This is the first video in our launch series and it goes more in-depth about my personal fitness journey.
As many of you have seen on my blog and YouTube channel, I lost around 90 pounds in the two years after having my daughter. The first year, I was considered obese with a BMI of 36. I used exercise, drank lots of smoothies (which made it high carb) and went vegan. By the next year, I’d plateaued so I tried keto, which worked but I noticed some other issues like hair loss, which freaked me out because I don’t have a ton of hair and I felt like I was struggling endlessly with cravings. So even though I’d gotten down to a normal weight, I was unable to maintain that for long. The numbers kept creeping up.
Then COVID struck. We bought an RV and hit the road. Unlike a lot of the world, I wasn’t stressed and was genuinely happy with our travels and lifestyle but I had developed a habit of binging at nights after everyone fell asleep. And when I say binging, I mean in the dark, eating copious amounts of cookie dough, cereal, and popcorn. I then felt like I needed to restrict the next day to try to “jumpstart” my body into ketosis. I am thankful that I had the presence of mind to recognize the scary cycle of binging and restricting that I was beginning to develop.
Through reading and research, I discovered that sugar (by this I mean added sugar and sweeteners) and flour were sabotaging my ability to lose weight. If you want to do your own research, you will be astounded by how sugar and flour act as drugs in your system. In fact, studies have shown that rats prefer sugar to cocaine, and show worse symptoms of withdrawal from it. Reading this and other studies, it became clear to me that this was my problem. I was actually relieved because this meant I could actually do something about my binging because at the time, it felt out of control.
You might be thinking, “Wait, you don’t eat sugar and flour?! I can’t do that. It’s too extreme!” I get it. I would’ve thought that too until I saw how much science and my own painful experience backed up those claims. The truth was, I was addicted to sugar and flour and I didn’t even know it. If you don’t believe me, try an experiment. Try to go two days without them - eliminate anything ground down to a flour and anything sweetened, naturally or chemically, other than fruit. You’re brain will be screaming at you. Doesn’t that sound a whole lot like addiction? It’s an ugly truth. I don’t like it either. You can find out how susceptible you are by taking the Yale Food Addiction Scale. Some people are less likely to become addicted to certain triggering foods than others.
But there’s good news! Just like with any drug, when you abstain from it for long enough, for me it was two weeks, your brain starts to really calm down. It stops asking for the drug and you get really food neutral. Office cupcakes? No, thanks, I’m good. My toddler’s birthday cake? Nope, not interested. And I’m not even missing out. I fully engage in the life events without feeling tethered to the food.
So, how did I do it? I originally found a meal plan that worked to help me detoxify from sugar and flour. I was able to become food neutral but it did not factor in my body composition and activity level. So I went online to NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) to get my nutrition and personal training certification. With that and my husband, Todd, who got his bachelor's degree in exercise science, I customized my own meal plan to my particular needs and the results were dramatic. My body fat loss has been incredible going from 23% to 14% in a matter of months. For those of you who don’t typically measure body fat, this is a huge deal. It means that FINALLY my body reflects my athletic nature. Too often people misjudged me based on my looks, assuming I wasn’t athletic but I had just run a 5k that week. It was defeating and painful. But that doesn’t have to be my story anymore. My outsides finally match the hard work I put in on a regular basis. And no, it’s not all about others’ opinions or even the stigma about being overweight. I was not in my right-sized body and it was so hard to be carrying around this unnecessary weight that kept me from excelling at the things I enjoyed like running, rock climbing and bodybuilding.
Armed with the experience of tailoring just the right food intake, as well as an education in personal training and nutrition, I’m just chomping at the bit to share as much as I can with you and help you reach your goals too!
In the next video in this series, I’m going to talk about how to keep up the motivation to reach your fitness goals and how to maintain a balanced lifestyle. These are two big questions I’ve had from people since my last blog post. So stay tuned, we will be posting that video on tomorrow!
Now, I need your help again. Please comment below or on my Facebook page to pose any questions you want answered. Also, if you take on my two-day no flour and sugar challenge, please let us know how it goes! If anyone tries it, and shares their experience on here, I’ll send them an extra goodie. Who doesn’t like goodies? Thank you! See you on tomorrow!