Lakeside Fitness FBBC
About two years ago I participated in my first transformation contest. I lost a considerable amount of weight and inches through tracking and counting calories and by working out hard at Lakeside Fitbody Bootcamp in Hartland. As I saw the numbers on the scale going down at my weigh-ins, I was driven even more to continue losing the weight and was shocked when I received second place in the contest for my age category. My initial reasons for participating in my first contest was simply the need for motivation and extra drive, as I wasn't seeing the changes I desired by just going through my workouts.
After my second place win, I had periods where my weight ebbed and flowed. I would become lax in my diet, allowing “treats” to be more regular or portions to be bigger than I needed. I justified celebratory indulging as a deserved reward, only to become trapped in a new cycle of misleading justifications, guilt, and more poor food choices. I also discovered that when high stress rolled into my life, so did the snacking and unhealthy “comfort foods.” But then even when the highly stressful event or period of my life subsided, my unhealthy food choices continued. And then when I saw the numbers on the scale creeping up or the jeans not zipping up, I tightened the reins on my eating habits and then the weight would eventually creep back down.
I think most people who know me would say that I am a really healthy eater and that I watch what I eat. And while this is true for the most part, I know that the potential for major backsliding is always there. This Summer, I became increasingly aware of my compulsion for sugar. I am not a person that can have “just one” cookie or one piece of chocolate. My “sweet tooth” weakness can lead me down a cycle of desiring more and more sugar. The more sugar, the more my taste buds threw their little tantrum, whining that they weren't getting enough and wanted even more sweetness. As September rolled around, I decided I needed to do something different to tame this “sugar monster” that I was feeding. I decided to enter the Transformation Challenge again, simply as a “reset” and to give myself that added accountability of follow through.
As far as the diet, I decided to take a new approach. Instead of just focusing on calorie counting, I decided to focus on eating good quality, wholesome, nutritious food. Through a friend of mine, I heard about an eating program called the “Whole 30” where for 30 days, all dairy, grains, legumes, sugar, alcohol and processed foods are removed from your diet. Then after the 30 days, each one is reintroduced separately in order to help discover how these foods potentially have a negative impact on your body. I read this description from their website: “We cannot possibly put enough emphasis on this simple fact—the next 30 days will change your life. It will change the way you think about food, it will change your tastes, it will change your habits and your cravings. It could, quite possibly, change the emotional relationship you have with food, and with your body. It has the potential to change the way you eat for the rest of your life.” This was convincing enough for me to give it a try. I decided that this is what I needed to make some discoveries about the impact that certain foods have on me. I knew this would be a huge challenge and that I couldn't do it on my own. I roped my husband into joining me and am so thankful that he did. Having that accountability at home and someone to commiserate with when cravings struck hard, was priceless.
The whole 30 program was definitely a challenge! It was very telling to discover just how difficult it was to find foods that were compliant, especially the “no sugar” rule. I was shocked to find just how many foods have some form of sugar in the ingredient list. When I purged my pantry, I couldn't believe that things like my garlic salt had sugar listed in the ingredients! Shopping became a challenge but I soon discovered which brands and stores to choose and how to carefully read labels. While on the Whole 30, the first few days were excruciatingly difficult. Cravings hit hard and the crabby sugar monster wanted to rebel. But I pressed on. And while I enjoy cooking, there were times I loathed my kitchen! There was no “quick meal.” Everything required chopping, mixing, and cooking. There were very few things you could just grab and eat—other than fruits, veggies, and nuts. However, I began to enjoy the fact that I knew everything that was going into my body because I was the one preparing it. I tried many new recipes and found new things I enjoyed. I also found it a fun challenge to make foods and meals that were compliant AND “husband-approved!”
I didn't necessarily discover any drastic physical responses to anything specific during the reintroduction phase. I did notice, however, that gluten causes gastric discomfort for me and so I decided that I would only have bread on occasion instead of as a regular part of my diet. As a result of this dietary “experiment,” I realized that I enjoyed the taste of simple whole foods. I broadened my variety of veggies and developed new likes. I found that I really enjoyed coconut--cooking with it and eating it. Coconut flakes, coconut milk, coconut oil, and coconut flour became a welcomed part of my diet. I also discovered that taking out all of the artificial flavors of things allowed me to enjoy and appreciate the real flavors of a variety of foods. Before the Whole 30, I used to “require” creamer and sugar in my daily coffee. Once I was forced to drink it black, I began to acquire a taste for straight up, black coffee! Then when I went to reintroduce dairy and added it to my coffee, I found that I actually preferred it black!
During this transformation challenge, I was less focused on the scale and more focused on making lasting changes. Through the Whole 30 challenge, I was able to “reset” my taste buds and I learned to appreciate the tastes and variety of simple, wholesome foods. I found that eating this way gave me more energy and pep to my workouts and enabled me to push myself even more at the gym, which I think helped my results.
I am so thankful that working out has still remained a consistent life habit for me. Because I enjoy working out at Lakeside Fitness so much, it is rare that getting to the gym is a struggle for me. The workouts are fun, engaging, challenging, and promote so many healthy habits. At 39, I feel like I am presently in the best shape of my life. Lesa's workouts train my body to be strong, flexible, and maintain balance to prevent injury. I feel like the core strength I have gained helps prevent injuries in my job as a nurse, where back injuries commonly occur. The new exercises and new combinations that Lesa comes up in her customized workouts challenge both my mind and my body to work together to achieve optimal results. I am hopeful that through my new dietary alterations and the drive I have for working out will continue to propel me forward and keep me on track to remain fit and healthy.