My Workout and Food Plan

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’.

My Workouts

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.

Progress from June 2016 to February 2017

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.

Progress from December 2016 to February 2017 (8 weeks using Retifit Reti2Rise)

Food 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.

Some Ideas
  • 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)

Saturday: Rest

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!

More about Paige

27 Comments

    1. Wow! Great job not only on working out, and eating better, but the pictures! I am not brave enough to ever post pictures showing my belly like this! (and, please don’t hate me, the only weight issue I have is that I probably should gain 5-10 pounds to be healthier, which is much harder than most people think when you just have one of those freaky good metabolisms).

      It takes massive courage to post something like this, and lay it all out there. I have always been active but have never even joined a gym. I enjoy running (though that’s off limits now because of a foot issue), so I have taken to using a water rower at home which I’ve become addicted to. It’s not always easy to forgo a sweet treat (and I do not deny myself if I want something like a piece of chocolate or some cheesecake, I just know it needs to be in moderation and not all the time). I feel so much healthier since I started working out, drinking more water and limiting my coffee intake. Healthy I think is the key, versus a specific weight.

      It all starts with one step, and it looks like you’ve taken a 100 steps (you look great!). Keep it up!

      1. Thank you, Andrea! I definitely never intended to show them, or I would have made sure I looked better ;)!!

        Most of the workout programs suggested taking progress pics and I’m so glad I did because I really didn’t think much was happening week to week, but when I look at the big picture I see such a change. And yes, I think it makes all the difference to focus on health and how you’ll feel in the long-term rather than looking for a quick change to your appearance. I know I need to exercise and eat well to keep myself healthy as I am getting older, so that helps me adopt it as more of a habit.
        Thanks for following along,
        Paige

    1. Thank you for sharing this, Paige. You look absolutely amazing and you’re very inspiring! I am only in week 7 of my programme and can’t say I’m enjoying my routine but am sticking with it as I do definitely feel better for it (even though I don’t look any different yet!). Xxx

      1. Heidi,
        Thank you so much! I would definitely say that my biggest changes happened after week 9. That also coincided with going back to work after summer break, adding HIIT, stopping breastfeeding, and packing healthy lunches. It was probably a contribution of all of those things, but hang in there – the consistency pays off!!

    1. You look amazing! Congrats on the progress. I follow you on Instagram and you can really tell that you’re clothes fit differently. It’s also very inspiring to know that even though your weight didn’t change a lot, you’re body completely changed. I still haven’t found the motivation to get my butt in gear, but seeing this post definitely helps!

      1. Thank you so much, Dee! Yes, I’ve really only lost about 5 pounds when I take into account my fluctuations. A few weeks ago I actually packed up my scale because I decided that number wasn’t as important as how I felt and how my clothes fit. It’s hard to get going for sure. Setting the small goal of being active 4 days a week to start was the best way for me to get into the habit and then eventually I craved even more activity.
        Thanks again!
        Paige

    1. I LOVE this post!!!!!! Paige you are seriously a rockstar. I’ve danced around committing to working out for a long time now — my whole life really (I’ve just never liked it). BUT I’ve slowly felt myself warming up to the idea of it in order to be the healthiest and strongest version of myself, as I’ve revealed in previous chats with you. 🙂 I am about 20 lbs heavier than before I ever got pregnant, and even though I’m softer, I don’t dislike my body. I recognize that I’m stronger mentally and emotionally but that I get winded running up and down the stairs lately — and THAT I dislike. I gained about 45 lbs with my first pregnancy and afterward the weight just literally melted off and I was at my pre-pregnancy weight by my oldest’s first birthday. I think I just expected the same to happen with my second? I gained 40lbs with my second and the first 20lbs was gone when I came home from the hospital, but the rest has “hung” around I guess, haha. I’m 5′ 7″ and currently 168lbs — my pre-pregnancy weight is 150lbs. I’ve always recognized that weight is just a number and the same number looks incredibly different for everyone (and at different stages of life for the same person even!) but your photos and story seal the deal for me. This post is incredibly motivating — thank you for being awesome enough to share!

      1. Laura,
        Thank you so much! It’s such a freeing feeling to accept your body where it’s at, but I hear you on wanting to feel healthy. When I finally accepted not trying to change my weight, but just wanting to get into better shape I think I stopped being so hard on myself and interestingly that’s when the changes started. When I wanted it to be a habit for my overall health and not for a specific weight it somehow became easier to stick to.
        I highly recommend the Retifit program – give the free 4 weeks a try!!

