste. Most flavors are under 70 calories per serving, so fresh fruit toppings only adds five to 10 calories. That's still under 100."
Celestine is religious about counting calories.
"For me, it has become similar to checking email," she explained. "I have an app on my iPhone, and I record everything, except on weekends."
She's also resumed exercising.
"The main thing I want to stress to people is that it's a lifestyle change," she said.
"I have my cheat days. I love Mexican food; so I have it once a week. Then I have to work harder to work it off."
Celestine may be contacted for advice and encouragement at her Facebook page, Fit Fab & Focused at www.facebook.com/pages/Fit-Fab-Focused/128046663919499.
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