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After Years Of Diet And Exercise, This One Change Helped Her Lose Weight

September 08, 2015 3 min read

Although she was once a "stick thin school girl," Dell Farrell, found herself more than 20 pounds overweight after going off to college. dell She tried everything to lose weight. Diets, cleanses, even pills. Farrell says, "I also started a crazy-intense exercise routine. While eating 1,200 calories a day (and sometimes less), I endured six days a week of Muay Thai and CrossFit workouts—and I still wasn’t losing weight. Plus, I couldn’t sleep at night. I was burnt out, stressed, and hating myself for not being able to lose weight despite my insane eating and exercise habits. But even after all of that, I continued to gain weight." At 152 pounds with a body fat percentage of 33, Farrell was considered obese. She was fed up with being heavy and fed up with the bad advice she'd received over the years and set out to really learn what makes her body function. She began the journey toward becoming a personal trainer. And although the training course work was still functioning on outdated beliefs about food, she eventually pressed forward landing on the idea of eating a balanced diet. She says, "I read about the importance of eating a balanced diet that doesn't eliminate sugary foods or carbohydrates. After everything I'd tried, I figured it was worth a shot." dell2 She reintroduced carbs and started a 2,000 calories a day plan. She kept up her Crossfit and Muay Thai classes and no longer deprived herself of the things she loves to eat, like ice cream. She said even having a small cup of ice cream on most days didn't stop her weight loss once she balanced the rest of her diet. Of the changes she says, "Before, depending on the diet I was trying, my meals would range from green smoothies with coconut oil to glasses of lemon juice water, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper. Now, I was eating oatmeal and veggie-packed omelets for breakfast; sweet potatoes, chicken, and veggies for lunch; and tacos for dinner." dell3 Now that the diet was in place, Farrell began the hunt for the perfect trainer. Thanks to Instagram, she was able to find one close by. His focus was on flexible dieting and heavy lifting. Although unable to do a single pull up at their first meeting, it was a perfect fitness match. She started heavy lifting four days a week and when she wasn't doing that, she was doing cardio she loved like hiking or walking the dog. Farrell began to track her workouts and changed them up every six weeks instead of making more frequent attempts to 'shock' her muscles. By giving herself the six weeks, she was able to build strength and muscle which, in turn, lead to burning more calories. dell4 Two years later, Farrell has gone from 152 pounds to 119 and has brought her body fat percentage from 33 to 20! She can also "do six pullups, deadlift 264 pounds, and squat 200!" Farrell says that working out now brings her joy and energy instead of wiping her out and draining her. Her work as a personal trainer allows her to help other women who feel trapped the same way she once did. What are her tips for you? Dell’s Tips Lift heavy. Some of my clients worry that lifting will make them bulky. But it's the fat on top of the muscle that makes you look that way. If you get lean through your diet and lift heavy, you'll look and feel stronger, not bigger. I used to shy away from lifting really heavy weights for that reason, but once my trainer got me lifting more weight than I ever thought I could, I ended up getting leaner than I had ever been. Don't change everything at once. For years, I tried to makeover my body through elimination diets and all-consuming workout routines. But I learned those aren't sustainable or healthy. So instead of taking an all-or-nothing approach, I focus on making today five percent better than yesterday. For me, this means lifting just a couple more pounds, cooking one more meal in place of grabbing takeout, or going to bed 30 minutes earlier. Don't be afraid of carbs. Once I started eating oats, quinoa, whole-grain bread, and even the occasional sugary treat, I found that I had so much more energy to burn at the gym. My workouts didn’t feel so grueling, and I was able to get a lot more out of them. Plus, I had more energy for everyday activities like walking my dog and taking the stairs. Is this enough to make you consider a more balanced diet and routine? Source: Women's Health  

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