        Isn’t it crazy how our bodies respond and recover from pregnancies so differently?! That was hard for me this time – I never had such a hard time getting the weight off…age? 4 kids?…I don’t know what it was, but boy it was frustrating.

        Thanks for following along and commenting!
        xo,
        Paige

    1. I’ve been following you for a long time on Instagram and have been so impressed with your changes! I’m so glad you’ve stuck with it, because it’s clearly paying off. I’m trying to slowly ease back into being more active after two kids in 2 years (now 3.5 and 1.5) but have really had a hard time finding motivation. Your progress has really inspired me!

      1. Malisa,
        Thank you! I have always gone in spurts in between pregnancies, but this is the most consistent I’ve managed to be. I think knowing that it’s only 30 minutes (which could also be broken up, as it’s divided into circuits) helps me feel like it’s more ‘do-able’.
        I appreciate you kind words!
        Paige

    1. Wow! I can imagine that it is difficulty sharing full on frontals of yourself in your workout gear- you should be so proud! You look so strong, lean, and healthy! Thank you for sharing your journey and story!!! Congratulations on all of your success.

      1. Jenna,
        Yes….definitely not my fave pictures of myself floating around on the internet :). But, I know I got a lot of motivation by following other women’s journeys, so I hope that I can do the same for someone else who can relate to my body type. Thanks for following along and saying hi!
        Paige

    1. I follow you on instagram and while you have always looked great, I have noticed a huge difference since I started following you this past summer. I was dying to get your tips and tricks and was very excited to read this blog post today. Thank you so much for the much needed inspiration! Quick question- so you prep all your lunch meals on Sunday and they keep through eating lunch on Friday?

      1. Thanks so much, Francesca! For the chicken, I usually use the pre-cooked strips (if you have a Kroger/King Soopers nearby, I love the Simple Truth ones – they aren’t frozen, but I freeze them at home). Anyhow, I have added the chicken on Sundays and it’s been totally fine, but I have also left one of the compartments empty and filled it in the morning, then it’s usually thawed by the time I eat. If I made a salad I put all of the toppings (cuke, tomato, peppers, onions, etc) on the bottom of the containter and then add the lettuce to the top so it doesn’t get soggy and it has stayed fresh for the week. I hope that helps!
        Thanks again,
        Paige

    1. What a great post. I totally needed to read this today. I am still struggling to lose my baby weight and my son is a toddler! I am encouraged to keep going. Thank you for sharing your journey. You look great. It is clear your hard work and dedication has paid off!

      1. Charissa,
        Thank you so much. I totally know what you mean! It is so frustrating when you don’t feel like you’re getting out what you put in. I do think consistency is key and those changes just happen at different rate for different people depending on genetics, lifestyle, and how much time they have to put in. I’m just trying to make this a habit I can stick with long term, because I know my older self will thank me for it!
        Thanks again,
        Paige

    1. Paige, you are an inspiration. I have been thinking a lot about how to fit working out back into my life with three kids. I don’t work out of the home, so it seemed to be an easy issue, but I could never make it work…until I read a post of yours mentioning the BBG workouts. I could see the change in your pictures, so I looked into it. I am now on week 4 of BBG and am loving it. I have not be able to get the meal plan to work yet, but I have been more conscious of what I eat anyways. It truly is only 30 mins, 30 mins that I could easily spend playing around on the internet. I am often doing the excercises with a kid on the mat with me, but I hope I am showing them that a little hard work can reap great results. Thank you for your honesty and for sharing.

      1. Pri,
        Way to go!! I love that the workouts are so quick and easy to squeeze in (even if I have to split my 7 minute circuits throughout the day), but they’re SO tough! It’s so exciting to find a program that feels manageable, but also effective. I sometimes dread those workouts (burpees, commandos, jump lunges, ugh), but I always feel better after I do it.

        Keep me posted!
        Paige

    1. Hi Paige,
      I have been enjoying your blog for a while now and really appreciated this post! I had a question about your experience using Macros and was wondering if you used the custom macros program or any of the other programs from IIFYM or elsewhere. I am going to give tracking macros a try and would love any other ideas you have for meal planning resources! Thanks so much for your blog – it is really a sweet source of inspiration in my day!
      Best,
      Bryn

      1. Hi Bryn!
        Great name (that’s my baby’s name too) 🙂

        I tried a handful of online calculators just to see how the numbers compared. I had been following a pretty low carb diet via paleo and dabbling in keto, so a lot of the calculators had way more carbs than I was used to. I eventually kind of set my own numbers (I think it was around 110 protein, 130 carbs, 99 fat).

