Check out our special Q&A and get inspired to create your own fitness journey!
Q: When did your journey start?
My journey started in January of 2016.
Q: What made you want to make a change?
I was in my early 30s with high blood pressure and a history of high blood pressure in my family. My doctor was concerned and had me seeing her every 3 months to monitor my blood pressure. She had given me 6 months (from June 2015-Jan. 2016) to bring down my weight and hopefully lower my blood pressure. I failed miserably.
I did okay and cut a few pounds from June until September, but after the holidays I was heavier than I was in June. In Jan. 2016 she said gave me a final 3 months to show improvement or she would have no choice but to put me on medicine. High blood pressure medicine at my age?
I believed her this time and I was sick of seeing the number on the scale at every visit (I had no idea how high it had gotten and to this day I’m really not sure what my top weight was). So after I left the doctor’s office that day I made the decision I was going to lose weight and get my blood pressure down.
Q: What tips do you have for others starting out?
Do what you like. I started with cardio, cardio and more cardio. I had all the naysayers tell me that wasn’t the way to go, but I did not care, I enjoyed getting on the elliptical and watching tv. I did that for an hour 5-6 days a week for a really long time. I’d also say do what you are comfortable doing.
My first lifting program was the IdealShape 12 week program. I liked the idea that it was free and that I could do it at home. It is one thing to go to the gym on a machine but lifting at a gym was very intimidating to me. But with that said, do not be afraid to try new things. I felt pressure from people in my life to lift and stop focusing on cardio and doing my “silly little videos.”
Eventually, I did chose to lift, at a gym, in front of people. After the 12 week program, I did various 15-day challenges, and then more than I can count the 6-week FBC. I loved working out at home but eventually wanted to challenge myself to step outside my comfort zone. When the 6-Week Fit Body Sculpt Challenge was released, that was the just the nudge I needed and I have been lifting ever since.
The other thing I would recommend for people starting out is to join an online community that is either doing a similar program to you, using similar products or just similarly situated in life. Don’t just join them, become active. Read what people have to say, tell your story, and interact.
In the beginning, I joined the various pages associated with the programs I was doing. However, I was not active. I did not even read a lot of what was being discussed. Gradually I became more and more active and by the time I joined the Sculpt Challenge I was actually speaking up. The ladies I “met” through the Sculpt forum are women I cannot imagine my life without.
Various groups broke off from that based on various interests, macro counting, reverse dieting, etc. and I feel like I have a huge online community of support. Depending on your personal support system, this online system can be huge. Even though I have a ton of support from my immediate family and my significant other, the ladies in my groups give it to me real, they are knowledgeable, supportive and just rock stars. We have all learned and evolved from one another. Support is key.
Spend the money. Throw out all the bad food, get healthy foods and plan. If you are going to work out at home, invest in some dumbbells. I found that putting all this money into it only to give up tomorrow was not worth it. So if anything, do it for the money.
Planning. Make sure you have a plan. If you are going to calorie count, go low-carb, macro count, whatever it may be, plan for it and stick to it. For me, I started calorie counting because I really do not like to cook and I did not want to stick to the meal plans. I downloaded MyFitnessPal and I planned all my meals the day before. Now that I macro count, and because I have been doing it a lot longer, my prep is a little more lax. I make 1-2 meals for every day of the week and then the night before I make a plan around those meals. I plug it all into my phone and that is what I will eat the next day. Also, I always plan for eating out. I check the nutrition before I go and plan what I will eat.
Lastly, and probably most importantly, make sure you allow yourself to indulge. I don’t mean binge eat the entire pantry, but if you want frozen yogurt have it, maybe as a treat on a Saturday night. This is not about restricting, it is about being healthy and indulging every so often will make it sustainable.
Q: What have been some of the biggest obstacles you’ve had to overcome?
In the beginning, I was in no shape and had no mobility. I always felt like I would never be skinny (yes, in the beginning, my goal was skinny but that is most certainly not my goal now). I topped out at over 225 lbs and my body just didn’t move the way the people in the videos did. I was easily winded and I had to take breaks. I could not run longer than 1/4 mile. It was hard to push myself knowing that I could do all the movements or do them 100% right. I just kept trying to do some exercise or movement a little better than I did the previous week and tried to compare myself to myself and not the people in the videos and that helped me.
The food was a big thing for me. I was so accustomed to grabbing Subway or even Wendy’s on the way home. I lived off Lean Cuisines it seemed like. The idea of making wholesome healthy meals for one person (at the beginning of my journey I was single) just seemed like too much work.
Wine and beer. I love wine, I would have a glass or two a day or visit a brewery or go to happy hour with friends a lot. In the beginning, I would equate for those calories and just eat less food. That was horrible but I did it so that I was eating at a calorie deficit. Eventually, the need was replaced with the need to fuel my body and feel good. I starting cutting back and eventually got to the point where I have only the occasional drink or 2 drinks. I don’t miss it.
The social scene is still the hardest part for me. At my age and in my occupation, the go-to spot for meeting up with friends is happy hour after work, or even dinner and drinks. I need to have these outings in moderation. I sometimes say no to things because I do not have the macros left or because I just would rather not eat or drink that. I have lost friends not only as a consequence of saying “no” to too many invites but also because I have friends that are jealous. It is what it is. Your true friends won’t care if you bring the scale to dinner or you would prefer to play a round of mini golf in lieu of drinks.
Q: What are some of your go-to, favorite meals?
This changes weekly and daily but here goes:
– Egg whites with nut butter, cinnamon, and Walden Farms/other sugar-free syrup
– Buffalo chicken in the crock pot over cauliflower rice
– Taco casserole (Lean ground beef, taco seasoning, salsa, corn, black beans)
– Protein bars – G2G, Quest, Epic, Truwomen
– Lil Buff Bakery (they have amazing cakes for the macros)
– French toast (Ezekiel bread, whites, and cinnamon)
– Pancakes (any recipes from IdealFit)
– Protein shake with cereal (or with crumbled rice cakes)
Q: What are some go-to supplements that have helped?
– BCAAs they help with soreness but also add some flavor to your water
– Protein Powder – you can have shakes but lots of baked recipes to use it in
– Melatonin (I actually use Hypersleep with melatonin in it – I go to bed early and get up early so the added help with sleep really helps me)