Lean, Mean, Fighting Machine

I took on a challenge seven weeks ago, and am extremely close to my goal. I wanted to share my success story, because maybe it will help other people. I am not a Dr. or a personal trainer, and the blog is based on my experiences.

Fad diets, cleanses and pills are crap and unhealthy – because they are NOT a lifestyle. Yes, you may drop weight quickly but it will mostly be water weight, which is not fat and can be dangerous if you are working out a lot. A healthy lifestyle and a couple good tools is all we need to be healthy.

Part of my motivation was based on my disgust with the contradicting reality we face everyday. We live in a crazy world. Celebrities seem to shrink before our eyes these days, and yet most Americans are considered obese – many are MORBIDLY obese. Sadly, the percentage of obese children is rising at a frightening rate. Our country’s relationship with food is a problem – and serving sizes are out of control.

Seven weeks ago I took on a challenge: Lose 5% body fat and 5lbs. Now, I’m 5’7″, and seven weeks ago weighed 130lbs. and was around 25% body fat. I was by no means over weight, but I wanted to change my appearance and gain muscle.

Reasons for Weight loss: I wanted to become stronger and smaller. As a woman, I wanted to feel more comfortable in my skin. As a model and actress, the better I look, the better my odds in getting booked. (Sad, but true!) As a runner, lower weight and more muscle would give me the power to up my speed.

The Tools: First, I created a profile with Fat Secret – it’s a website and there’s a phone application, which makes it easy to use at the office, on a road trip, or on a photo shoot. Fat Secret will allow you enter the food you eat, and the activities you do everyday into the program, and it will tell you where on the calorie scale you are. Re-educating myself about what an actual serving size is versus what culturally has become acceptable was crucial. Plus, a person my size who is barely active has a very low amount of calories needed per day to maintain current weight. For seven weeks, I aimed for a -500 to -800 per day.

Exercise: Duh, this is a given. The more you exercise, you more you can eat! Hooray! I am a HUGE food lover, but I am also lucky because I also LOVE to be active. When not marathon training, I average 35 miles per week of running, and I usually add 1-2 hours a day of either dance classes or ab videos (I love Hip Hop Abs) to my routine most days. Yes, it’s a lot. But part of my purpose for losing weight was to gain muscle, so exercise is necessary for my goal.

Sleep: When exercising (even if you are just adding walking to your routine), you NEED to sleep. There’s TONS of research that weight loss, exercise and sleep need to co-exist in a healthy lifestyle. I make sure to get 8 hours per night. I make it a priority, though obviously it doesn’t always happen. Without sleep, someone exercising will get injured at some point. Period. You can’t cheat the system, and your body will fail without sleep. So get some sleep!

Water: I stopped drinking all juice (the exception being V8), and diet soda, and have been chugging the water. Water helps you lose weight, flush toxins, and feel full. It’s also great for your skin. 🙂

Trade Offs: In order to be successful, I had to make some diet trade-offs. For example, I have swapped out wine for margaritas and other frozen beverages. I still allow myself to have GOOD beer (not the gross low calorie crap), but its a treat that is only allowed when I have tons of extra calories for the day. I still eat ice cream, pasta, and pizza – just not as often – especially since I have been focusing on consuming more protein to pack on the muscle. I love chocolate milk or a protein shake after a good workout.

Size Matters: Measure everything. Yes, it can make things slightly more tedious in the kitchen, but measure what an ACTUAL serving size is – not what you think it should be. Also, cooking for yourself most of the time will guarantee you will actually know what is being put into your food. I have eaten out plenty of times in the last seven weeks, but I take note of what’s in my food – even when I indulge (which believe me, I do).

When I stepped on the scale this morning, I weighed in at 123.4 lbs. and 20.9% body fat. I am hoping to drop a little more fat, but to actually gain muscle weight. Personally, I feel the best I have ever felt in my life. I feel strong, energized and confident. Every body is different, and I have grown to respect mine and to live to maintain its health to the best of my ability. I want to still be climbing mountains and running marathons when I am in my 70s.

At the end of the day, what matters most is our health, how we feel in our skin, and whether we feel our bodies allow us to do what we want or hold us back – be in climb a flight of stairs or complete a marathon. If this experience can help any of my friends love themselves more or improve their health, then that’s awesome!

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~ by Elizabeth on April 28, 2011.

One Response to “Lean, Mean, Fighting Machine”

  1. Liz!! This is tremendous! And, you know, I’d imagine that it’s actually a lot harder for someone who is already in such great shape as you to really manage to make dramatic physical changes–so that is SUCH great news that you’ve done so well thus far! Keep up the great work, and thank you so much for sharing your progress with us all- I’m always excited to read about what’s going on with you and to hear the great news! 🙂 Wishing you well and here’s to achieving your goals–hip hip hooray! CONGRATS!!
    Love & Hugs!
    Julia

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