        All of the IIFYM sites and blogs pushed carbs, carbs, carbs, so after a few weeks I tried to up the carbs and lower fat and it was ok, but the 2nd time I tried to up it even more I was starving! I tried to up protein and was still hungry all of the time (on the same calories), so I went back to where I started. The lower carb, higher fat seems to work best for me anyway. I would suggest picking some middle of the road numbers, give it a few weeks to settle in and then decide. If it’s working stick with it (which is what I should have done)…if not, make some tweaks.

        I hope that helps!
        Paige

    1. When I was pregnant the first time I gained 45lbs. The second time, I gained over 60lbs. (Not recommended!) Getting the weight off was a miserable experience and took for ever. Like you, I exercised madly and ate healthily and it just didn’t shift.

      The only diet that has ever worked for me is to eat a diet of a wide range of protein sources and vegetables in very small portions such that I consumed no more than 5g carbs in any 2-hour period. Plus no alcohol, and lots of water. For the first time ever, my hunger went away and I was full of energy. It did take time to adapt to that, but once I had it worked like a miracle.

    1. I am so happy that you shared this, pictures and all. I’ve been struggling with my body post baby (she’s 8 months old now), not to mention finding it hard to get motivated. I was putting in the work in January, but a death in the family derailed me beginning of February and I haven’t gotten back at it.
      Seeing you work so hard – despite your schedule, despite the kids, despite the winter weather here in Colorado, it’s so extremely encouraging. I truly feel a burden lifted knowing that it’s not hopeless, the work will pay off if I can just refocus and begin again.

      So thank you thank you thank you!! Keep it up, you’re really doing amazing and I’m so happy that you shared each and every tidbit.

      1. Emily,
        Wow! Thank you! You’re kind words mean so much. Postpartum is SO hard. I have never been one that just bounced right back even though I worked out and stayed within a reasonable weight gain. I would come home and be 5 pounds less than when I went in, even though I had a 7 pound baby!! 🙂
        I’m sorry to hear about your loss. It can be so easy to get derailed. Just do your best to recommit and get back at it, but be kind to yourself. I like the 12 week programs because I feel like I can commit and make it through to the end. You’ve totally got this!
        Where in CO are you!?
        Enjoy the beautiful weekend,
        Paige

        1. I had done a 4 week program, but I’m definitely interested in trying something longer. Retifit is intriguing, does it include videos to follow?
          I’m in Arvada 🙂

          1. She does have videos that show how to do the moves, but the workouts are just the PDFs. I like the mix of cardio and weights she includes. She also has a 4 week program you could try out!

    1. You look awesome! I love your blog and I was happy to see this post as I was scrolling through your other blog posts. I am in such a rut with working out and am the heaviest I’ve been in years. It’s so discouraging, but this is inspiring! I need a new routine and the gym just isn’t cutting it. Can I ask, if you had to go back to the beginning, would you have still started with BBG and then moved to RetiFit, or wouldyou recommend starting with RetiFit in the first place? Thanks again for this post! I’m at such a low and am having that terrible time where none of my clothes fit, but I’m wanting to redo my closet and have a more minimalist and ethical wardrobe. But I feel so stuck because of where I’m at with my weight. Your story and the progress you’ve made is so encouraging to me!

      1. Carol,
        Wow! Thank you so, so much. You’re kind words mean more than you know. I’m sorry you’re struggling right now – it’s such a hard feeling and I’ve totally been there. I think what helped me was to decide I was going to exercise to tone up, rather than to lose weight – it was much more fun and easier to stick with. Lately, I’ve gotten more focused on trying to lose tummy fat and it just takes the fun out.
        Anyhow, I’d probably start with Retifit for two reasons. 1) She has different levels, so I would have started at level 1 and done that once or twice then moved up to level 2 and then on to 3. BBG starts off pretty tough, which had I not had someone I was partnering with to be accountable to I would have gotten discouraged and quit. 2) I feel that the Retifit workouts have a great variety of moves, so I find my hips and knees and back aren’t as sore from overuse. It feels more balanced. She has a free 4 week program at http://www.retifit.com – you should definitely check it out!
        You can totally do it!
        xo,
        Paige

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