Baby Steps: How I Went From Couch Potato to Gym Rat

In my extensive weight loss attempt history, the thing I have always dreaded the most was exercise. I would watch shows like The Biggest Loser, and see all of these poor souls sweating, panting, looking like they were moments away from death.img_7883 Jumping around while a trainer screamed at them, like in one of those westerns where the gunslinger starts shooting at the feet of the local saloon loudmouth yelling, “DANCE!” This usually continued until they were in tears, while someone coaxed them into discussing their self-loathing and daddy issues. It looked awful, and I wanted no part of it. Staying chubby seemed like an okay option in comparison.

My Brief Exercise History

Never in my life did I think that I would be a person that enjoyed going to the gym. The first time I can remember actually “exercising”, was when I was a junior in high school. I wanted to lose a little weight before prom. So my strategy was to cut out fried foods, and to do this exercise video that I’m pretty sure was purchased by my mom before I was born. It was the perfect specimen of eighties fitness, complete with high cut leotards and sweat bands. It was a full body workout, including lots of marching in place and exercises for your facial muscles. Super attractive. It was enough for my speedy sixteen year old metabolism though, and I was able to drop about twenty pounds.

The next time I lost a significant amount of weight, was a few years after my first son was born. He had finally gotten to that sweet toddler age where I couldn’t use the excuse anymore, “I just had a baby.” I think once they’re potty trained you’ve milked it for as long as possible. This time though, I wasn’t sixteen anymore, and I wasn’t messing around. I was pulling out the big guns. I got myself a bottle of Phentermine and decided I was going to start running.img_7884.jpgI wasn’t looking forward to the idea, but I thought that’s what you had to do to lose weight fast, so I’d better learn to enjoy it. So per the usual, I created a whole secret Pinterest board dedicated to my new hobby, and subscribed to Runner’s World. I started eating next to nothing, because of the appetite suppressant, and downloaded Couch to 5K. It totally worked! The only problem was, I was eventually going to have to stop taking the medication. My appetite would return, and there was this other little issue, I hated running. I got so bored. Most of the time I would run outside at the park so that I would have some scenery or other runners to look at, but I couldn’t stay focused. My mind would wander, and I would end up walking out of pure boredom. I’m sure there are truly people in this world that love running. I’m sure it makes them feel on top of the world, like they can smash through walls and flip cars with their bare hands. I am not one of those people. Which sort of made me feel like I would always eventually fail at losing any significant amount of weight, because I didn’t enjoy the one activity I had always thought was the best thing for weight loss.

Thank God, one day I reconnected with a friend from high school. He was very into fitness, and was the first person to introduce me to the concepts of flexible dieting with a heavier emphasis on resistance training. I don’t know that I ever fessed up to him that I had been taking Phentermine, but regardless, I’m fairly certain he was appalled at how little I had been eating. He also explained to me why cardio wasn’t the end all be all for weight loss. Imagine my relief. I took his advice as a permission slip and stopped running pretty much immediately.

Back to Square One

I was just starting to really learn about strength training and nutrition, when life happened and I did a complete U-turn. I packed all of that weight back on that I had lost and was so stressed (even though it wasn’t a bad stress, just a lot of changes happening in my life), that I completely pushed that part of my life to the side so that I could focus on other things. When the fog finally lifted, I was shocked and embarrassed by how quickly I had swung in the other direction. If you’ve read any of my other blog posts like Mommy Fell Into the Wormhole , you kind of know what happened next. I had to figure out how to actually eat.

After I figured out the nutrition piece and dropped my first forty pounds or so, I started to make this shift where I actually craved something more.img_4215 I wanted to take things up a notch, but this time around I knew myself well enough to know that I wasn’t going to start running. Even though I had worked out a few times with my friend from high school years before, doing his workouts, I really had no idea how to begin to plan my own workouts. So I went back to the basics. I joined Planet Fitness and started doing their 30 minute workout. If you’ve never been to a Planet Fitness, they have an area, away from the main gym area, where they have several machines set up in a circle. The machines are numbered and there’s a timer that dings when it’s time to move to the next machine. I loved this when I first started because I could go to a less crowded area of the gym, fiddle with the machines without feeling like people could tell I had no clue what I was doing, and get a full body workout that I didn’t have to plan out for myself.

