I posted my latest progress pic on my Instagram and Facebook accounts last week and have been getting a lot of questions about what exactly it took to lose 20 inches around my body in 3 months. I’ll tell you right now that it wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine!
About 4 months ago, I came off of an extended vacation (lasting around 3 months or so) with a lot of unwanted baggage around my body. The first thing I did was get back into a routine at the gym with my trainer Strong Moms Fitness. I had been going to her group fit camps and doing one personal training session a week before vacation. I told her that I wanted to move from the group setting to one-on-one sessions with her so we bumped up to 4 personal training sessions a week.
I lift moderately heavy (nothing crazy but I challenge and push myself.) I also try to do supersets and triple sets to get more exercises in my allotted gym time. At the end of each strength workout, I do a 15 minute High Intensity Interval cardio workout. Sometimes it’s a circuit of bodyweight and weighted exercise and other times I’ll do sprints on the treadmill. I don’t do any steady-state cardio because I hate it with a passion. My typical week looks like this:
Monday: Lower Body
Tuesday: Back and Biceps
Thursday: Lower Body
Friday: Chest, Triceps and Core
Saturday: Active Rest
Also in May, a friend of mine was getting ready to do a really intense hike to raise money for the fight against human trafficking. As part of his fundraising efforts, he was selling photography sessions (of which I was already drooling over!) Dan is also the owner of Acuo Crossfit in Redmond, WA and one of his members, Coraleigh has been transforming Acuo athletes left and right with her nutrition coaching expertise. I’ve met Coraleigh once before (she talked me into doing a WOD!) and I liked her immediately. So now I had this photography session with Dan booked 3 months out and I really wanted to see how fit I could become in that timeframe. I hired Coraleigh immediately and we got to work!
With my new workout plan at SMF and some other basic questions asked, Coraleigh put together a 2 week meal plan for me that would fuel me for my workouts and give her a good idea of how well my metabolism was functioning. After that first 2 week check-in, she determined that my metabolism was healthy and she gave me a little more flexibility in my meal plan. [Alright, here is a little bit of backstory. I had tried the flexible dieting and IIFYM thing before. I knew that it was effective but it stressed me out completely because I felt like I had to be perfect in every category (carb/fat/protein) every single day. This time around, I was much better prepared, thanks to C.] I had my “core” nutrition plan that I could always use as a fall back. This listed the exact food I should eat at every meal, every day. But with each day, I would try to substitute a food out for something different to add more variety in my diet. A few weeks in, I was substituting full meals and then even full days, all the while making sure that my food intake was balanced and meeting every macronutrient requirement. She made flexible dieting so easy and doable!
Let me tell you, there is no better feeling than to make a “treat” meal fit perfectly into your meal plan! Also, Coraleigh taught me the importance of having a free meal each week. It allows your body and your mind a break from being so diligent. I never thought in a million years that my nutrition coach would instruct me to go out and have dessert each week. She was a girl after my own heart!
Now, because it can’t be that easy, I decided to throw in a 4 month cross-country road trip during this photo shoot prep. One month into my prep, I drove from Washington to Georgia totaling 2900 miles and 5 days in the car. With a lot of planning, Complete shakes and egg whites later, I managed to stay 95% compliant to my meal plan without a stove or refrigerator! Then came the real challenge – living in the South and trying to lose weight. There were many, many times that I had to turn down foods that I loved, drink unsweet tea (blasphemy!) and bring my food everywhere with me. But there were also many times where I went out for froyo, ate pork from a pig roasted in the backyard, enjoyed delicious American fusion cuisine with a friend and devoured molten lava cakes from Chili’s guilt free. What this whole experience has taught me is that you can have your cake and eat it too. You just have to balance it out with enough good choices to make the indulgent ones work for you.
I had struggled for so long about finding that “golden ticket” that would give me the results I longed for. I thought clean eating was it for a long time. Then I endured the guilt that came along with eating foods that weren’t “clean.” The past 3 months have taught me that there is a time and place for all foods in my life. I am never going to live a 100% clean lifestyle. I love to experiment, taste and cook healthy foods. I also love frozen yogurt, Reese’s peanut butter cups and nutella. Telling myself that I can’t have those foods because they aren’t clean just isn’t going to work for me. Treating myself with dessert after a week of being faithful to my plan works for me. The key here is that after I have a pre-planned treat, I don’t immediately reprimand myself and say, “Ugh I need to get back on the wagon.” because I’m still on the wagon. It’s all a part of the program. Of course, the only way that I can have these weekly treats and still continue to lose fat is because in order to keep my body fueled properly, I still eat very healthy 90% of the time! Flexible dieting isn’t all pop tarts and Chipotle every day, all day. (That was a hard lesson to learn the first time around haha!)
The right combination of training and consistency with a meal plan has gotten me to a place where I feel confident every single day. Three months in, I won’t be doing the photo shoot as planned, because I’m still on the other side of the country from the photographer, but I absolutely love the way I look and feel. I am still in awe at how quickly this all happened just by trusting the process and bringing in the right professionals to craft a program fit for me!
Now the countdown to the rescheduled photo shoot begins… T minus 2 more months!! Stay tuned!