I’ve had a number of people ask me for more detail than what’s in my bio on this site: how did I lose the weight? What did I do specifically? What was the magic recipe?
First of all…it took me a little over a year to do. I was not on the Biggest Loser, I had no trainers, I had no books, no coaches, no manuals…nada. The most amount of support and training I got was when eDiets first came out, and they allowed me to log my meals, have a fitness plan, etc. That’s when I first REALLY learned how to eat.
I started out the first month cooking for myself, which helped me to shed weight right there. After that, I decided to give a modified version of Atkins a try: I eliminated bread, pasta, potatoes, corn, and fruit. With the caveat that this was years before I went vegan, I cooked tomatoes in garlic with cheese, I ate grilled chicken, and I gave veggie burgers a try once I saw how much less fat and calories they had than the standard burger. I also made stir frys with lots of veggies. Afterward I slowly began adding on the GOOD carbs: whole wheat pasta, multigrain and whole wheat bread, potatoes, etc. I avoided refined sugar, white flour, soda, sugary drinks, and HFCS. Heck I was avoiding that crap before it became trendy! I also ate convenience diet foods like Lean Cuisine and Smart Ones, being careful to pay attention to calories, fat, and sodium. I gave no fucks on the amount of carbs in each meal; I just looked for a good balance of nutrients. And lastly–this is part is the most important–I DID NOT STARVE MYSELF. I cannot emphasis this enough.
I didn’t work out for the first half of the weight loss. In some ways, this was good: I needed to get my diet on point and figure out how to eat before I started to figure out what the heck to do with myself in the gym. I never, ever knew how to eat and it’s a good chunk of what cost me in college, that and gaining so many food intolerances. During the last half of the weight loss, I began working out in my apartment complex’s gym room. It was open 24/7, and it cost me a nominal fee for the key to the room. One of the best perks of that place ever! I really do miss it sometimes, and have been slowly building up my own home gym to help out. I also began taking yoga and aerobics classes at work.
Keeping motivated for an entire year of watching what I ate and working out was sometimes challenging. I succeeded because I didn’t deprive myself. I made compromises on occasion, keeping those occasions infrequent: when I went out to eat, I would get a slice of pizza and a salad. I ate Smart Ones desserts. I figured out that lite cool whip and strawberries was delicious (I recommend rice whip for that now!), and made substitutions when I could. I sliced potatoes and baked them with garlic and a bit of EVOO instead of eating fries. When I went out to eat, I figured out what I could order on the menu that wasn’t fried, coated with either a ton of cheese or some form of dairy, etc. I had salads and soups before my meals, making sure that the dressing was on the side and usually some form of vinaigrette.
The reminders had to be there too. Thinking about wearing a two piece for the first time in my life helped. Knowing how fed up I was of not being able to wear the clothing I wanted, and the frustration of not even being able to fit into a size 14 also helped. I’m all of 5’4″, I have a small bone structure–I had to have had a LOT of fat on me to be that heavy. It sucked. I basically dug my heels in and got good and stubborn about changing my life, and no one could get that stubborn for me but me.
I’ll also add what didn’t help: fat shaming from people around me just made me feel worse. It didn’t make me want to lose the weight more; it just made me feel like a fat failure. On more than one occasion someone who thought that they were being “well-intentioned and concerned” was mean enough to drive me to tears. It’s like people think they have to tell you that you’re fat. Trust me, when you are–you KNOW. I had no delusions about my size. I was harassed and followed on the street, and screamed obscenities at for having the audacity to be out in public while female and fat. This is why I aim to be 100% body positive. You will never, ever see me using being “fat” as a motivation for working out, use body shaming to try and get people motivated, or any form of negativity as a means of getting people into gear. Instead I talk about being on “Team Happy & Healthy”, feeling good, etc. Positive thinking gets positive results, and you cannot hate yourself into a better version of you.
