Four months before my second wedding anniversary, I came to a very strong realization. I no longer longer wanted to live my life ping-ponging between being slightly overweight to being slightly obese. I use the word ‘slightly’ because I would always catch myself before I went completely off the rails, and at my best, I was always between 5 and 10 pounds away from looking and feeling my best. That all changed before I got married, when I fully committed to doing whatever it took to reach my goal weight and fit into my wedding dress. I would describe myself as a pretty driven person, and I focused down on hitting my wedding goal weight by pulling out all of the stops. It wasn’t so much a strategy, as throwing everything against the wall and hoping something stuck. I knew what I wanted - to fit into my dress, and I kept that my central focus. I knew that everyone’s eyes were going to be on me when I walked down the aisle, and that kept me motivated through fear of humiliation as much as anything else.
And I did it. But as any bride will tell you, the whirlwind of your wedding day has just 24 hours, and just like any other day, after all of the planning, coordinating and crossing everything off the countless lists, your wedding day comes to an end just like any other. I had gotten into what I thought was the best shape of my life, and once I had pulled it off and the wedding photos had been snapped, I let it go. Within a year of getting married, I had gained all of the weight back, plus an extra handful that seemed to live directly on my butt. I had set a goal - to be the bride that I had always dreamed of being, and looking decent in my swimsuit on our honeymoon. Those were my fitness goals, and as you guys like to say here at BodyRock, I smashed them. But looking back, I realized a few things about my wedding fitness goals that I had wished I had realized sooner:
I realized that while having a goal of being in the best shape of my life for my wedding was a clear and specific goal, it didn’t take into account anything beyond my wedding day and by extension my honeymoon. There was no clear approach to my plan, it was a scrambled mix of desperation and unsustainable restriction. If I was prepared to be honest with myself (and thankfully I was), I wasn’t actually even in the best shape of my life - I was just skinny. I fit into my dress, but I hadn’t actually built any strength, I didn’t have muscle tone, my endurance was non-existent.
I had been successful at a completely surface level transformation, but I hadn’t built a body that could deliver actual long lasting results.
I’ve come to realize that true fitness is a journey, not a destination.
Secondly, I’ve come to realize that fitting into my dress was a goal that I set up to impress everyone else in my life. I didn’t do it for me, I did it to impress friends and family. I did it to have my ‘princess’ moment. That’s me being brutally honest with myself. If I had done it for myself, I would have kept at it, I would have formulated an actual plan, I would have put in the effort to build my body, not just shrink it by any means necessary.
So I spent some time recalibrating my thinking. I set some new goals, ones that didn’t involve looking a particular way for the benefit of other people. I set goals for myself and I can tell you that rooting your goals within yourself feels markedly different than setting them down in the shallow soil of other people's approval. What other people think of me is none of my business, and I’m not going to allow the fear of other people's opinion of me get in the way of what I want in this life, my fitness included.
In addition to doing a major reset of my perspective, I followed these 5 basic strategies to lose just over 30 pounds in 4.5 months.
This time I can say that I did it for me, and I’m actually in the best shape of my life - I’m stronger, faster and more agile than I’ve ever been, and I’m also leaner, with the beginnings of some really nice athletic muscle tone. This is exactly how I did it.
I wanted a simple diet plan. I decided to start Intermittent Fasting for Women. I had done my research, and I wanted a diet plan with the fewest rules and the least amount of complexity that packed the biggest weight-loss punch. This is, incidentally, how I found BodyRock. I started following your fasting plan that was specifically designed for women, so that I wouldn’t have to worry about knocking my hormones out of whack (this can happen if women try and follow intermittent fasting plans designed for men). I started with a 12 hour fasting window, which I lined up with getting 8 hours of sleep to help minimize the initial fasting challenge. Sleeping through the majority of my fast helped to ease me into the practice. I stepped it up and followed the plan to 14 hours and even tried 16 hours as I got months into it. Fasting allowed me to still enjoy foods that I actually loved because the focus is less on what you are eating and more on when you are eating it. I found it a much easier approach for me. Magically, you also require less food to feel full.
