Real Talk: I’ve had body image issues for as long as I can remember. Growing up in Florida, pool parties were the norm. I remember, as a kid, I was always so embarrassed to be seen in my swimsuit. And my biggest insecurity was my belly. I’ve never been one of those girls with a tiny waist and well defined curves. Then, as time went on, so did my weight battle. The scale was constantly fluctuating, and I tried every diet under the sun. I gained; I lost, and this viscous cycle continued for more than a couple decades.
In fact, this time last year, I was only 2 months into my weight loss journey when I realized that I finally found something that worked for me. The 2-month mark was pivotal because that’s when I allowed myself to step on the scale (I refused to weigh myself for the first two months of my journey because I didn’t want to obsess over it)… And after my first “weigh-in,” it became clear that the pounds were literally melting off.
If you would have told me that I’d be posting a shirtless pic on my website a year later, I would’ve said you were crazy. And yet – here I am: 5 pounds under my original goal weight, and 35 lbs down total. I never thought I’d be in the best shape of my life at age 39, either. But I’m here to tell you (and show you) that anything is possible.
Here are my biggest takeaways from my weight loss journey, along with some steps to success that I hope you’ll find helpful:
Step 1: Make the Commitment to Change. The power of your mental state is everything! Get clear on your goals and what you want to accomplish. And don’t go crazy. Start small. Consider hiding the scale in the beginning too. Focus on how you FEEL instead of how you look.
Step 2: Create a Plan that’s Sustainable and that Works for You. Different things work for different people. Take my younger sis for example. She’s big on calorie counting, and she writes down everything she eats. She lost 60 pounds, and that’s what works for her (but I fell flat on my face with her method).
As for me, I practice a clean ketogenic lifestyle. What does that mean, you might ask? I eat low carb, high fat, and foods that are nutrient-rich (meaning loads of leafy greens, organic low carb veggies, sustainable seafood, eggs, nuts and berries). I also practice intuitive eating, which is just a fancy way of saying that I only eat when I’m hungry and if I want to do a carb-up because I feel low energy, I’ll do it. Intermittent fasting also works really well for me. And bulletproof coffee gives me life. It’s just a tablespoon of grassfed butter, a tablespoon of MCT oil, almond milk, coffee (and cinnamon if you want) in a blender. That will keep you full all morning, and it promotes mental clarity.
Side Note: I know this may be a lot to digest (pun intended) – so you can pop into my Keto Fit Tribe Facebook Group to learn more. We’ve got some great free resources in there, and it’s just a good, old-fashioned community-based group intended to support one another. Good vibes only!
Prior to starting the Keto Diet, I tried everything and I constantly felt like I was failing. Plus, as a group fitness instructor and performance artist, I put a lot of pressure on myself to be fit for my job and I was beyond frustrated.
The reason Keto was a game-changer for me is because, by being fat fueled, I stayed full longer. I was no longer munching and anticipating my next meal. I’ve also never felt deprived. Case in point: I eat chocolate every day. It just has to be 90% cacao or higher. Or it has to be Lily’s – my favorite sugar-free chocolate brand – (and no, I’m not endorsed by them but I totally want to be so they’ll send me free chocolate ;).
So… here’s my recommendation: Do some research on different diet plans to determine what will work best for you, your lifestyle, and your body.
Step 3: Move Your Body! Fitness experts agree that you’re much more likely to stick with an activity that you enjoy! In other words, you don’t need to do workouts that you hate in order to get the results that you want. Trust me… if someone told me that I was only allowed to run, for example, instead of doing the exercises that I love (like hula hooping and kickboxing), I’d be feeling frustrated all over again. But when you find an activity that excites you… you’re going to want to keep doing it! Did you know that, according to the American Council on Exercise, hooping burns an average of 420 calories an hour?!? Yep! And you get to smile the whole time you’re doing it. I’ve even got some free tutorials to get you started, and here’s where you can purchase a great priced beginner hoop.
Step 4: Meal Prep. Regardless of what plan you choose to follow, be sure to plan out your meals so you aren’t in a situation where you’ve got “nothing to eat,” in which case you might opt for food that’s not on your plan. That can put you into a downward spiral so super fast. You don’t need to be an award-winning chef to prep healthy food either. There are plenty of quick and easy recipes that you can find on Pinterest. I always keep a variety of raw nuts, string cheese and seaweed snacks on hand for quick grab-and-go situations, too. But take the time to plan out your meals and portion them so you don’t have to worry about it.
Step 5: Lay off the booze. Seriously. If you want to see real results real quick, ditch the alcohol. If you do decide to indulge, opt for low sugar drinks (like vodka/ soda) or a glass of French Bordeaux. Notice how I said glass and not bottle?!? 😉
Step 6: Don’t Give Up! Even if you fall of track, pick yourself back up and start fresh again the next day. And with the holidays just a couple short weeks away, my suggestion is to START NOW.