When I felt like I was ready to take it up another notch, I got on bodybuilding.com and started working my way through Jamie Eason’s Livefit Program . From there I just started tweaking things as I went along, figuring out which exercises I felt were the most effective for me on each muscle group. I just kept pushing myself little by little out of my comfort zone. I scheduled the gym into my day, and went even when I didn’t feel like it. One day, magically, I didn’t have to force myself to go anymore. I actually wanted to go, because I loved it. I loved having that time to myself, and I actually didn’t feel like I wanted to die when I finished. I felt strong and less stressed out.

Maybe most shockingly, even though I didn’t leave the gym in a puddle of sweat and tears, I was seeing great results, without doing any cardio or sobbing while doing a plank and addressing all of my innermost feelings.img_7875 People weren’t watching me, and nobody made me feel stupid. Everybody was there to try to take care of themselves, just like I was.  I know what you’re thinking, “Cardio is good for your heart health.” No argument there. From my experience though, weight training can also have many cardiac benefits. I can remember going to the doctor my whole life and always getting asked if I was nervous because my resting heart rate was always about 100 beats per minute. I wasn’t nervous, I was just chubby and out of shape. However, since starting resistance training, my resting heart rate is normally 50-60 beats per minute, and considered in the “fit” category. Who would’ve thought!

Learning to Get Out of My Own Way

One thing that I am still constantly having to remind myself of, is that things are never as hard or as scary as I build them up to be in my head. While I feel like I keep it together pretty well on the outside most of the time, on the inside I can sometimes feel like Bob Wiley from “What About Bob?”img_7885 “What if my heart stops beating? What if I’m looking for a bathroom, I can’t find it, and…my bladder explodes?” I just needed to find my inner Dr. Leo Marvin to tell me to take baby steps and quit being so dramatic. If you have your own inner Bob, let me be the one to stop you before you have to do some “explosion therapy”. I totally get how you feel. I felt like I had no idea what I was doing at the gym and it might as well have been tattooed on my forehead. After I went a few times though, I quickly realized no one was even paying attention to me. If you can step out of your comfort zone a little, I can’t tell you how much it does for you physically and mentally. For one whole hour, I get to feel like a real adult person. Nobody is pooping their pants or screaming at me to get them milk. I don’t have to think about what bills I need to pay or everything I need to do that day. My mind isn’t being pulled in a million different directions, and I can really take some time to unwind. Whenever you feel like you’re ready for more, I highly suggest you give it a shot!

Finding Your Willpower

Willpower, discipline, motivation. Call it what you want, willpower is a lot like money. We know we need it, we all wish we had more of it, but it always seems to disappear as soon as we get a taste of it. See ya tax return! If you have struggled with your weight at all, you have probably told yourself that you just don’t have enough of it. Most of the time, when we start a diet, we’re extremely motivated. Whatever it was that gave us that initial spark of determination, we run with it, gritting our teeth until we can’t stand one more freaking salad or piece of grilled chicken, and then we crack. In my last post, My Little Bag of Tricks , I talked about some practical things you could do to keep yourself from hitting plateaus and burn out. But this week I wanted to talk more in-depth about the discipline mindset, and how I’ve been able to keep myself moving in the right direction.

Motivation Never Lasts

Over the last year and a half, I have heard two things a lot when someone finds out how much weight I’ve been able to lose. “You’re so disciplined,” and “I wish I had your willpower.” One thing I want you to know, is that while I guess I was very motivated, or “disciplined” in the beginning, I don’t feel like I am now. The first few months into my weight loss, I was determined. I knew my body would lose weight if I learned how to make it, in a way that was sustainable and didn’t make me feel deprived. During those first few months, the biggest thing that could’ve thrown me off was the useless things that I loved to tell myself. “This is going to take forever,” “You don’t have time to deal with this right now,” “This is just the body type that you have so you might as well get used to it.” img_7772 In those moments, I did need the discipline to push those thoughts out of my head so that I could keep going. But willpower can only get us so far.