I started taking sleep seriously. Like a lot of people, my approach to sleep has always been that sleep is a ‘nice to have’, but I could get through life without getting enough of it. Putting it another way, NetFlix would get priority over sleeping, even if I knew I had a big day ahead of me. I allowed myself to binge watch another episode of whatever show I was watching, even if it encroached on my wellness. After reading up on how important sleep is to fitness and weight loss, I decided to get serious about my sleep schedule, and planned on getting at least 8 hours of sleep per night. This changed my life. I’ve come to understand that giving yourself 8 hours of sleep per night is crucial for everything from mental health, career performance, fitness and fat-loss. Sleep is a basic level of self-care, one that I now put in the same priority category as hygiene. I now prioritize myself when it comes to sleep and I can never go back to constantly feeling like a pile of half charged batteries. I can’t make it through my day if my phone isn’t charged - how can I expect anything more of myself?
I started eating protein at every meal. Like most women that I know, I was hopelessly under-consuming protein. I was skipping protein entirely in most cases, pushing green salads around my plate and trying to pretend that I was ok feeling hungry after I ate. This was pure crazy making. Once I became aware of how important protein is to fitness and weight loss, I followed the fasting plan and started making sure that I was eating protein with every meal. The added protein that I started eating not only was key in helping me build long lean muscle tone, but it also helped me feel full, which helped me cut down on overeating. I learned (from you guys at BodyRock) that protein increases the production of a hormone that signals to my brain that I’m full.
I cut way down on processed foods. I started making a serious effort to cut out just about anything that came packaged in a box at the grocery store. Then, after the second month, I started skipping anything that was packaged in a bag. For meats, I cut out the salt and additive loaded deli-meat packages and started cooking ground turkey, chicken breasts (and sometimes ground chicken). I picked up fresh produce, fresh vegetables and avoided anything that had an artificially long shelf-life. Fresh is best.
I started with a month-long workout program on BodyRockPlus called ‘The Beginner Bootcamp’ that was actually achievable. This was the best approach to working out again that I have ever taken. It was challenging, but do-able. I sweat, but I didn’t feel lacking, or like a failure. For someone just getting back into fitness, the Beginner Bootcamp 1.0 was absolutely perfect for me. After I completed the Beginner Bootcamp 1.0, I started 2.0 - another full month of workouts, but I also added Intro to Strength Training, and the Kick Start Bootcamp, so that I could start to build a body that would do most of the work around fat-loss for me.
The program taught me the basics of strength training, and allowed me to progress even further with my fitness. By the end of the second month, I was ready to take on more advanced programs, and I’ve been working my way through the workouts and programs ever since. Having a starting place that was designed for beginners made embracing fitness as a daily lifestyle practice achievable for me.
By halfway through my 4th month, I was training 5 days a week (and looking forward to my workouts). I was sleeping and more rested than ever, and I had a diet plan in place that was working for me and allowing me to still eat things that I love. I would love to credit the 30+lbs that I have lost to my own determination and effort, but again, if I’m going to be honest with myself, that was only half the battle. Having a plan, following a program and getting enough sleep was what enabled me to continue and reach my goals. Changing my perspective and wanting to do this for myself as an act of self-care and self love, and not just focusing on the superficial changes was a huge part of this. I can look anyone in the eyes and say from the heart that I did this for me, and that feels as good to me as how my clothes fit now or how I look in the mirror. I celebrate quietly, in my heart. Thank you for helping me get here, and for allowing me the privilege of sharing my story. Onwards and upwards.
You can get a full year of BodyRockPlus - including the Beginner Bootcamp workout series and all of our other programs for just $69 for the full year with code XMAS69 - just type XMAS69 in when signing up to take advantage of our Holiday special.