Every year it’s, “I gotta lose weight….I really need to get on this…I’m getting too big….” None of that really stopped me from eating like there was some sort of impending food shortage though. None of it made me not crave cupcakes and cheeseburgers. None of it made me not want to inhale pizza and wings on the regular. None of it was more important to me than my favorite past time of GOING OUT TO EAT. Losing weight was something I wanted…until I was hungry again. And then nothing was more important to me than satisfying that craving for insert-whatever-food-here. I could write a dissertation about my relationship with food, but that’s another story for another day.
By the time it had gotten so out of hand that I was seriously online seeking solutions and help, I’d ballooned up to 266lbs. And I’m 5’4”. It wasn’t pretty. Things on my body hurt that shouldn’t hurt…I was tired all the time…all my clothes were too tight…I was very unhappy about my appearance…I thought about weight and food constantly, and I just wanted help at that point. But I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know where to start. And I was deathly afraid of hiring some Billy Blanks-esque trainer who was going to yell at me to do way more than my body was capable of… Still, I knew I needed the help of someone certified to do so. SoI was keeping my eyes peeled, taking a few cards, and trying to figure out who I thought could help get me where I needed to be, which was far away from where I was.
Through a series of random internet searches on things totally unrelated to diet and exercise, I happened across a woman’s weight loss success story which she attributed to a health coach at Body Refined Inc. “Health Coach” stood out to me because it sounded a lot less like someone who’d tae-bo kick me in the neck if I didn’t finish my set, and a lot more like someone who would work with me to get me to optimal health. And then she mentioned that the focus was more heavily geared towards nutrition and I was sold at that point. I reached out to the health coach she mentioned at Body Refined Inc, Kurt Dixon, back in December of 2013. It’s now June of 2014 and I’ve lost 68lbs in in 6 months…
This has been, by no means, a piece of cake, no pun intended…(well, maybe a little intended.) Point to fact, it’s been one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life. But not for the reasons I thought it would be. It hasn’t been hard because I was made to do more physically than I could, though I have been challenged to push myself a bit further than what I believed my body was capable of. But low and behold, my body has proven quite capable, despite my doubts. And it hasn’t been hard because I was put on some rabbit food-like diet where I was only allowed 5 lettuce leaves and a spritz of vinegar for all my meals. Some days I’m allowed to eat way more than I even want to eat, though it’s not what I would have chosen to eat. But I’ve learned that giving your body exactly what it needs, in the exact amount it needs, will yield amazing results if done correctly and consistently. Below you’ll find my top misconceptions about weight loss and the truths that contributed to my current progress.
• You are supposed to keep doing an exercise until it becomes easy, and then move up.
-I’d perform some exercise that my health coach would show me how to do, and I’d be a sweaty mess by the end of my set. We might do that exercise again another day, but then the next time we’d work out, I’d be on something totally new and even harder. Eventually I asked him, “Shouldn’t I master some of these? I mean, every week I’m doing something new and just as tiring. When will I get better?” To which he responded that I was getting better. Changing your routine up is good for the body and even though your exercise routine is continually hard, it doesn’t mean you’re not advancing. Exercise, while it shouldn’t’ be well above your capacity, should be hard. And it should be hard, every time you do it, even when you get advanced. Or maybe a better word is challenging. You routine should challenge you, consistently. If you do not challenge your body, it won’t’ change. If you stuck with the same exercise until you those exercises were very easy for you, you would have wasted a lot of time during which your body would have stopped responding to that particular exercise. When I’d finally came back around to some of those moves I did in the beginning that used to kill me, I discovered I was better at them, even though I hadn’t done them in weeks. I could complete more reps or had better form. And I didn’t have to do that same exact exercise every week, day after day, to get better (barring some things that do improve with continued practice like push-ups or planks). He challenged my body in different ways through different moves. And there is never an easy week where everything is a breeze to move though. Every session is challenging. But I’m getting better, at things all the time. So there must be something to it!
• You are not capable of doing HIIT.
-I used to watch YouTube clip upon YouTube clip of people doing High Intensity Interval Training. I mean that seemed to be all the rage in recent years. It’s the reason P90x and Insanity has been so popular; you work out REALLY HARD and take small “rests” where you work out lightly or just catch your breath, and then back at it. Me? I’m a steady-state cardio type of girl. Give me a slow walk on the treadmill and I’m good. The most I ever used to be challenged, aerobically, was in my advanced step class (which I still love and swear by to this day)…but I tried P90x and Insanity and quickly decided that it wasn’t for me and that I was not capable of HIIT. Some people aren’t built to exercise in that way. And then a little into my exercise training, I started noticing we were doing things that very closely resembled what I’d come to know as HIIT. I couldn’t do a lot of it…certainly not hours of it, but I was doing it. The moves I saw these workout gurus on Instagram and YouTube perform such as burpees or jumping lunges? I was doing them too. Oh, they still make me tired. I still sweat profusely when getting through them, but he put them in there and no matter how out of his mind I thought my heath coach was, I’d attempt it. And I was always capable of doing it, if only for a few times, even if they had to be modified initially. I think sometimes we don’t give ourselves enough credit for what we can do. We doubt our bodies before we even give them a shot. I’m by no means “advanced” in my training, but I can do more physically than I thought I could do at one point.