I had so much weight to lose that I tried and failed a number of times to lose the weight, not realizing that I wasn’t succeeding because I wasn’t sticking with it. I wasn’t going to get thin overnight, and I had to be patient. Getting over that hump right there helped me out a lot. This is why I blog a lot about making small changes, especially if you have a big goal in mind. Those big goals can look awfully overwhelming, and you are best breaking those up into chunks or milestones to get through. Small victories over time paid off for me. You don’t need to make drastic changes to have drastic results, although the bigger the goal, the more likely you will need to overhaul your lifestyle in the long run. Ultimately, the changes you make must be ones you can maintain in the long run, not for a quick fix.
Pictures of me before and after the 100+ lb weight loss:
Years later when I got cocky, had too much personal stress, and got inactive, I started to gain some of it back. I got photos back from a vacation with friends, and had flashbacks to days back at college and how I felt and looked. I had no idea I had gotten that heavy, and it hurt. All of that hard work, out the window. Gone. I also was painfully aware that my finances are in a severe crunch and I couldn’t afford to take all of the classes that had kept me so lean in the past. I needed something which would help me to lose weight AND help out with the money issues. That’s when I found Team Beachbody and became a fitness coach.
Here are pictures of me before Beachbody, and ones taken recently:
Really the most important thing that happened to me as a result of the weight loss was this: it gave me the knowledge and experience to know that I had and have the power to change myself and my life at any given point in time. It’s empowering, it’s uplifting, it’s downright magical. It’s about having the will and the drive to make a dramatic, positive difference in your life. If I can help at least one person to achieve that and steer them towards whatever will help them to do that, I will have done something awesome with what I’ve gained.
If you are not happy where you’re at for whatever reason and are looking to get healthy, lose weight, gain weight, gain muscle, run a 5K–whatever it is–feel free to reach out to me and make me your fitness coach. This is a labor of love, and hopefully this lengthy post will explain why. 🙂 Now you know my story.
“I don’t have the time” is the excuse I hear the most often when it comes to fitness, mainly because people are convinced if they can’t carve out an hour without sacrificing family time, sleep, work, and personal time, they can’t work out.
Here are some ways around that:
- I’ve already blogged about a few workout programs under 30 minutes. They were designed by the same trainers who developed P90X and Insanity, so results are guaranteed. There are also plenty of success stories and testimonials about the transformations they have provided for others.
- Get better at managing how you’re spending your time. Start logging absolutely everything you’re doing in a single day, when you’re doing it, and how much time you’re spending on it. Could anything be scaled back? What are you spending your day doing? Do you spend too much time on Facebook? Do you REALLY need those 30 minutes in front of the tv, or could you compromise and work out while watching your shows? I’ve gotten into doing things like random interval cardio while watching my favorite tv programs. Time flies before you know it, and before long you’ve burned an extra 400-500 calories. It’s worth it!
- Start making to-do lists. Absolutely everything that MUST GET DONE, THAT DAY, on that list. Not “nice to haves” but do or die. Take that list seriously, and update it at a set time every day. Could be before you go to bed or when you wake up. Keep it on your smartphone so it’ll always be around, and program reminder alerts into it to check and update it once daily.
- Make everything count. Take the stairs, park further away from the office, go out for walks during your lunch break, get up and walk around every once in a while. You’ll see the differences over time and your body will thank you.
- Studies have shown that for as little as 10-15 minutes a day you can improve your health. 10 minutes a day is better than 0 minutes.
- Evaluate how much of your job could potentially be done in less time. If you’re working a lot of overtime on a regular basis, there are some great articles about that here and here which may help you.
- If it’s genuinely important to you, you will make the time. Pencil it in and treat it as sacred.
This is YOUR health, which is important to not just you but those around you who rely on you. Take the time now and save yourself much grief later! You will thank yourself, I promise!!
For more awesome tips on time management and organization, I highly recommend the FREE 30 day course by Chalene Johnson at http://www.30daypush.com. It is quite literally life transforming. Thanks to it, I learned that I wasn’t just in need of organizational skills, I had literally none to speak of. The lessons in there take maybe five minutes a day and will save you hours of your life, will help you meet any goal you have, and will absolutely change you for the better.
