Since October 2014, I’ve lost a total of 24 pounds and went down three dress sizes. Fellow RMB contributor, Tracie Barnthouse lost a total of 35 pounds and continues to receive daily compliments on her amazing weight loss. The success has been through a lot of hard work but also includes some surprisingly simple tips and tricks. Interested in learning a few of our hard-earned lessons? Read on.
In late October 2014, I joined fellow Reno Moms Blog contributors on a 12-week journey with local fitness gurus, Gwen Sedler and Jen Boscovich. Through “Getting Fit with Gwen and Jen” these NPC bikini fitness competitors (and winners!) coached us through a lifestyle transformation. Our primary focus began with nutrition as we slashed through our normal eating patterns and learned how to eat clean; we ended with advice and sore muscles from their expert leadership in fitness.
January 11th, 2015 concluded our journey with Gwen and Jen, leaving us with the building blocks we needed to continue shedding fat and building muscle. While we lost a few RMB participants along the way (taking a full-time job, traveling out of country for weeks, and having a serious injury all add up and made the challenge less than ideal at the time… they’ll hop back on soon, we know it!), Tracie summed up our experience perfectly: “We drank the Kool-Aid.” We’re believers in the Gwen and Jen approach and wanted to share our favorite lessons learned along the way.
Tips for Weight Loss:
- Drink a gallon of water a day. Seriously. Have you seen this blog floating around on Facebook? It’s spot on. Tracie and I both noticed serious improvement in our complexions. And although you’ll be running to the bathroom constantly at first, your body adjusts and it does get better. Other benefits include a suppressed appetite and being very regular.
- Have snacks ready to go. And by snacks, we mean “plan approved” healthy snacks such as a bag of almonds and a shake ready to make. The time you’re most likely to cheat is when you’re busy, stressed, and don’t have any food in sight. That’s when a vending machine, drive-thru, or any other convenience food strike and make their mark. Gwen and Jen suggested the Pro7ein Shake which we found at NutriShop off of Longley; our favorite flavor is Chocolate.
- Eat six times a day. Breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner, and evening snack. I typically ended my day with a protein shake right before bed. You consume way more calories than you’d anticipate, but you’ll be surprised how quickly your body adjusts and your metabolism changes.
Eat protein with every meal. Egg whites, chicken, turkey, nuts, etc. are your friends. Embrace them. Tracie’s a vegetarian and had her meal plan adjusted accordingly to ensure that she, too, had protein at every meal.
- Create a support group. We created a private Facebook page where we could whine, share recipes, share post-workout-selfies, beam with pride over accomplishments, and keep each other motivated along the way. I can’t tell you how much the motivation of my fellow mamas helped me out; knowing they were struggling, trying a yummy find they’d discovered at Costco, and cheering each other on kept me going.
- Frozen vegetables are lifesavers. Buy a ton of Steamfresh fresh frozen vegetables for those crazy after-work nights or when you’re low on time. They’re perfect, easy, and you don’t have to dirty a pot. I even became a fan of their brown rice in a bag.
- Be prepared. You can’t do this if you don’t have the tools in your toolbox. Get your groceries, figure your menus, and schedule time to exercise on your calendar. Each time I “failed” was because I didn’t have the food I needed ready to go. I typically set Sundays aside to grocery shop, cook food in advance, and pack those healthy snacks.
- Speaking of failing, don’t beat yourself up. While you’d love to have 100% days, it’s not really feasible. Strive for 70-90% and consider those days “wins”. For example, I would often hit 5 of my 6 meals perfectly and I’d biff it on dinner. It’s OK; we’re human…and at least you’re doing it.
- Get right back on track. If you do biff it, get right back on track. Dinner was always my hardest, but the key was to have that plan approved snack right before bed and get back to it. It’s hard not to think “Oh man, I screwed up. This day is shot; might as well eat junk the rest of the day and try again tomorrow.” Don’t think in terms of days…think in terms of meals. And a protein snack right before bed is perfect as the protein breaks down whatever crap you ate that made you biff it in the first place.
- Do something fun for exercise. Find an exercise that you enjoy and will stick to. Zumba is my thing – shout out to Jake and the team at Z Body Fitness! What’s yours?
Lift weights. Holy crap. Beyond all the health reasons, I could not believe how my weightloss skyrocketed once I started lifting weights. I know it was the weightlifting because I’d done weeks and weeks of steady 1-hour cardiovascular 4-5 times a week and ate on plan and the scale was barely moving. The minute I added weight lifting, I was shocked to see myself losing a pound every week. Gwen explained that this is because when you’re doing cardiovascular exercise, you burn calories from the time you start to the time you finish. When you weightlift, you burn calories for an entire day afterwards because your body is working to repair the muscles you stressed during your workout. How cool is that?!
- Limit temptation. We started the journey during the holidays and can attest how hard it is to forego the mini candybars in Halloween, the pumpkin pie in Thanksgiving, and the many many temptations in December. For me, my first reaction was to skip social outings to limit the temptation. Jen and Gwen suggested we eat before we go and it really did help! I found I was more likely to make good choices because I wasn’t ravenous. Tracie also found a great article that suggested maybe allowing yourself just one “cheat” and to savor each and every bite. A lot of it is mind over matter, but my cousin – who’s completing over 8 months of clean eating and exercise – uses a hashtag I love: #nothingtastesasgoodasskinnyfeels. And she’s so, so right. That first time you have to go buy new clothes because your old ones are too big? It’s the best feeling in the world.
You can do this, fellow mamas! And if you’re interested in having the help – with customized meal plans and so much more – from the fabulous Gwen and Jen, check them out online (links at the bottom). They are amazing and after you’ve dropped dress sizes and weight, you too, will be drinking the Kool-Aid.
Special thanks again to Gwen and Jen. This wasn’t a diet. This was a lifestyle change and I’m a better, healthier, and happier person because of you. Thank you so much for this opportunity!
Gwen and Jen train individuals who wish to compete as bikini models as well as the average woman – like us RMB moms – who want to lose weight, tone down, and feel more confident. Their partnered site is: http://perfect10athletics.com/ or you can contact either of them individually at: