Today People Magazine online ran a story on weight being just a number, featuring my transformation photo (above) and excerpts from an interview I did. If you follow me on Instagram you definitely know this by now because I completely lost my #%*! and posted it several times on my stories. Awkward! Anyway the piece concisely articulated the message I hoped to convey but I also want to show you the full Q&A, as it might answer questions or help anyone who is having a tough time finding a regimen that works! xo
What was your lifestyle like in 2016 when you took the first of those three 125-lb. photos?
In 2014 I got sober after nearly dying from drug and alcohol addiction. I spent a year focusing on my emotional well being before I addressed my physical health, and when I finally did I was so misguided. I thought “healthy” meant lean with abs so that’s what I pursued, and by all the wrong measures. I all but completely cut carbohydrates out of my diet, ate about twice the protein someone my size should, did a lot of cardio and attempted some random weight exercises. I felt aimless, bloated, lethargic and just completely frustrated.
Did you feel like you were physically healthy then?
I felt like I should have been healthy because in my mind, I was doing all the right things, but in fact I felt the opposite. My energy wasn’t consistent and I had very little strength and endurance, and I couldn’t tone up no matter how hard I tried.
How did you feel mentally?
I was incredibly frustrated; in every other aspect of my life I was finally thriving, and I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t seem to catch up physically. I felt like I had no control over my body, like it didn’t belong to me, and like I was missing something that others had.
What pushed you to revamp your diet and exercise routine?
At the time I followed girls on Instagram who did Kayla Itsines’ BBG program and I couldn’t believe their progress. I thought for sure they were exercising excessively and restricting their food intake. Regardless I was desperate so I gave it a shot. I started doing the workouts in my apartment because I was too self conscious to go to a gym.
What changes did you make?
After a few weeks of doing BBG (3 – 28 minute high intensity body weight resistance workouts, and 2-3 35 minute low intensity cardio sessions – walking on an incline for example) something inside me had shifted; I could feel myself getting stronger each time I did a workout and my relationship with food improved. My motivation was still primarily aesthetically driven but I also wanted to get stronger, so I looked at food as fuel and workouts as personal challenges to overcome. Carbohydrates and I became friends again, and I began exercising in gym. I craved working out for the first time in my life.
When did you take that middle photo? How did you feel at that point?
I took the middle photo several months into BBG, after I had completed a full round. I felt so proud of my body but more importantly I was proud of myself for being consistent and overcoming the challenging workouts. Also, I wasn’t restricting anymore and had a much more balanced approach to nutrition and exercise. I felt good on the inside, so I liked what I saw in the mirror.
What are your eating and exercise habits now?
I am definitely the most balanced I have ever been in regards to nutrition and exercise. I still follow BBG but have tried other programs intermittently, and I love them all. I find that the structure and accessibility a workout program or app provides simplifies the exercise part of the equation. I just do whatever is laid out in front of me and trust the process, it’s that simple. Also, the workouts push me harder than I would if I were left to my own devices. If it’s just me on my own, I’m just going to stop when it starts burning. I also incorporated tracking macronutrients last winter which isn’t for everybody but was incredibly freeing for me. Again, it took the guesswork out of what I was going to eat and when, where, why and how. During the week I eat planned meals that I prepare – way more food than you would believe! – and during the weekend I just eat intuitively. But I am not stringent about anything; I think people assume I eat leaves all day but really I’m over here eating three desserts after dinner. And I take many days, weekends, and weeks off.
How do you feel today?
Today I feel strong, energetic, and proud of what I have accomplished. I’m glad there is no magic pill (or tea – sorry but here isn’t) because the journey taught me patience, self love and perseverance. I’m more concerned with how I feel than with how I look, but the byproduct of living a healthy lifestyle has been a healthy body.
Were you surprised that the number on the scale stayed the same throughout your body transformation?
Initially I was obsessed with the number on the scale. I thought if I could just get it lower and be a certain weight that I would feel better about myself. It was disconcerting when the number didn’t change at first but my clothes fit better and I felt so good that I was able to ignore it. Progress photos, vain as they are, became my primary barometer and they were a much more effective tool for gauging where I was physically. I saw definition peaking through and realized the weight was muscle.
What do you think that says about weight?
Some people do have to lose weight for health reasons or because they are overweight and I don’t want to invalidate that. But scales also can’t differentiate between muscle, fat, bones, tissue and water. There are more accurate ways to measure body composition and that is ultimately what is important. I get messages everyday from women all over the world of all ages asking how to lose weight. It’s makes me sad to know how much value people give that number., and how much it can control somebody. I know because I’ve been there.