If you have ever a chance to watch my Instagram stories (which I know is near impossible since there’s so many to keep up with), you may have seen me posting #sweatieselfies after my morning workouts and a bit of my food prep on weekends. I thought it was finally time to share more detail about my fitness and weight loss journey here.
Last April I was still struggling with about ten pounds of baby weight and had put in a few solid efforts with paleo and strict dieting with no success. All of my typical weight loss strategies weren’t working.
I wasn’t necessarily unhappy with where I was, but I finally decided that if I was going to stay at that weight I at least wanted to firm up and add some muscle tone. I committed to working out four days a week to make that happen. I was doing my usual Jillian Michaels’ DVDs and yoga from an online yoga subscription I have. I stuck to my commitment through the end of spring and though I didn’t lose any weight, my energy was better and I felt less ‘jiggly’.
Then, in June, I stumbled upon Bikini Body Guide (BBG) while I was looking for some new workouts. Since it was summer and I had more time to work out, I decided to give it a try. I started following the program religiously around the third week of June. I completed the three BBG circuit workouts each week, plus the suggested Low Intensity and HIIT workouts (those start during week 9) each week. While I didn’t lose any weight over the summer, I also didn’t gain (which usually happens when I’m home from work all summer feeling I’m on a permanent vacation). I also could tell I was gaining strength and toning up.
Around the time I started back to work, the workouts had become very difficult, which was motivation to eat better to not undo all the effort I was putting in. Once I got my eating on track and added the HIIT workouts in twice a week I really started to see my body change. I stuck with it and was able to finish 12 full weeks of BBG 1.0 and then repeat the whole thing again.
While I liked BBG and the fact that I was really pushing myself hard and getting a great workout in only 30 minutes, I felt like some of the workouts had very repetitive movements and I felt like I was ready for more variety (plus, I didn’t want to get burned out by doing so much of the same thing).
What I’m Doing Now
In December I switched to a similar program with greater variety in moves called Retifit Reti2Rise, which I am LOVING. It is also a 12 week program, but there are three levels so you can match your current fitness ability (there’s a quiz available at www.retifit.com to let you know where you’re at, plus 4 weeks of free workouts). The workouts are only 30 minutes, but they are no joke. It was also at this time that I started using heavier weights (typically 15 lb dumbbells) during the workouts. Since there is greater variation in exercises I don’t worry as much about overuse. I am currently on week 9 (overall week 33) and I can see more muscle tone in my arms and I am still slowly seeing progress.
As for food, I have started counting macros to help me find balance. I tend to be an all or nothing dieter. If I feel I’ve ‘messed up’, I often let it carry over to the rest of the day, weekend, or even week. I have periods of time where I will be very strict, but then when it’s time to have a treat I go completely overboard. I find that counting macros is a way for me to get better at an ‘all things in moderation’ approach. I’ve only been tracking my meals (by logging them on My Fitness Pal) seriously since the beginning of January, and although it seems tedious and strict I actually find it freeing. I won’t even attempt to explain all of the details here, essentially you have a set amount of protein, carbs, and fat to eat each day depending on your body type, activity level, and goals. There are tons of articles out there about how and why it works (just Google If It Fits Your Macros or IIFYM).
To keep myself on track throughout the week I prep my lunches on Sundays. For most of 2016 I packed salads and added leftovers of the previous nights dinner for protein, but I’m trying to switch it up in 2017. I plan one or two different lunch combinations and pack them up for the entire week. I add all of the info into My Fitness Pal at that time, which helps me figure out what to plan for my other meals and snacks each day to meet my numbers. I got these containers for Christmas and they are perfect for packing up different items and keeping everything separate and fresh.
- Lunch meat and string cheese roll ups, carrots and hummus, crackers
- Pretzels, mini pepperoni, mini sweet peppers
- Chicken sausage, cottage cheese, grape tomatoes
- Quinoa, black beans, chicken, peppers, tomatoes, cheese, salsa
- Quinoa, chicken, cucumber, tomatoes, feta cheese
- Lettuce wraps, tuna salad, tomato, pickles, celery, avocado
How do I fit it in?
The only way I can consistently get my workouts in is to get up extra early. My alarm is set for 4:41 every weekday morning and I get up by 5:30 on Sunday mornings to workout. I workout in my basement for 35ish minutes, get ready for work at 5:30, and get the kids up for school at 6:00, then we’re out the door around 6:50. On Sundays, I workout when I get up, then go straight to the grocery store before the rest of the house is awake. I have always gone to bed relatively early, so I didn’t have to make too many adjustments. I try to get to bed by around 9:30 these days.
How do I stay motivated?
I convinced a friend to start at the same time! Andrea and I started chatting about capsule/blog stuff over a year ago, but now we’re also distance workout buddies. In the beginning especially, we texted each other daily about the workouts, compared notes on how it went, and even shared progress photos. It really has made all of the difference because there were some sets of burpees and jump lunges that made me want to throw in the towel, but knowing someone was else in it with me made all the difference.
Now that it’s become a part of my routine, I am more motivated by proving to myself that I can keep it up. I also take progress pics ever couple of weeks, which helps me to see that it is worth it (this is huge because there are a lot of times I don’t think anything is changing until I look back and compare)!
Another big motivator is following some fitness accounts on Instagram – especially those that regularly post progress photos. Seeing that others made it happen (and that it wasn’t overnight) was definitely motivating to continue!
How much weight have I lost?
When I started back in June I was still right around 140-143 and today I’m 135-137. I have dropped from a large size 8/small size 10 to a comfortable 6. I weigh a couple pounds more than when I got pregnant with Brynn, but am about the same clothing size. My original goal was 130, but reaching a set number isn’t as important to me any more. Also, just to note, I weighed 143 when Brynn was 6 weeks old, so it took me over a year to break that 140 plateau.
What is my workout schedule?
This is what I have been doing, though I have recently started trying to add some weight-only workouts.
Sunday: Retifit Legs and Cardio
Monday: HIIT cardio (or weighted Abs)
Tuesday: Retifit Arms and Abs
Wednesday: Yoga (or Leg weights)
Thursday: Retifit Full Body
Friday: HIIT cardio (or Arm weights)
Wow…these progress photos are hard to share, but I am also very proud of the work I’ve put in. It’s not easy and it wasn’t a quick fix, but it’s so worth it to feel better in my skin. I also want everyone to know that if I can do it, anyone can do it! One of my favorite motivational reminders is that ‘the time is going to pass regardless, you might as well be working toward your goals during that time’. For some reason that really resonates with me to just do it now and stop waiting for a ‘better’ time!