I heard a great quote on a Podcast one time that summed it up perfectly, it was from the book The One Thing by Gary Keller. He said, “Success is actually a short race- a sprint fueled by discipline just long enough for habit to kick in and take over.” Gary Keller is the founder of Keller Williams Realty, and although he was referring to business when he said this, I feel like this can apply to just about anything you’re trying to succeed in. Weight loss, business, leveling up on Candy Crush, if you can consistently keep your head in the game, just long enough for good habits to form, then your success is inevitable.

How I Knew My Habits Had Changed

I can’t recall exactly when it happened. I was just trucking along, meal prepping, experimenting, trying to find a gym routine that I liked. I was just taking it a week, a few pounds, or sometimes a few hours at a time. Pushing myself forward until my next mental sanity meal, watching my weight consistently follow the same pattern. Up one week, a big drop the next, back and forth. Then one day, something came up. I don’t remember if I got called in to work or what happened. All I know is that it was my meal prep day, and I was ticked off. Like in an actual teenage temper tantrum, “You’re ruining my life” kind of way. I, Melissa, the fast food-loving, excuse-finding, circumstance-blamer, was angry that I wasn’t going to be able to do my meal prep. I was so mad that I was determined to find a way to make it work anyway. Instead of throwing my hands up and calling that week a bust, I just found meals that were similar to what I would’ve meal prepped, and cooked my food the next possible day I could. That’s still what I do to this day if something comes up, because stuff will always randomly come up. That was my first little glimmer of hope that I was actually changing my lifestyle.

The next time I knew was similar, but had to do with the gym. A kid was sick, or my child care fell through. Something out of my control came up, and I wasn’t going to be able to go. Again, I was full-blown angry inside.img_7711 In the past I would’ve been happy to have any excuse to skip the gym, especially a legit good one! I honestly used to think that people who said they enjoyed going to the gym were full of crap or lying to themselves, but here I sat, mad and pouting because my whole routine was going to get thrown out of whack! I was irritated because this had become habitual, my routine, and it was being disrupted.

Find a Way To Keep Pushing

My advice is to just keep moving forward. Successful people aren’t successful because they’re smarter or better than you. They’re successful because they consistently pushed past their excuses when things got uncomfortable, and just did it anyway when other people would have quit.

For the first several months, your brain is going to be going crazy, trying to keep you in your comfort zone. We already know our normal, safe patterns of behavior. We go on a diet, something out of our control happens, we cave, and we go back to what we know. Look at this as an experiment and see what happens if you don’t. See what happens when you think outside of the box and make it work. It doesn’t matter if it takes you 6 months or a year to form new habits, because this is a lifestyle, not a diet. There are no deadlines or “goal dates”. If you can tell your brain to shut up for a while, habit will kick in and make this so much easier. I mean one day you may even wake up, eat your meal prepped breakfast, go to the gym, and realize you actually have some little shoulder muscles peeking through! Once it’s a habit, the time flies by! A year and a half later, I really don’t feel like I’m still “trying to lose weight”, but I am continuing to lose body fat and make progress because of habit, not because of willpower.

Never in my wildest chubby girl dreams, did I ever think that I would be the person I am right now. img_7659Sure, maybe I’ve faked it for short periods of time for the wrong reasons. I even subscribed to Runner’s World for a whole year once, trying to convince myself that I liked running. I thought that’s what you had to do to lose weight, so I better learn to like it! Imagine my relief when a good friend informed me otherwise. Mind-blowing.

I’m sharing my story here, and on my Instagram, not to brag, or get a pat on the back, but because I feel like there’s still so much misinformation out there about weight loss. I swear it’s like they’re trying to keep us fat! I want other women to know that it’s possible to do this. I don’t feel like I’ve done anything that someone else couldn’t have done. I hardly ever eat salads and I loathe cardio! That being said, I feel like mindset and discipline are two of the hardest things to teach. Anyone can give you a meal plan and a workout routine, but it’s hard to get in someone’s head and get them to keep pushing. But if you can consistently have the mental strength to get past those thoughts of not caring, or wanting to quit, I promise one day you won’t have to. Keep going, keep planning meals and keep experimenting with exercise, even when you don’t feel like it. One day it won’t take willpower, because it will be just like brushing your teeth!

