June 1, 2018 I was fed up with how I looked and felt. I weighed the most I've ever weighed, topping my scale at 200 pounds even (I am 5'9 for reference). It was honestly a huge wakeup call. I didn't recognize who I was anymore. I had the most frequent and worst back pain in my 10 - 11 years of scoliosis induced chronic back pain.
Then and there I decided I had enough, that turning to crappy fast food and comfort food to push down my emotions was doing nothing for me but making me feel worse in the long run. I set a goal, by June 1, 2019 I wanted to lose 50 pounds. Honestly, as this date approached and I still linger around the 45 pound mark, I was defeated. I decided that I failed to meet my goal. I did NOT want to write this post or even talk about my health goals anymore.
Admittedly, I have a very "all or nothing" kind of attitude about a lot of things. The more I thought about it and the heavier weights I lifted, I realized just how much 45 pounds really is. It was a gut check of how much I really did accomplish. I still have goals I want to reach but I recognize that longterm changes take time. My first 30 pounds seemed like it flew off, though it was still a challenge, these last 15 have taken so much longer and so much more determination and discipline.
I would also like to admit that while I weigh less, am more muscular and more athletic than I was in high school, but there is still work to be done. I do have a better view of myself, a healthier relationship with food and am more mentally aware and tough than ever. I am pretty dang proud of all of that.
(p.s. I put my "transformation"/"progress" pics down at the bottom as to not scar anyone that doesn't want to see that much of me lol)
SO... the million dollar question... How did I do it?
Anytime I run into people I haven't seen in a while I am always asked what I am doing or what "diet" got me here. I actually like this question and I love their reaction to my answer.
Short answer: I changed the way I eat and I move my body, ya know, the advice your doctor has been giving you and everyone else for years. No "diets", no giving up.
I have been following the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan. They have series and challenges where every meal is planned out for a couple days to 8 weeks depending on the challenge. The actual book you get when you buy the plan explains the science and importance of eating 5 times a day, eating certain foods at different times of the day for sustained energy and level blood sugar, and the "lean, clean n' green" approach. This nutrition plan is very much NOT a diet but rather teaches you how to fuel your body.
What I like about it:
You purchase it one time ($99) and you get the lifestyle kit (food prep containers, water bottle, booty band and a protein bar sample) along with the standard nutrition plan book with the "method" and a ton of great recipes
It is NOT a subscription meal plan, it is one and done
You get EVERY previous series and challenge nutrition plan to download for free
You cook for yourself, no highly processed "diet meals" (and you can leave out things you don't like, mushrooms are a no-go for me)
They build cocktails into the plan... Yup, and wine too
They have a regular, vegetarian and vegan version available
They teach you how to eat out but also encourage you to live life, eat the cake at the wedding, eat the piece of pizza at the birthday party, enjoy it, enjoy life - at your next meal/next opportunity, pick it up where you were. No waiting for tomorrow, no waiting for Monday to roll around
I've learned in the process of cleaning up the food I eat that I get an inflammatory response to dairy/milk products and it leads to more significant back pain for me and depending on how much, a gut reaction too, TMI - Their regular and vegetarian plans are mostly, if not completely dairy free
They give you a clear plan of what to eat and when to eat it, plus a weekly grocery list to make and prep it all
It is NOT counting calories or macros, I haven't done that in over a year and it has completely changed my nutrition. Long story short here - counting calories for me got unhealthy and obsessive, I would either limit myself too much or justify eating something bad by not eating the rest of the day. No doing that here, just fueling your body with the good stuff and eating when you're hungry!
I use the Tone It Up app, this is a subscription or you can buy access for a year for $83.88 which comes out to $6.99/month, if you want to be billed monthly it is $12.99/month. You can also download the app and get the daily moves and inspiration for free. This app is worth it to me for sure. They have group classes every hour where you can chat with other TIU ladies in class with you, there is also an on demand section where you can choose from hundreds of videos to get your work out in, and they just started weekly live classes that are so fun and funny. The work outs need minimal equipment, so I do these from home 3-4 times/week.
I've been a ClassPass member since November 2017, so even before this whole weight loss journey started (I just didn't stop over eating at first). This app just keeps getting better. If you like classes and variety, I highly recommend it. Essentially you buy a membership through this app and it allows you to go to dozens (maybe even hundreds) of studios and gyms. You can even use it when you're traveling. My favorite studios to visit are CycleBar Chesterfield, Title Boxing Club Rock Hill and PLNK. There's something for everyone: gym time, cross-fit, yoga, barre, personal training, bootcamps, and even wellness (including cryotherapy). This app is pricier, the level I have is $45/month and I get 30 credits, which for me is about 5-6 classes/month, it all depends on what workouts you do and when you do them. (I do have a referral link for ClassPass HERE but everyone gets one when they sign up, so I'm not special :P )
In my leveling up to get these last 15 pounds off (and to keep moving forward) I've started running. I am NOT a runner and I mostly hate the whole experience but the post-run endorphins and the results I get keep me going back for more. Adding running has definitely helped me shed body fat but I am more impressed by my improving endurance and cardiovascular strength. I don't run THAT far, but I am running father than I ever have in my life. If you can only do a half mile, start there, at least you're starting.
I am no doctor, trainer or nutritionist but this is what has worked for me. In the last year I've lost 45 pounds, yes, but I have learned so much about my body both physically and mentally (it's cliche as heck, but it's SO true). I am so much stronger than I've ever been. It is an amazing feeling. If you're at all curious about anything I've tried, have any questions about my experience, or if you want to hit up a workout class or a hike, I'm your girl. You know where to find me!