• You can cut back one or two things and lose weight.
-The biggest and most important aspect of my current progress has been my diet. Food. Food is my number one friend in life. Food is my FAVORITE thing. I love to eat. And I don’t just love to eat, I love to cook. I love learning about the science of food and different techniques. I love the taste of food, the smell of food. I love pictures of food. To say I am food obsessed would be an understatement. But my love of food has been an unhealthy addiction for quite some time now. And after countless hours spent in the gym in the past, I eventually was taught by a step aerobics instructor years ago that you can’t out exercise a bad diet. I’d known this for some time before I started working with Body Refined Inc. It’s what drew me to this particular health coach in the first place; his focus on nutrition as the ultimate means to health and weight loss. That being said, I don’t think I fully understood the gravity of the statement that weight loss is 20% exercise and 80% diet. To me, this still meant that you eat healthy most days, but one or two small indulgences won’t kill you. You can have a cupcake if you want, or pizza on the weekends. You can still eat spaghetti if you make it a little healthier. Just cut back on a few things and substitute a few things and voila! Weight loss!
I learned that I had to eat MUCH cleaner than I thought, for MUCH longer than I thought, to see the weight loss I was expecting. I couldn’t go hard for a few days a week, indulge for a small portion of the week, and see significant drops in weight. That’s just not how it works. I had to come to grips with the fact that a lot of the things I loved had to be cut out of my life for a period of time longer than a couple of days. Maybe it doesn’t work that way for everyone, but for me, one less soda a day and taking the top bun off my burger did not a 10lb drop make. My health coach made a very specific plan that allotted for the appropriate amount of macronutrients for my body, and I’d have to eat that way for at least two weeks at a time before I could get a new option of something different to eat. And that something different did not include burgers or fries or any of the things I’d indulged in. It was good, healthy proteins, fats, and carbs. And it was this way, day in and day out, for stretches of time.
If I make it sound horrible, it wasn’t. It wasn’t that I was eating things I hated. It was that I wanted the food I was eating before. But that food was killing me slowly. The hard part was mentally getting passed the fact that I couldn’t have those old foods every now and then, and still somehow lose weight. The hard part was eating the same types of meals consistently. Truth be told, this is STILL the hardest part of this weight loss process. Cause when you are addicted to food like me, you never get used to it. That’s the cold hard math of it all. I don’t care how long I go without having those indulgent foods in my body, I still want them. Sure I don’t crave them like I used to when they were so high in my system, but that want? That desire for a specific taste? It doesn’t go away. So the fact of the matter is, you have to flex your mental muscles, every day, and work through it. It is tiring. It is draining. It is not easy, at least not for me. Some days I just didn’t care about sticking to the plan and I failed at it. Every month wasn’t a good month. I didn’t lose pounds consistently. And when I backslid it showed; most noticeably on the scale. I didn’t always gain pounds, but I certainly didn’t always lose. And when you are busting your butt working out, you want pounds lost to show for it. I still back slide some days now. But overall, I have more good days than bad. And when I follow the plan consistently for the period of time specified, the weight comes off; just like my coach said it would. And I also eventually started to get days where I’d get a “carb up” meal like pizza or pancakes. YOU BEST BELIEVE THOSE DAYS ARE GOLDEN IN MY EYES. Eventually, I will get to a point where my eating does not have to be so “regimented”… but right now, to lose, this is what it has to be. Once you get past that, and maintain a really clean diet for consistent lengths of time, that is when you TRULY see weight loss.
• You will die if you eat another piece of salmon/vegetable/ounce of water.
-That’s actually not true. You won’t.
Overall, this whole thing is a process. There has been ups and downs and I’m sure there will be more. Sometimes I feel like I do everything perfectly, diet and exercise wise, and I don’t see the changes I want. A few times I felt like I saw big changes when I wasn’t even trying that hard. Your body starts to lose differently after a while and things have to be adjusted. It an intricate dance between what needs to be done nutritionally and physically, and that scale moving down or that tape measure tightening up. It is a science to this whole thing. And I’m constantly learning new things about my body and about nutrition and exercise, with the guidance of my coach.
I still have fears though. I still have cravings. I still have struggles. I am not at my ideal weight and body fat and some days I still wonder if I will get there. But I look at how far I’ve come and I have to believe that it is possible. Because six months ago, I would have never believed I’d be where I am now. Six months ago, I did not know that this was possible… which gives me hope for the future. I want to live a long, healthy, happy life with a kickass bod. And for the immediate future, it’s beach season… And I’ve already ordered my two peace.