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My Little Bag of Tricks

In my last blog post, Why “Eat Less, Move More” is Crap, I talked about how stubborn and focused I can get when I set my mind to something. I guess obsessive would be the correct term, although that makes me sound slightly psychotic. I prefer driven. So when I decided to finally get my head out of my rear and lose weight, I wanted it done yesterday. Don’t get me wrong, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with harnessing that initial motivation while it’s there, but I wanted to address how to tackle plateaus, and set yourself up for long-term success.

Go Hard Or Go Home

Raise your hand if your weight loss efforts generally go something like this. The motivation strikes. Maybe your clothes were getting tight, or maybe somebody tagged you in a picture that made you want to delete your entire Facebook account. Can I just say, whoever created the approval feature for Facebook tagging, I’d like to kiss you on the mouth. Anything can generate that initial spark. So then you panic, you’ve got to do something now. You have to start tracking your calories, so you download an app to help.img_7643 You plug in all of your information, height, weight, activity level, goal weight. You press enter, and then gaze, horrified at the amount of calories this stupid app is telling you to eat. There has to be a mistake, you’ll never lose weight eating that much, and if you do, it’s going to take an eternity. Okay, now regroup. If this app is telling you to eat that many calories and you’ll lose 1-2 pounds a week, let’s see how quick you can lose it if you just go ahead and drop that sucker right down to 1,200 calories per day.

This was my exact thought process, every time I would try to lose weight in the past. Slow and steady is for losers! Go hard, or go home! 1,200 calories a day for some reason has become the set point for women when going on a diet, and for the life of me I still don’t know where that number came from.

Your Body is Trying to Keep You Alive

I don’t like slow and steady, but as I came to learn from experience, it really is the best way, but maybe not for the reason you might think. I’m not a terribly patient person when it comes to weight loss. However, in all of my extensive YouTube research, I finally came across a video that explained the reasoning behind it, in a way that made me stop kicking my feet, having a temper tantrum about it, and listen.

The reason you want to start your weight loss slow, at the highest possible calories, isn’t because you necessarily want the weight to come off slow. Who in their right mind wants that? You start slow, because if you start off losing weight eating 1,200 calories a day, 20g of carbs, and going crazy in the gym with cardio, eventually your body is going to rebel. Our bodies are naturally designed to keep us alive during times of famine. So when you’re putting your body through a self-induced famine, it’s going to try to protect itself. The dreaded “starvation mode”. Cravings, fatigue, mind games, and holding onto body fat, are just some of the ways your body will try to survive that stress you’re putting it through. This is why eventually, we all hit a plateau or completely go off the rails and go into binge mode.

Take It Easy

If we start out slow, eating the maximum amount of calories and carbs possible for us to see results, and limit our cardio, then we have some wiggle room to make adjustments. Adjustments would be things like, dropping our calories by 100 a day, maybe dropping our carbs slightly, or increasing our cardio as a last resort. I shudder to think. Basically, you just start making small adjustments to let your body know that it’s okay to keep letting go of body fat. img_7644“Mental Sanity Meals” are also important here, because while it may seem like you’re slowing your progress, they can actually be important for replenishing your glycogen (which is how our body stores carbs for energy), and telling your body that you’re not actually starving to death.

On the flip side, if we start a diet like a maniac, going all out, white knuckling from day one, there’s really no room to make adjustments. Are you going to be able to realistically drop your calories from 1,200 to 1,000 per day? I couldn’t! Or maybe you started out doing an hour of cardio 4 days a week. Are you going to be able to sustain that schedule or add another day or two? Heck no, don’t put me down for cardio!

