Working On My Fitness: A Transformation in Process

Before - April 2018.JPG

Last spring, I realized how bad I was feeling. In April, I made a conscious effort to refocus some attention on my overall physical health. My three main reasons?:

  1. Hudsyn isn’t getting smaller. If I want to be able to lift her; carry her; etc in the future, I’ve got to start building some upper body strength. She’s nearly 60lbs and in the 97th percentile for her height (not a shocker, given Dan & I are both tall). It breaks my heart that it’s starting to get difficult to hold her by myself.

  2. I'm not fat by society's standards...but I was overweight for MY body. I'd always been thin and tall. Yeah, I know, skinny girl whining…I realize the genetic lottery is real. I'm 6' tall and I can hide my weight easily as a result. In high school, I was the same height and didn't hit 100 lbs until I was a Sophomore. In college, I stuck around 120-130 lbs. Before kids, I was a healthy and muscular 135-140lbs. Now, after having my “third” baby (a successful financial planning business), I'd been unable to shake the 186 lbs I weighed as of last April. This was mainly due to poor eating, “no time” to get my heart rate up each week and lots of wine and/or vodka sodas (my two favorite besties when it came time for happy hour and winding down each night). To top it off, I'm 40…and the weight doesn't slide off as easily as it used to. When I was in my 20s and 30s, I could focus on a workout plan for a month or two and get exactly the results I was wanting. Not the case, now (damn you, aging body)!

  3. My energy level was at an all-time low. I "felt" fat. It didn’t matter how much sleep I got, I was lethargic all the time. Clothes also weren’t fitting right and with the stress I took on each day in caring for my family, working 80+ hours each week, and making time for everyone but myself, I had lost control of my health. Not having energy to keep up with my family, business and all the goals I wanted to achieve became extremely frustrating.

So what am I doing to change? A few simple things:

I Found a Program That Works For Me

First, this isn’t a sales pitch. This isn’t about what I think YOU should do to improve this area of your life. Everyone is different in what motivates them and then what your body responds to when it comes to building physical strength or endurance. I’m only sharing what I’ve done as many of you have been curious from the posts I’ve made on Facebook and Instagram. I’ve tried a few different things in the past when it comes to this area of my life: running/walking apps, personal trainers, monthly at-home meal plans and expensive gym memberships. For whatever reason, these things worked for short periods of time and then I’d become bored (or frustrated with the cost) and decide to try something else.

I was an athlete in high school and college. I played competitive basketball, volleyball, ran cross country and was even on swim teams each summer. As I got older, I realized a few things: 1) Fitness had to be fun…and it had to stay interesting. If it didn’t feel like a game or a competition, I would quit after a few weeks. 2) Nutrition had to become a focal point…and something I felt I could tackle given the time constraints of my busy week.

Ash and I High Five.JPG

I Need Accountability

Most of us need some type of accountability to be driven to higher success. Sometimes, that’s in the form of competition, other times it’s just having someone nearby to keep cheering you on during difficult times. That person, for me, is my sister, Ashley. Coincidentally, when I was thinking about a new fitness program last spring, I had expressed this to her one day and I was so relieved to hear she had wanted to do something about her getting back in shape as well. I KNEW we would be successful because growing up we always competed. Not just against each other, but when going for a goal, Ashley was always my number one supporter and biggest cheerleader. This is also why she works on my team now, supporting my business growth…and she’s incredible at her job.

We created a plan at the beginning of each week (this was Sundays for us) - what workouts were we going to do; what meals were we going to eat; and how we would accomplish the plan if our calendars didn’t align. We decided my basement fitness room (a converted bedroom) would be the place we would meet each morning and we signed up for a monthly membership to BeachBodyOnDemand through a friend of mine, Erin Sandgren, who is an active coach and had her own success story after seven years of doing BOD.com. We would put my laptop on the weight bench and follow whomever was on the screen in a 30-60 minute workout.

We started with “Clean Week,” where we started with just one week commitment on better nutrition and working out 30 minutes a day. We were both over 185lbs at that time and waking up at 6:00am each morning was incredibly hard. But we completed our first week. We moved on to a nutrition plan called 2B Mindset. Then we decided to step up our workouts. We signed up for the infamous 80 Day Obsession by Autumn Calabrese. THIS was our turning point. After 80 days of intense crossfit-style workouts, six days a week, by October 2018 we were looking (and feeling) so much better!

After completing this challenge (which felt incredible to do together), we posted our results on social media. Ashley is now a BeachBody coach - so if you’re looking for a program to try, I’d highly recommend talking to her. Again, not a sales pitch, but if you want to try what we did, message her. She’ll hook you up. I could not have done this without her and Erin’s support the entire way. There were days I needed a high five and other days I just needed someone to say - it’s ok to take a break today, but you’ll be showing up tomorrow to get back at it! I remember one evening that was particularly challenging in the area of wanting to eat a slice of pizza because the rest of the family was having that for dinner…when I saw Erin post on Facebook her solution to vegan pizza, including a gluten-free crust. Sold! It saved my calorie intake that night and the tough craving was solved.

Meal Prepping Became Key

During 80 Day Obsession, I didn’t focus too much on calorie counting or timed nutrition. I just wanted to see if I could get up SIX days a week and complete the workouts. However, I knew if I wanted to elevate my results even further, I had to dial in on the nutrition. Honestly, I was dreading this new addition to my routine. It felt so difficult to think about meal prepping because it isn’t my strength. Many of you have probably heard on the vlog that I CANNOT cook. I’m terrible…I can literally burn water. Hence, when I was looking for a soulmate, I knew I had to marry someone who was amazing in this area…and I did. Dan does all the grocery shopping, cooking and meal planning for the family. But he isn’t too keen on counting or measuring…he just makes it taste incredible.

Meal Prep2.jpg

Ashley and I began a program called LIIFT4 on New Year’s Eve 2018, which is a 4-day a week workout program that incorporates a nutrition plan called “Fixate.” This is also Autumn’s custom created nutrition plan that uses containers for your carbs, protein, veggies, fruits, fats and oils each day. Depending on your weight, you pick a calorie range to stick within and then meal prepping becomes a formula. I am so thankful for BOD.com’s blog…this particular weekly meal prep is one of my favorites because it requires almost no cooking and provides the grocery list you need! Dan, of course, helps me when I’m lost, and also assists when we have to get creative about using leftovers before going to the grocery store again.

I invested in some inexpensive containers on Amazon that I LOVE…which makes this process (and storing them in the frig) so much easier. I used to be the person that would complain that healthy eating was expensive…which is absolutely false. Being the bean counter I am, I ran the numbers on this process. And I’ve successfully prepped 20-26 meals a week on as little as $2-$4/meal. You can’t get that price eating out anywhere for the level of nutrition in these preps. Score!

I’m not done with LIIFT4 just yet, but the 50% mark and results are extremely encouraging. I couldn’t have achieved these results without my accountability & support system. There’s a lot more room for growth and I’m not where I want to be just yet…but I know I’m on the right path and have finally found a sustainable, healthy lifestyle that will work for me. My energy level is so much higher. I’m also sleeping better and more deeply each night (which I’ve tracked using a sleep app called SleepWatch). As a result, I’m able to do more…like writing this blog each week, volunteering at Children’s Mercy and meal prepping! I hadn’t realized how unhealthy I had allowed my body to get. I never want to go back to that place now that I know this new level of being.

I hope your journey to become a better version of you is also something you’re interested in trying. Or, if you’re just at a place where the brain space isn’t there yet to make this a priority (which I also understand), then bookmark this for later when you are ready. There’s a much more energetic, happier YOU waiting.

Make it a great week, Hopesters!