Honestly, I think starting a diet plan before the holidays will set you up for success in a massive way. You will feel UNSTOPPABLE after refraining from temptation during the most indulgent time of the year. I cut out sugar the week before Halloween, and I was so proud of myself for doing that. It helped me keep the momentum up! So, get your head right. And if you can make it through the holidays and stay on track, you’ll have a huge jump on things in the New Year! Again, whatever you do… don’t give up!
I hope you found this helpful, and I’m sending you so much love and positive vibes. You got this!
I’d love to tell you that hula hooping was the primary factor for my weight loss. My ETSY Shop would be sold out if that were the case! But, unfortunately, I can’t make that claim. (Side Note: If you want to talk about someone who does credit an even greater weight loss to hula hooping, you can read Heather’s story here).
Don’t get me wrong… being active is such an important part of a healthy lifestyle, and I guarantee that I would have had much more weight to lose had it not been for my fitness regime (which includes hoop dancing, kickboxing, teaching kids’ fitness, and daily walks).
The thing is… I’ve been an athlete my whole life. I even played college tennis, and I’m a certified group fitness instructor. And as a performance artist, I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself to look a certain way. But for the last 10 years or so, I’ve been struggling with weight gain. I started to pack on the pounds and couldn’t figure out why. I was hitting the gym, and I was “eating right” (or so I thought). Still, I gained.
Then, in August of 2017, I went shopping for my wedding dress. With my mom, sisters, and best friend bridesmaids surrounding me, we had the teary-eyed “this is the one!” moment. But there were two problems: 1) The gorgeous Hayley Paige dress was out of budget and 2) It was about 4 sizes too small and didn’t zip up.
So, a week later, when the very same dress was marked down exponentially during a trunk sale, I had a big decision to make: Do I let the dream dress get away or Do I purchase it with the understanding that I’d either need to add a corset back or lose a shit ton of weight? I took a chance and chose the latter. This dress was my weight loss motivation:
The amount of weight that I’d need to lose seemed like a huge hurdle, but I began to log my food in a diary, meticulously count calories, and amp up my already-strenuous workouts – even though none of these things had worked for me in the past. Then, in divine timing, a friend asked if I’d ever heard of the Ketogenic Diet. “It’s a high fat, low carbohydrate way of eating that turns the body into a fat-burning machine vs. the traditional glucosamine burning system that most Americans run on.” I was intrigued but had my reservations. I’d tried the Atkins Diet years ago, and I didn’t think living off of cheese and bacon was the way to go. Plus, I’m Pescatarian – meaning that the only meat I eat is sustainable seafood. I’ve eaten this way for more than a decade, and without meat, I thought it was going to be so hard to make the Keto lifestyle work for me. But here’s the thing… it wasn’t! I love to cook, and being a vendor at the Farmers Market made it super easy to pick up organic, fresh veggies on a weekly basis. So, I gave it a shot… and the pounds literally started to fall off!
I called my way of eating “Clean Keto” – I upped the healthy fats (like bullet proof coffee, coconut oil and macadamia nuts) and I completely ditched the sugar and cut carbs down to 30 per day. Leafy greens, sustainable seafood and healthy fats became the backbone of my diet. The first couple of weeks were tough, but then – amazing things started to happen! Not only did the weight start to fall off, but my carb and sugar cravings decreased exponentially.
My body clearly showed me that sugar was the enemy in disguise… All this time, I thought I was fueling my body with healthy foods – eating low fat/ low calorie (and choosing things like a granola bar over an avocado, for example, due to fat content). But I was wrong! Other amazing changes began to occur also… my hunger cravings were drastically reduced; I was hardly ever sore after my workouts (no more inflammation!); I no longer had cramps each month; my skin totally cleared up, I was experiencing more mental clarity, which increased my work productivity, and my overall energy level increased. Then, it all made sense…. I realized that Fat doesn’t make us Fat! Sugar & Carbs were the culprits throwing my body out of whack (and when I say sugar, I mean the sugar that hides in things like pasta, rice & bread).
I became so passionate about my new way of life that I even started a Keto Fit Tribe of my own. Feel free to join our group for recipes, support and motivation (we aren’t selling anything – it’s just good, old-fashioned, community support). And when I showed up for my wedding dress alteration appointment two months before my wedding, I was shocked when the dress zipped right up. It fit like a glove, and I couldn’t believe it! We didn’t need to add that corset back after all.
I’m so grateful that Clean Keto changed my life! I’ve been eating this way for almost a year now, and it’s been the best thing that I’ve ever done for my health.