Long Term Strategy

It can be so tempting to ride that motivation high and go crazy in the first few weeks of a diet, but it’s so important to think about the long-term strategy. You can lose weight consistently and steadily without going nuts in the process. Don’t back yourself into a corner by pulling out all the tricks on day one. Maybe try thinking about it like a relationship. Do you want the quick spark and then the atom bomb explosion where you bury your face in a tub of ice cream for a week? Or do you want the long-lasting steady flame? Keep your body guessing and keep some things in your back pocket for later! Start by experimenting with however many calories your app or calculator told you to eat to be in a caloric deficit. If you’re consistently seeing the scale drop 1-2 pounds a week, great! Keep eating that much until you start seeing your weight loss getting slower or stalling out for a few weeks. Then you can make small tweaks to get the ball rolling again.

One huge mindset shift we have to make, is not getting caught up in the length of time it takes to really make this a lifestyle change.img_6942 The things you do to get the weight off, will be the things you have to do to keep it off, so don’t do anything nutty. Even if it takes you 2 years to get to your goal, what’s 2 years in the grand scheme of your life? If it means slow, consistent weight loss, that sets you up to reach your goals in a way that’s maintainable and realistic, those 2 years will fly by. I would much rather spend one to two years, totally focused on creating lifestyle changes, than to look back 10 years from now and still be worrying about the same 40 to 50 pounds that I keep having to lose over and over. With the right strategy and mindset, we can teach our body to work with us, and not against us.

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Why “Eat Less, Move More” is Crap

It sounds so simple, Eat less, move more. Any idiot can do it. So here’s my problem, if it’s this simple, why are there so many educated, intelligent people, still struggling with their weight?

First, a little back story. In the words of Sophia Petrillo, “picture it”, I’m nineteen years old, married, in school, and working at a small hospital. Like most people overwhelmed with the stress of school and work, I put on a little weight. Not a lot, but enough that my clothes were getting tight. img_7595-1So finally one day, I got up the courage to ask one of the dietitians that worked at the hospital, if she had any tips as to what I could do to lose those extra pounds. I figured if anybody knew, she would. Imagine my disgust when she, without even looking up from what she was doing, uttered those four nasty little words, “Eat less, move more.” You don’t say. Insert eye roll.

Now at this time in my life, I had no clue about flexible dieting, macros, or nutrition. However, even then, I distinctly recall having the immediate thought, “what a load of crap.”

Obviously I never asked again, and went on to go through years of the ups and downs of the diet/binge cycle. Thanks for the earth-shattering advice!

It’s Not That Simple

“Eat less, move more” is not the answer. It’s so much more complicated than that. When you hear those words, while they may be true in a very broad sense, they don’t even begin to address the real reasons why we can’t lose weight. Calories in versus calories out is only the tip of the iceberg.

The reason we don’t lose weight isn’t because we don’t know how. It’s pretty common knowledge these days, that to lose body fat, you have to burn more calories than you eat. We don’t have to get all reflective and mushy about the reasons why we gained weight necessarily. For me it was simply apathy and stress. The reason we can’t lose weight, is because we can’t keep our head in the game long enough for habit to take over. We haven’t decided to really commit to doing it.

The “Kinda” Zone

I was forever stuck in the “kinda” zone. I “kinda” need to eat better, I “kinda” need to lose weight, I “kinda” would like to look better. It took me a while of feeling horrible in my body and feeling embarrassed about how much I had let myself go. Finally, I made the choice to change my mindset and do what it took to change my body. img_7596

Our success starts and continues with our mindset. We have to decide that it doesn’t matter how long it takes, there are no deadlines. We need a true lifestyle change in order for this to be sustainable. Even if that means doing what seems like the harder thing, of not just following a diet plan, but learning how to make our own.

We women are unstoppable when we decide. Ask my husband, when I get something in my head, and I decide I want to do it, I’m freaking doing it. I obsess about it until it’s done. I’m sure people would say the same thing about you. We are powerful and capable when we move from “kinda” to actually truly deciding.

