When I found out I was on the fast track to diabetes and a number of other health issues, I decided I didn’t want that life for myself. I know people whose health has been impacted by obesity, and I didn’t want to end up that way.
When I began taking back my health by trying to lose weight, I started slowly. I knew that if I rushed into a huge lifestyle change I would fall off track like I had all the other times. I first began by changing my diet and then slowly incorporated an exercise routine into my plan.
When I first started out trying to lose weight, I decided to cut down on carbs. A low-carb, high-fat diet allowed me to continue eating some foods that I enjoyed, like cheeseburgers and tacos—just without the bread. Instead of rice, I made cauliflower rice and I switched from pasta to zucchini noodles. Once I saw the scale start to move, I kept doing what I was doing because it was clearly working. Then I swapped soda and juices for water or other flavored, zero-calorie drinks.
As time went on, I started to allow myself complex carbs, such as fruit or oatmeal, on days when my workouts were more intense. I find that at this point in my weight-loss journey, allowing my body to have a carb-up day really helps me stay on track. I’m not as tempted to cheat or binge on high-calorie, processed food.
A typical day of eating for me starts with eggs and bacon with avocado or cottage cheese and nuts and raspberries. I follow that up with lunch, which I pre-prepare three days at a time. Usually, I make chicken or ground turkey with veggies, avocado, and a handful of nuts.
I like to keep dinner simple with chicken on a bed of greens with ranch or a taco salad with cheese, salsa, and avocado.
At the beginning of my journey, I was strictly doing cardio workouts. This was mainly due to the fact that it was the only thing I knew how to do. My cardio sessions consisted of one hour on the treadmill, twice a day (once before work and once after), six days a week.
About six months into my weight loss, I was down 55 pounds and joined a CrossFit gym called CrossFit Inversion. This gym has completely changed my life. It incorporates every type of workout including cardio, weightlifting, gymnastics, and strength training all at different intensity levels. I always leave feeling extremely strong and accomplished after every single session. This is where I truly fell in love with weight training. Now, I always look forward to lifting days and the new opportunities to challenge myself. Today, I do CrossFit six days a week, usually with one day of rest. (You can sculpt your arms and tighten your tummy with the energizing—and fun—routines from Prevention‘s Flat Belly Barre!)
I started sharing my weight-loss journey on Instagram after being so motivated by seeing other women take back their lives and sharing it in a similar fashion. Posting before and after photos and non-scale victories helped me gain a following, which led to other women reaching out and asking for my advice. When I feel like giving up, I remember that there are people watching me for inspiration. It’s a constant reminder that I should do the right thing every day for myself—but also for them. I want to show my followers that natural weight loss is possible. I interact with people from all over the world and it’s become an amazing support group. There’s no way I would have gotten this far without them.
My life has completely changed for the better. Most importantly, I’ve become so much more active. I can do things like travel comfortably and walk all day without becoming tired. I have huge amounts of energy compared to before, which really makes life a lot easier. Also, my confidence has sky-rocketed! I feel good in my skin and am very proud of how far I have come. I am dating more, going out more, and enjoying aspects of life I really didn’t before.
People ask me for my advice frequently and I am a firm believer in waiting for the right time to lose weight. I tried to lose weight so many times before and always failed because I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t prepared to put in the work or fix my bad eating habits. Timing truly is everything. For some people it might take hitting rock-bottom, but I just woke up one day and the light switch went on. I knew it was time for me to get healthy the right way, and by setting small, realistic goals for myself, I was able to make real changes.