I’ve asked a sweet friend from high school to write this guest post about her fitness journey after seeing some before and after photos that she posted of herself on Facebook recently. I am so impressed by her dedication and hope that you enjoy her story as well! – Allison
My name is Michele Forman. I am happily married to my husband of 8 years, and a mother to two beautiful and healthy children. As I sit down and write this guest blog, I couldn’t be more proud of myself than I am right now. My journey into losing weight and keeping the weight off has always been a struggle for me. I never considered myself “overweight” but I knew I wasn’t healthy.
During my pregnancy with my oldest, I gained almost 40 pounds. Needless to say, I was not pleased with how much I gained. After my son was born, I lost some of the weight, maybe 20 pounds . I did the “Mommy and Me” outdoor fitness classes, but never seemed to lose what I wanted. I don’t think I put much effort into it honestly.
Then, two years later, I got pregnant again with my second child, a girl. My oldest was very active and kept me on my toes. This time I only gained about 15 to 20 pounds. After I had my daughter, I didn’t care what I looked like and kept the weight on.
Two years after I had my daughter, I decided I wanted to get back to where I was before I had children. At this point in my life, our family was complete, so this made it easy for me to join a gym and get back in shape! This is where my journey really started.
I joined the gym, but had no idea where to begin. I went on and off for a year and lost a few pounds, but nothing of value. Then my oldest started kindergarten, and something clicked. I was going to the gym often and started noticing this instructor at the gym. She was fit and had the ideal body I wanted. I went to all of her classes. After awhile she noticed me and invited me to join her outdoor boot camp.
In the last two years, I have gone from weighing 165 lbs. to 125 lbs. I owe a lot of my success to my instructor, Bernadette, who has given me accountability and the tools to further my weight management, build muscle and become an overall better wife and mom. She keeps me accountable by making sure I’m eating right and making sure I’m exercising a certain amount of time during the week. She also taught me that I’m stronger than I thought I was and about the importance of gaining muscle. I really respect her, both as a friend and professional.
I have also been blessed with a husband who is into being fit. We work out twice a week together. Because of his support healthy cooking comes naturally. All four of us eat what I make. Usually, I make a lean protein (chicken or turkey) with black beans and a veggie side. I also drink a lot of protein shakes.
One of the hardest habits to give up was drinking and late night snacking. I love having a glass of wine or a cocktail with my dinner, and did it often. As soon as I cut it out, I noticed that I started to lose the weight. As for the late night snacking, I replaced it with drinking tea for something sweet. I switched from using sugar to Truvia, which is just as yummy and sweet. Now that I don’t snack at night, it doesn’t bother me.
I stay away from breads, chips and dairy (even the non-fat or low-fat yogurt). Bread and chips obviously have a lot of carbs, but the amount of calories in them is crazy. If I do eat bread, I will choose the Orowheat Flatbread which is 100 calories per slice. I also drink Almond milk which is quite yummy and only 60 calories depending on the brand. My favorite is the Almond Breeze in Almond and Coconut. As far as the yogurt is concerned, I stopped eating most of them because the sugar content is insane. It’s all about the labels and knowing how to read them! Instead, I really enjoy Fage Greek Yogurt.
At this point my priority is to maintain the weight. If I were to lose any more, I would look anorexic. I am also planning on running in a couple of ‘5K’s this year. I would love to teach others about exercising and healthy eating and start up my own boot camp classes as well. At this point in my life, It has become my passion to be fit. When I set out on this journey, my goal was to just get back into my wedding dress. At this point, my dress doesn’t even fit me. For me, exercise and healthy eating is a way of life. Now, I can’t even imagine going back to eating the way I used to.
Allison’s Take On It
Wow! I’m so inspired. Aren’t you?
I hope you will take away 3 main points from Michele’s story:
1. I think it’s so important to note how Michele took the weight off slowly. 40 lbs. over a 2 year span of time is very reasonable.
2. Michele is a great example of how changing your diet and incorporating regular exercise work together for weight loss and overall health. She has made them a permanent part of her lifestyle.
3. She focused on a variety of exercise which includes weightlifting, something ladies tend to shy away from. Weightlifting is such an effective form of exercise as it can help you to continue burn fat more effectively than cardio alone.