We’re More Powerful Than We Think

We’re way more complicated and powerful than “eat less, move more”. All that tells me, is that I’m an idiot for not being able to do this. img_7598Now go starve yourself and run on the treadmill. Both of these things sound horrible to me now, and sounded even worse when I was 100 pounds heavier. A dumbed down answer like that just doesn’t do it for me. If it was that simple, no one would struggle with their weight.

Taking Action

If you can be a sponge, figure out your why, and truly decide that this is something that you want to accomplish, then you can. You can decide that you’re going to figure this out for the last time. Let it be a process. Understand that it will be trial and error. But when the errors happen, you course correct and move on. I have said this before, but I’ll continue saying it, this is all a mental game. It’s not all about “looking better”. My true motivation this time around, has been to just physically feel better. img_7597What has been an unexpected surprise to me, is that while my confidence increased some from looking better, the main reason my confidence increased, was because I set a huge goal, and I accomplished it. I decided I was smarter and more complex than “eat less, move more” made me feel. I decided that I was going to look at this like a calculated, scientific experiment, and that I was going to do what I needed to do mentally, to keep going and see what would happen. I was going to eat and train smarter. So much can change in a year if you keep going. I’m nothing special. My body functions just like everybody else’s. Truly, if I can do this, you can do this. It all starts with your mindset and your decision.

YouTube is My Guru

I have officially categorized myself as a “dabbler”. I’m not sure why, but every few months or so, I get the itch. I have a thought, about how I would like to learn how to do something new, and quickly, I escalate from questioning how, to full-blown obsession. I’m all in, or I don’t care about it at all. I guess this can be a strength or a weakness.

The Parade of Hobbies

One time it was cake decorating. I loved watching baking shows on TV, and Lord knows I love cake! It sounded like the thing for me! I knew nothing about decorating cakes, but I got on YouTube, and looked it up! Viola! I’m decorating cakes, cake pops, cupcakes, you name it. I even took a cake decorating class at Michael’s with my mom, and may have accidentally squirted icing in a lady’s hair. It’s kind of hazy. Until my mom reminds me of it once a year or so, because she thought it was hilarious.

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Next, it was knitting. I thought, if I can learn this cake decorating stuff on YouTube, I bet there are videos about knitting too. It seemed like it would be relaxing. Before long, I was knitting up a storm, and channeling my inner Grandma.

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Naturally, the next step after knitting, was quilting. Why you ask? Your guess is as good as mine!

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All I know is, I have a kitchen full of cake decorating supplies, a tote bag full of yarn and needles, and a sewing machine collecting dust in my laundry room cabinet. I get the urge to learn something new, and watch out YouTube, momma needs a new hobby!

Using My Obsessive Personality For Good

You Get the point. I am a firm believer, that if there’s something that you’re interested in learning how to do, you can learn it on YouTube. From cake decorating, to breastfeeding, to flexible dieting. Trust me, it’s on the Tube.

I had heard of flexible dieting before, years ago, and even had a friend make me a meal plan to try it out. But soon after starting to date my husband, I basically just said screw it and went wild with fast food, when and wherever I felt like it. That’s what you do when you’re falling in love I guess. Haha.

When we started dating, I was hovering around 160 pounds. A year later, after we had were married and decided to have a baby, I had ballooned up to 225, and when my youngest little angel was born, I was tipping the scales at 247 big ones.

So after I delivered Tyson, and life settled down a bit, I decided it was time to get my postpartum booty in gear. I started making small changes here and there. Dropping weight slowly, while still trying to breastfeed.

I dabbled (because I’m a dabbler), in different eating styles, and even tried to do the vegan thing for a couple of months after watching too many food documentaries on Netflix. Which is hilarious to me now, knowing how much meat and cheese I eat on a daily basis.

Finally, I decided to do the thing that may not be the easiest, but what I knew would work the best for me long term, if I could figure out how to do it for myself. I knew this was a methodical way of eating that people in the fitness industry had been using for decades. I had just been putting off learning it because it seemed so complicated. So many numbers and calculations.

Who did I turn to? Ol’ Faithful, the Tube. I binge watched so much YouTube, scouring the inter webs for flexible dieting info.