There are two reasons why you need to have R&R just as much as you need to stay active:
Having goals you’re passionate about is normal and natural. Not only that, but if you see a long road ahead of you towards achieving those goals, it’s possible to have one of a few reactions:
- Give up and quit
- Overdo it
- Obsess over getting it right: “If I can’t do it perfectly, I won’t do it at all.”
- Beat yourself up
Repeat after me: “Mental health is just as important as physical health”.
We’re all guilty of doing any of these things regardless of what stage of fitness we’re in, whether we’re beginners just started out or seasoned pros who are VERY intent upon getting the job done and are enjoying it too much.
It could happen for many reasons. You may be aggressively training for a competition. Perhaps there’s a 10K coming up and you’re realizing that you’ve started your training a bit late in the game. Maybe you’re just trying too hard to “do it all” and have set high expectations for yourself.
There are things you need to do for yourself besides work out, and I’m going to list a few:
- Do yoga
- Take time out for yourself to unwind, either over a good book or in front of the tv
- Take relaxing baths
- Get outside for a nice stroll
I KNOW a lot of people read my blog and my Facebook and think, “Woooowww, she’s really into working out! She must be working out 2-4 hours per day and not having much of a life! I could NEVER be into working out that much!” Honestly, I average 30-60 minutes per day and I have other hobbies I indulge in. I’m a very well-rounded soul, and you all should be too.
As for the rest of you who ARE that motivated…I’m here to tell you why your enthusiasm is wonderful, but you need to go eaaaaaasyyyyyy on yourself. Rest days allow your body to repair muscle and prevent injury. Sleep allows you to recharge for the day ahead. Not getting enough of either can lead to all sorts of not fun things like:
- Injuries – these can be minor or major, and can potentially take you out of your training for days, weeks, and sometimes months
- Illnesses – these are signs that your body has HAD it.
- Burn out – mental and physical fatigue to the point of risking one or both of the above
And besides, those thing I listed suck and will make you not be able to work out. Everything in moderation for best results! I often see people go at it and when they don’t get the results they’re expecting over the course of 1-2 weeks, give up. Consistency is your best bet! You want habits you can have for life, not just for a short time in order to fit into your skinny jeans or get into that dress.
Treat your body right, you only get one per lifetime. 🙂
Need some additional support and motivation? It’s only a click away.
In the world of microwaves and drive-thru dining, people can often be impatient for results and wind up turning to all sorts of crazy fad diets, crash diets, and extreme plans to get on track–but don’t plan for the long term in the process.
Small changes over time are really what’s key for any health and fitness plan. Here are some examples:
- Parking further away from work and walking
- Talking stairs as opposed to the elevator
- Walking up and down on the escalator versus standing
- Cutting out 100-200 calories daily from snacks and/or sugary drinks
- Replacing soda with water or tea
- Getting in a 10 minute workout in the morning as opposed to watching tv or being on the computer. There are some great workouts under 30 minutes which may be up your alley!
- Swapping an unhealthy treat with a healthier version (baked potato fries as opposed to french fries, etc)
- Having a healthy snack like Shakeology instead of ice cream, etc
As always, I’m here for anyone trying to make changes to their daily lives, whether it’s to gain or lose weight, build muscle, or just be on Team Happy and Healthy. Feel free to make me your fitness coach!
Join me and together we will rule the galaxy! 😀
Do you enjoy fitness? Do you enjoy helping others? Do you enjoy earning an income doing what you love? Do you want to be able to make enough income on the side to not worry about paying your bills anymore or even the potential of being self-employed?
I’m looking for a few good people to join my team of awesome individuals who are doing just that. What will you be doing? Helping people to get happy and healthy through the use of programs such as P90X, Insanity, PiYo, and healthy supplements such as Shakeology.
And if you’re a Trekkie also, well you should know:
Interested? Learn more here.