Over the last 5 years, I’ve made progress in fitness/nutrition. It has not been linear. I’ve tested out nearly every workout program and diet (explained below) imaginable and learned quite a bit! There are several ways that one can make a dramatic transformation and make it stick, but (since this is my blog) the following is what I’ve extracted from my own personal journey — what worked, what didn’t work, and how I redefined (and am redefining myself)
The photos below show my 5 year difference:
5 years ago, I was in a mindset of “eat less, exercise more (mostly running)” and I was GAINING weight despite the lower kcals and higher mileage and also ended up with an injured foot due to overtraining. I was tired of trying to figure it out on my own and that is what started the journey over the past 5 years to discover a SUSTAINABLE healthy fitness/nutrition program.
Part of my drive was insecurity and a fear of being imperfect, but God is healing me from that, which I shared about here:
and now my motivation for sharing this journey is to show that to be healthy and fit, you don’t have to exercise for 3 hours a day and eat 1100 calories. My current workouts are approximately 70minutes and I’m eating close to 2000calories a day, which is very sustainable in my opinion. I shared a little about it in this post,
but go into further detail in this blog!
Graph of Progress:
The chart below shows my weight, which is one measurement of progress. I actually go by how I feel/look.
My fitness goal right now is to become more dense/defined – ie improve muscle/lean mass – and improve my running technique (using Chi Running principles) and to have great energy through the day.
I’m not worrying too much about the scale, but this does illustrate how progress does happen, so here it is:
- Note: this shows just the last 2.5 years. Prior to the graph, there is a similar cycle. I was about 140 in 2013 (engagement photo above), which fell to 134ish, then went back up to 150 in 2014 and then dropped to 138 in late 2014 and stayed within 5lbs of that in 2015 before rising up to 150 again in early 2016.
The Workout Programs I’ve Tried:
- Running/Cardio-Based approach (ie: high mileage, not much cross training) — gain weight, not sustainable for my body (plantar fasciitis issues)
- Crossfit – Dislocated my shoulder, weight gain
- Bodybuilding – lost weight but workouts were 2-3hrs/day; NPC competitions not sustainable for me
- Yoga/Power Yoga – weight gain, Dislocated my shoulder
- Insanity mixed with running – lost weight, increased running speed, not sustainable for me (ended up with some knee/foot issues)
- Mix of Lifting/Running/Yoga/Insanity with a 70ish minute time limit – GOLD for me.. Sustainable for my body, Progress is ‘seeable’ (in photos), gives me a good variety
- My current training plan is posted here if you are interested in seeing it.
The Diet Programs
- Low Calorie – not sustainable; lost weight initially, then gained weight back; hungry and moody
- Keto/ZeroCarb – same result as low calorie
- Meal Plan – I don’t like this — it works, but I hate spending 2-3hours meal-prepping each weekend and also don’t like being told what to do (hehe… slightly rebellious)
- Paleo/Vegan/Whole30 – this did not work because I can eat a LOT so having “unlimited foods” did not serve me well; gained weight on these plans
- IIFYM, Macros — GOLD for me.
- I stress less about what foods I am eating – I don’t classify anything as “good or bad” and so I have no restrictions.
- I actually do eat a lot of the same foods each day, but it is by my choice – I love the foods I eat and fit them into my macro-goals
- I know when I am truly hungry because if I am too lazy to want to track a food, then I know I’m just craving food from boredom vs. hunger.
- I don’t Overeat and experience less bloating because I’m not loading up on huge amounts of low calorie foods or exceeding my daily fiber goal (approx. 20g fiber per 1000kcals)
- You can check out my ‘intro to macros‘ here
Importance of a Coach
Lasting change is the result of a transformed identity. Progress may not always be linear, but the key to making improvements and maintaining them is to change the way you view yourself. When you begin to identify as something, your actions line up with that belief.
A coach is someone who does help you, and gives you tools/tips to improve. But, more importantly, a good coach is someone who believes in the better/best version of yourself that you want to be. While friends and family may be doubtful that these ‘changes’ in your life will stick, a coach is someone who acts a support system along the way in changing your identity.
A lot of times, individuals will lose weight and then gain it all back (plus some) because they did not change their identity. In order to see lasting transformation, you have to see yourself differently. The changes you make have to become habits which become a new normal for you.
When I first began my journey 5 years ago, I wanted to be a fitness model and writer, and knew I needed to change my lifestyle to become that. At first, I was the weird girl showing up to family/social outings with my own food and carrying around a huge water bottle. But after about 6months, it became normal for me…. and it was actually weird when I deviated from my workout/diet plan.
My goals have changed since then (I did do some writing and modeling, but it’s not a career) and I have a new identity I am pursuing — one that is God/Family first while maintaining a healthy level of fitness that gives me energy and longevity to live life more and be the best version of myself.
The new identity I am pursuing does not find worth in comparing myself to “Suzie Fit Girl” … instead, it desires to see herself as God sees her and to live congruently with that identity. She finds her self-worth in Him and believes she is on earth for a purpose, waking up each day with gratitude and on a mission to make the best of the day.
For this reason, I hired my coach Amber again. Even though I’ve found my sweet spot for nutrition and fitness, I still think she is valuable in helping me transform into a better/best version of myself. She knows my goals and is a cheerleader for me. She want’s to help me improve in my fitness and macros, but also understands that fitness shouldn’t consume our lives – it should just enhance it. When I travel on a weekend, she understands that being with the people there is more important that nailing my macros.
For a really good podcast on this, check out this one on The Model Health Show. I listened to this one 2 times through… very inspiring!
“You are more than a number.
The scale will never be able to tell you how smart you are, how funny you are, and how special you are.
Your beauty comes from within.
There’s no six-pack that stands out more than a woman with contagious joy.
Use your smile more than any other muscle.”
Here’s to an amazing transformation over the next 5 years!! (photo below is a macro-free cherry limeade! sprite zero, lime, cherry mio)