Not Just a Hobby

Here I am, 107 pounds lighter, the lightest I’ve ever been in my adult life. I’ve learned how to eat, how to get my mindset right around weight loss, and I’ve found a gym routine that I love and crave doing. I finally found a “hobby” that I love and have stuck with for way longer than any other, which in itself is still mind-blowing to me. You don’t have to buy anything to learn. I learned by investing my time. While the baby was taking a nap, after the kids went to sleep at night, I was a sponge, soaking up everything I could find about flexible dieting, and later about strength training.img_7048

Maybe most importantly, I didn’t learn everything about flexible dieting before I started implementing it. It was a learning process. I took “messy action”, refining and tweaking my macros and my meals as I learned and figured out what worked best for me and my body. Invest in yourself, and your knowledge. It can seem overwhelming at first, but you’ll be doing so much for yourself in the long-term, than any pill or fad diet could do in the short-term.

What in the World is Flexible Dieting?

Oh man. The things we put ourselves through to lose weight. I feel like we’ve all been guilty of wanting the quick fix. That instant gratification of taking a pill, drinking a tea, or getting a shot, and magically our body fat melts off and we see that weight drop consistently day after day.

The problem is, these things we do to ourselves, even if they work in the short term, don’t last. We get to the end of the challenge, end of the program, or end of the bottle, and we don’t know what to do next. So we just slowly go back to doing what we know. We eat whatever, and do whatever, until we feel so crappy that we’re searching around like crazy looking for the next miracle. And there we are, back in the cycle. I know this, because I’ve done exactly this. Over, and over, and over.

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Size 20 to Size 6

So after the birth of my second son, Tyson, I knew I had to do something. I was 247 pounds when he was born, and on my 5’5” frame, it was quickly taking a toll on me. I was overweight, I had a newborn who didn’t sleep through the night, I was breastfeeding, pumping, and working full time. All while taking care of the other three men of the house. I was exhausted. I felt like complete crap. I had created this life that I couldn’t keep up with, I believe, because of what I had done to my body. I had lost a significant amount of weight before, so I knew what it felt like to be a “normal” body weight. And then I gained it all back, plus a few extra. I knew to feel better, I had to get back to that.

I knew it was going to take a while, but having lost and gained back a significant amount of weight before and blowing it, I was going to make sure this time that I put in the work to never have to do it again. I wanted to learn how to eat, realistically. I didn’t want my success resting on anything except my knowledge, the foods I ate, and my hard work. I absolutely refused to spend anymore money on fads, gimmicks, or pills. I wanted to do it in what I considered to be the real way, no shortcuts.

So here’s where flexible dieting comes in. First it’s important to know that while it is called flexible dieting, it’s not a diet. This is a method. A method of teaching yourself how to eat a balanced diet. Eating the correct ratio of proteins, fats, and carbs to meet your body composition goals. This method works if you’re trying to lose body fat, gain muscle, or just maintain your weight. It’s not a meal plan, it teaches you how to create your own meal plan.img_6931 It teaches you how to realistically eat to change your body, and to not feel deprived in the process. It can seem overwhelming at first, especially when we’re all so used to the instant gratification of someone giving us an exact list of do’s and don’ts. I promise though, if you take a breath, invest in your knowledge, and figure this out, you’ll be so grateful you did. You don’t have to know everything about it day 1! This is a learning process! Take messy action and just get the ball rolling. My Fitness Pal is a great place to start figuring out what makes up a food.

Cheat meals are included! For my purposes though I would rather refer to them as mental sanity meals. Haha. I’m not “cheating”, because those meals are part of the plan, not a slip from it. There are scientific reasons for the MSM too, but the big reason for them, for me personally, is just to have a mental break. Having the “will power” to keep this going, is a lot easier when you break it up into chunks. 3 days on plan, 1 MSM, 2 more days on plan, 1 MSM. You get it? It’s not “falling off the wagon” if they’re part of the plan. Just go back to eating that meal prepped food the next day.

