As part of my focus on maintaining my current weight and healthiness, I’m hosting a series of interviews with others working toward maintaining. The goal of The Maintenance Series is to show that reaching your goal weight doesn’t mean dropping your healthy habits, and like weight loss, there’s no one answer for everyone.
Amount of weight lost: 20 lbs How long you’ve been maintaining: four months
1. When did you realize you were ready to shift from weight-loss to maintenance?
My story is kind of different. I have always gained and lost 5-10 pounds but never been truly happy with my physique. I would open the pages of Oxygen Magazine and want to be leaner and more muscular but didn’t know how! I decided to compete after considering it for years. I set out to compete in Figure and spent 6 months “bulking” on my own. I really messed that one up! I gained at least 20-25 pounds of fat and muscle. I hired a trainer at that point to help me cut for my show without losing muscle. During the process I discovered the weight and place that I most love my body!
2. What has been the hardest part of transitioning from losing weight to maintaining your loss?
The hardest part for me was the severe deprivation I put my body through during the contest prep diet and workouts. I put my body and mind through a LOT by sticking to a strict diet for 1.5 years while bulking and then cutting for the show. This stress was unnecessary to lose the weight and I realize now that was the wrong way to go about it! It was too extreme and because of that I “rebounded” a bit afterward. I am now about 5-7 lbs heavier than I was on stage and this is a healthy weight for fertility. I’d like to be 5 lbs lighter for vanity sake but for overall health and fertility this is where I need to stay for now.
3. What have you found most surprising about maintenance?
It’s hard!!! Hahahaha! Maintenance takes almost as much control as dieting…probably the same amount. Some people have an easy time staying lean. I am not one of them! I have to be careful about my diet and I have to be careful with outside influences. I also made the mistake of planning a great deal of travel and outings just after my show, so while my body was trying to figure out what was going on, I wasn’t sticking to my home-cooked regime and working out became a chore to fit in on the road and with my busier schedule.
4. What motivates you to continue maintaining?
I am motivated to live a healthy lifestyle for my family and my own happiness. I want to live a long life and enjoy every minute of it by truly living it because I am healthy and fit and able to experience everything. I want to set a good example for my family and future children and set them up for success with their weight and healthy lives. I want to feel good in my skin and stay trim for health and vanity’s sake.
I believe in visualizing what you want for your life and who you want to be and making that happen! “BE WHO YOU ADMIRE” is the slogan for my business! Something about a quote I read years ago just resonated with me. “Be the woman you admire.” I read it and thought – why am I admiring someone else? Why don’t I decide what I “admire” about her and “be” that?! I believe life is full of choices and EVERY single minute of every day we make choices—choices to live the life we want, be the person we want to be and that includes living a healthy lifestyle.
5. Do you still weigh yourself? If so, how often?
I have eating disorder issues in my past (high school and college) that I think are long gone but “they” say that it never goes away and I think that is true to some extent. I try not to get obsessed by weighing myself every day. I have said many times that I do not know if I will ever compete in a bodybuilding/figure competition again. One reason is that I feel it conflicts with health in many ways and I’d have to discover if I could do it in a way that is in line with my “health” beliefs.
Also, though, I feel that a sport that is so focused on looks leads to obsession and unhealthy thoughts. It is a sport where you are cutting your body fat to sculpt your body and see how you look but to the extreme that your looks are your only motivation for your actions – 2 hours of cardio (plus) and your strict starvation diet. (Now, my motivation is some vanity but mostly health.) I don’t wake up in the morning and head right for the mirror to check out my abs and then check them out EVERY time I pass a mirror. That’s obsessive and I don’t believe it is healthy for me.
I know that a successful “dieter” and maintainer weighs often (at least once a week) but I also know myself and know that I need to keep myself mentally from equating my weight to my self worth so I usually use my pants as a gage. I think that measurements and progress photos are a better way to “measure” success in dieting and working out. Weight can be affected by so many things and is not a true measure of anything.
6. What is your approach to food now?
REAL foods! I learned through my competition prep that many “diet” foods are “fake” foods and they are unhealthy and unnatural and I want to eat real foods. (Side note: I also think they are keeping our country fat!) I try to keep my carbs low at each meal to avoid raising my insulin too much. I think protein and green veggies are very important. I add in fruits and grains but try to watch my portions. I try not to eat a fat and a carb at the same meal (some is ok but not a lot). I try to pick one to go with my lean protein and veggies. I eat within 2 hours of waking up. I eat every 3-4 hours. I try not to eat too late in the day, but since sleep is important, sometimes I’ll eat a snack before bed to help me rest. I listen to my body and I don’t deny it.
7. What is your next health or fitness goal?
I am concentrating on fertility right now as I hope my next challenge will be to start a family! I always thought that I wanted to do a tri but I think Crossfit Games is more my “cup of tea” and I’d love to compete in that one day. But, who knows where my “fitness” life will go! I’m thrilled to look back and see how far I’ve come. Competing was the hardest experience of my life so far and I am so glad I did it. I learned a tremendous amount and realized my passion for Fitness & Nutrition for others and am now getting my Nutrition certifications to help others by starting a business!
Did you miss any of The Maintenance Series posts?
Only ladies, so far, but I know there are some maintaining guys out there, so shoot me an e-mail!