Shaun Santiago’s weight has been an ongoing battle for almost a decade. It fluctuated for years—he’d lose weight, only to gain it again. Before embarking on his long-term weight care journey with Found, the 48-year-old’s cholesterol was high, and he was pre-diabetic. “I was totally miserable. I couldn’t go running,” he says. “I would go to the park, I would do the couch to 5K. And then I would just give up,” says Santiago. He felt like the odds were against him. After a very candid conversation with his health care practitioner, he realized he needed professional help to find a new approach to sustainable weight loss.
Santiago tried several weight loss programs until he stumbled upon Found on social media. To him, the name felt synonymous with wanting to be found. “I really needed to find Shaun again,” he says.
Since joining Found, he’s lost 34 pounds in three months (!) and has learned a lot about himself and his capabilities.
Here are three pieces of advice Santiago wants to share with those of you going through your own weight care journey:
In order to achieve long-term, sustainable weight care, you need to give yourself the time and space to make lasting behavior changes. For Santiago, this meant fully committing to the process—including the ups and downs. “If anybody thinks that this program is just ‘I’ll take a magic pill, and the weight is going to drop off,’ they are mistaken,” he explains. “You’ve got to commit mentally. You’ve got to commit physically. And you’ve got to commit spiritually. Because it all goes together.”
One of the biggest drivers of Santiago’s success is his commitment to being physically active and moving each day. “There’s not a day that goes by that I cannot exercise. The way I used to feel about fast food—like I needed it every day,” he says. Now Santiago is hooked on exercise and knows how vital movement is for his health, and how good it makes him feel.
Remain mindful during your weight care journey: There are a few things to keep in mind (pun intended). Santiago learned that he needed to be intentional about his food choices and honor his natural hunger and fullness cues during meals. “One of the biggest things is to be able to turn food away and to portion my food. I have never, ever been able to do that. I’ve always eaten until I’ve been bloated. Now I know when to stop, and it feels good,” he explains.
Santiago has also learned how to nourish his body in a way that helps him feel his best. He’s currently working on adding more healthy “slow” carbs to his meals. And he sets aside time every day to mark the small goals that will help him achieve the big ones. Every day, Santiago logs his exercise in the Found app and says it keeps him accountable and consistent. “I live by my logs, and part of that log is my exercise,” he says.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the numbers—the number on the scale, the number of calories you’ve consumed, the number of steps you’ve taken—with any weight care journey.
At first, Santiago fixated on the numbers and would feel disappointed on weeks when the scale digits didn't drop. But he learned to avoid focusing too closely on the scale number—and instead appreciate how his body responds to the hard work he’s putting in. “So whenever I have a setback with my weight, now I understand how my body’s working and how I lose weight individually. If I do start to plateau, I don’t panic anymore,” Santiago explains.
Santiago says he hasn’t been at his current weight in more than 20 years. Aside from the weight loss, he has also experienced some significant non-scale victories. His total cholesterol and triglycerides have dropped tremendously, and he’s no longer pre-diabetic. Santiago also has the energy to play with his dogs and can even run three miles again. But maybe the biggest win is in the morale department. “I have so much confidence in myself now—and it’s very liberating. I can do this.”
Shaun Santiago, we are honored to have you as a part of the Found fam. Congratulations on your success so far—and here’s to more small and consistent steps that will get you closer to your goals!
Found is among the largest medically-supported weight care clinics in the country, serving more than 200,000 members to date. To start your journey with Found, take our quiz.