Wednesday, September 19, 2018

My Weight Loss Journey: How I Lost 17 Pounds and 18 Inches

Ok so this will probably be a long post, but if you clicked then you're probably ready to read it. If you're not ready to read a long post I'll sum up what I'm going to say in one sentence.  I lost weight with dedication and consistency to both diet and exercise!

I also decided to invest in myself and hired a nutrition/accountability coach, Tracey, to help teach me what food to eat when and let's face it, to hold me accountable.  You can visit her website here.  She was absolutely instrumental in my success.  I wouldn't be where I am without her.  If I'm anything, I am 100% confident in that.  She's tough when you need her to be, compassionate when you falter, and most importantly passionate about health and fitness.  It goes without saying that she knows her stuff!    If you're looking for someone to help you in your journey Tracey is your girl. #notanad

Also some of the pictures I will post are embarrassing, but it's all part of the story so I'm willing to share.  Some pictures I'm proud of but it by no means indicates that I think I'm perfect or don't still have areas to work on.  I 10000000% am still a work in progress.  Ok now that the disclaimers are out of the way.  Here goes!

Where did I start you ask? On February 26th, 2018, I weighed in at...

Yup I got there.  149.4 pounds.  I'm 5'4". I work out 4 to 6 days a week primarily doing CrossFit.  I've been working out for 10 years and my weight has always yo-yoed.  You know why?  Think about it.  If the exercise was the same then I obviously it was the food I was putting in my mouth.  I finally made a decision.  I wanted my body to look like I worked out as much as I do.  Vanity.  Yep that was my motivation (but wait later it changes).  Here's what 149.4 looks like in the flesh.

February 26th 2018

I will tell you the above person is healthy and she's also happy. I just made a personal decision to get uncomfortable and change my eating habits once and for all.  Through my coaching with Tracey I took a "clean eating" approach.  I avoided wheat, dairy and sugar (for the MOST part).  I focused on the simple concept of proteins, veggies, and fat at EACH meal with carbs mixed in mostly around my workouts.

Tracey believes that both wheat and dairy are inflammatory to the body and asked me to avoid those things.  I agreed to pretty much eliminate them from my diet.  I did/do eat soft cheese like feta and fresh mozzarella, some Kerrygold Dublinger and sheep's milk manchego.  I'm not sure Tracey would agree with my choices at all times, but adding SMALL amounts of these fats to my salads etc. kept me satisfied.  I didn't believe I had a problem with wheat or dairy until I quit eating them.  I did wonder however, why my belly always looked like this.

This is what I honestly believe is wheat belly.  I felt bloated all the time even thought I didn't necessarily realize it at the time.  I mean clearly I had fat to lose but if I'm being honest, my belly was never my problem area.  Remember everyone, nothing changed really with my workouts, but my belly bloat is gone!  

July 2018 
If I wasn't a believer before I'm a believer now!  I miss bread.  Bread is heaven on Earth and I wish I could eat it every day.  White bread with a hard crusty edge to be exact, but we are not friends.  We broke up and I'm here to tell you bread is like a bad boyfriend!  Even if you think it's not bothering you (like I did) it probably is.  

Protein and veggies have to become your friends, but they don't have to be boring.  Find what flavors keep things interesting and eat that.  

I absolutely love huge salads with protein (salmon and mahi are my favorites).  I tend to like fattier meats and prefer chicken thighs to breasts.  Again, maybe not what Tracey wanted me to eat ALL the time, but I found balance.  I ate all the foods I loved with some modifications.  It doesn't have to be boring.  It can be delicious.  Use your fats! 

I also still ate out.  My son and I still went on our monthly burger dates.  I ordered the healthiest burger on the menu bunless with a side salad.  

I thought it would be so hard to go without a bun and to not eat fries.  What?  Like is that a thing?  People do that?  To be honest, once I cleaned up my palate, I didn't really NEED the fries.  Did they still look good?  Yes, absolutely yes!  What I found though was when I ate a normal portion of clean food with my beloved fats (I'm looking at you mozzarella on that burger) I felt satisfied.  I didn't feel deprived and I didn't feel like I NEEDED that fried fatty foods (or bun).  Also if Nicholas got fries I'd definitely steal one of his and normally it would just take one bite and I was fine to move on.  You might have a serious eye roll right now, but it's true.  I'm a self proclaimed junk food junkie but I didn't need it.  I was actually HAPPY eating this way.