I get told a lot, “I wish I had your will power”. Will power is a lot easier when it’s a few days at a time, and you’re working in your favorite foods as part of the plan. I don’t feel like I have a ton of will power. I just learned a system that doesn’t make me feel deprived while still giving me the results I want. And it didn’t cost me a penny! Please feel free to follow me on Instagram @mommytracksmacros where I post daily motivation and tips about flexible dieting and what it takes to stay in the weight loss mindset. img_7711

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Mommy Fell Into the Wormhole

4697B7C6-BDB3-4CD7-B3F1-58B3DC747827        Hello! Welcome!! Phew, my very first blog. This is a big deal. Anyone who knows me personally knows me, knows that I’m not really one for sharing feelings. Don’t get me wrong, I will talk your ear off if you catch me in the right mood, on the right subject. As far as sharing my deep thoughts and feelings though, I usually keep it to myself.

Over the past year and a half or so, I have managed to completely change my lifestyle. I was never really “in shape”, or what I would consider “naturally thin”. However, after the birth of my second son in June 2016, I knew I was going to have to lose weight, and I was going to have to do it the right way this time.

I, like most people, have lost and gained weight so many times, trying so many quick fixes. From Weight Watchers to injecting myself everyday with HCG, I have tried so many things. This time, I didn’t want to have to rely on any plan, any pill, or any device. I wanted to figure this out, without hanging my success on the efficacy of a product or medication. I needed to rely on me, and my knowledge to figure this out.

So I dove deep! Holy crap. I dove straight into the wormhole of YouTube. I binge watched YouTube like most people binge watch HGTV. I wanted to learn every possible thing I could learn about nutrition and flexible dieting. By no means am I an expert, but by investing in my knowledge, I have managed to lose 107 pounds, naturally, through flexible dieting. I truly feel like I’ve finally found the lifestyle change that all those thin, beautiful fitness people are always ranting and raving about. And I love it. Never did I think I’d see the day where I craved the gym. If I can get from where I was, to where I am now. I really feel like anybody can.

While I was in the process of losing weight, I really didn’t talk about it a lot. I was focused, I had a goal, and I knew that goal was going to take a long time. It was a process. Of course people noticed I was losing weight eventually. But it really wasn’t until they saw the longevity and the perceived “discipline” that I had, and that I was still consistently losing weight 6 months, 8 months, a year later, that the questions really started picking up.

People wanted to know how I was doing it, what plan, what pill, what shake. You would not believe the looks I got when I said the word “macros” 😂. Although I feel like flexible dieting is pretty commonly talked about online these days, there are still a lot of people that have no clue what you’re talking about. But when you try to explain that it’s basically eating a balanced diet, that somehow seems even more strange and like a bunch of crap.
I truly want to be able to explain my process, my mindset, and the things that got me from point A to point B. But holy crap it’s hard to do in one brief little conversation or text or (as I’m learning), instagram post. Dang you character limit!!

I recently started an Instagram @mommytracksmacros to try and shed some light on this for people I know that were interested and had questions. Something I could make public, without it being mixed in with pictures of my kids eating spaghetti or playing baseball.
Good lord though. As soon as I actually started wrangling my thoughts and actually trying explain and talk about it, I quickly realized how complicated and complex this issue is. This is not something where I can just say eat this, don’t eat that. Do this in the gym, this many times a week. There is so much more to it than that. Once I started making posts and trying to explain, after keeping it to myself for a year and a half, I could not for the life of me shut up about it. Instagram character limits are my worst nightmare. I just have so many thoughts! 🤣

So that is the purpose of this blog, and maybe one day a podcast, who the heck knows. Where I can actually sit down, get my thoughts out, and talk to you as a friend about how to actually create lifestyle change for the every man, or probably in this case the every woman💪🏼 haha. I hope that I can help you get your head around this, and show you that it is possible, and that you don’t have spend a fortune on gimmicky fads and extreme measures to create the ever illusive “lifestyle change”. Take a deep breathe, eventually you might even love it. Maybe you won’t just meal prep and work out because you think you have to, but because you love the way it makes you feel to take care of yourself and feel strong. Things could get weird, but here we go! 💪🏼🙌🏻