Now I've talked about what I DO eat, let's talk about what I DON'T eat.  I'd be lying if I said there weren't MANY sacrifices. For the most part my family eats what I eat but I make modifications.  For instance tacos without the shells or I'll have cauliflower gnocchi while they eat pasta (with their crusty bread-- jerks) but it's easy to cook for the family and for myself at the same time.  However, my kids are kids and they like food that is NOT ON MY MEAL PLAN.  

So there were days where they wanted pizza and I ordered it for them and I ate chicken and brussel sprouts.  Yep it's not all unicorns and rainbows people there are sacrifices and a LOT of them.  Something that Tracey told me once really resonated with me (so many things she said did, but this one in particular sticks out).  She said that EVERY DAY you can find a reason to cheat so you have to PLAN when it's worth it.  I NEVER (I think I can say that honestly) cheated when it wasn't planned.  No random Friday night pizza, no weekend ice cream.  My cheats were planned and FOR A SIGNIFICANT REASON. I think this concept was key to success!  If I didn't plan it, it didn't happen.

I vacationed pretty much from June 15th to August 4th.  You read that right.   I traveled with George to Vail, went to NYC with friends, Nashville with my family, dad and niece, visited Ocean City, MD for a dance completion, and topped it all off with a family vacation to the beach.  That's 8 weeks of fun, 56 days and 168 meals all with reasons to cheat.  If I had treated EVERY DAY and every meal as a vacation I certainly wouldn't have reached my goals. 8 weeks could have been 8 pounds and right back to where I started.  So does this mean that life can't go on, you can't EVER eat indulgent food.  Absolutely not!  I had indulgences on EVERY trip, including this...

NYC Bagel top 10 of best things I've ever eaten 

and this...

But I worked out hiking through the mountains...

outside literally running and squatting with a gallon jug of water, in cramped ill-equipped hotel gyms and on the beach.

There were a million excuses why not but Tracey didn't take any of them.  I remember one day she innocently asked me if I had any down time at the convention center for Ella's dance competition.  I told her I did and she made up some horrible workout for me to do during my break.  Full makeup and all.

post burpee workout from hell in the loading dock of the convention center 
I'm pretty sure it was 100 degrees and I smelled the rest of the day, but I felt better because of it. ALL the wheels weren't falling off the bus.  I might be stuck at the convention center for 10 to 12 hours a day with fried chicken tenders at the snack bar (I didn't eat that) but I was in control of my exercise and what I decided to do with what little time I had.

I'm proud to say I made it through the 8 week vacation tour unscathed.  It was pretty much a period of maintenance for me.

Before vacation and After vacation 
After the vacation tour ended, I went right back to clean eating the MAJORITY of the time. Cheats consisted of sushi or gluten free pizza or simply eating out when you're not in control of EVERYTHING you're eating.

I started to notice more changes in my body.  I was leaning out and some of my muscles were actually starting to show.

2010 vs 2018 

I knew I had muscles under my fluff and I did.  Now you can actually see some of them.

Didn't actually go to the camp (hahaha)

So while the journey started because of vanity, slowly it evolved.  I feel amazing.  I have tons of energy for my workouts.  I rarely feel sluggish at all during CrossFit.  My weight is going down but ALL my lifts are going up.  Again, nothing at CrossFit has really changed, so I can only attribute it to consistency and my diet.  Did I mention everything got better when I changed my diet?  I feel empowered by what my body can do and THAT is what now motivates me.  Not hating what I see in the mirror is icing on the cake.

So why did I decide to blog about this now?  Have I reached the end of my journey?  Absolutely not! I have a ton of work left to do.  I'm looking at you LEGS!  Tracey and I decided together to take a period of maintenance.  I've spent a long time in a deficit (losing weight) and it's time to see what true maintenance looks like. 

My current weight is 132 pounds.  That means in 6 and a half months I lost 17 pounds.  However, and this blows my mind, I lost 18 inches! I went from a fluffy size 6 to a small size 4.  I feel confident and liberated.  Food no longer controls me.  

February 2018 vs September 2018 
I didn't write this post to boast or brag.  I wrote it a) because people asked me to and b) because I'm all about paying it forward.  Working with Tracey and changing my diet really did change my life.  As a mother of 3 children there are so many things that are out of my control, but I am in control of this.  I decide what FUEL I put in my body.  I decide my health and wellness.  If I inspire ONE person to take control of their lives, then all these half naked pics were worth it!