When Splash first approached me about joining the two-week My Fit Foods Challenge, I was so excited. Since August, I have been determined to lose 100 pounds. Yes, you read that correctly, I wanted to lose 100 pounds. To say that amount out loud would be embarrassing to most people – even more so for a woman. And while I don’t love admitting how much weight I needed to lose in order to be a healthy 34-year-old woman, in a way I am relieved to be honest with people about what a struggle this part of my life has been for me.
Since August, I have been staying away from a lot of the foods I love: dairy, bread, pasta and sugar. For those that know me and shared at least one meal over the years you are probably wondering if that means I’m starving, since that was what my former diet consisted of for the last 34 years. I’m not starving and after being super strict for the first six weeks, I started to give myself a cheat day here and there.
Besides drastically changing my diet, I have made sure to work out almost every day. I have been going to Shred415 for the last four years and even at my heaviest have always enjoyed this workout. I would sometimes wake up feeling really down about myself, but the moment I would walk into class that would all melt away. I’m really proud of myself for sticking with it, because it was the one healthy thing I was doing for myself, and I love all of the instructors and my fellow Shredders. Toward the end of August, my husband and I joined Wicker Park Athletic Club (part of CAC). I have since taken every group class that I could fit into my schedule. This includes practicing yoga, spinning, dancing front row at Viola’s hip-hop class, Pilates … you name it. One of my girlfriends Saray joined the same club, and now we have made a weekly tradition of taking a class together. I have found a real community in taking group fitness classes and making new friends who want to see me succeed.
By December, I had already lost 55 pounds and was plateauing, so I was really looking forward to a new way to get excited about this new healthy lifestyle — and, honestly, it has been a life-changer. My My Fit Foods nutritionist Katie has been great about working with me on creating realistic meal plans. Because I am running straight from a workout to clients, I don’t come home until the late afternoon or evening. She has created easy ways for me to have a meal on the go. I start every morning with their My Fit Foods Cocktail, which gives me a natural boost of energy and is delicious. On days I don’t go home right away, I can bring a meal with me and walk into any My Fit Foods and microwave it and eat it there or take it with me. There are a ton of healthy snacks that don’t require any heat. My favorites are their protein bars, chicken salad or egg salad with celery and rice crackers. I am obsessed with all of their shrimp meals. The shrimp tacos and shrimp and grits are out of control. While I am eating the meals three times a day, there are days where I know I have a dinner with my husband or a lunch meeting with a client, and so on those days I’m only eating a couple of the meals.
Since starting this meal plan, I’ve lost an additional 5 pounds (with one week to go), so I am really happy and even more committed to reaching my goal. Even for someone that doesn’t have weight loss as a goal, I can see how even working in one of the meals daily could be a benefit. The convenience factor is huge. Most of the dishes only need to be microwaved for 60-90 seconds. There is no excuse to skip breakfast — or any meal, for that matter. For those of you who can’t cook, this is a great and way more affordable alternative to eating out.
When the challenge is over, I am looking forward to continuing to incorporate the meals into my day. Since I’ve been asking my husband to try some of the dishes, he is also on board with incorporating some of the meals into the week as well. I will say it is much easier to live a healthy lifestyle when your partner is supportive.
So with 40 more pounds to go, I am starting 2016 with a new goal: I want to share my story with as many people as possible. Whether you or someone you know has had issues with their weight or body image, please check out my new website Weightingaroundchicago.com, launching later this month. I’m looking forward to connecting with you and helping you stay motivated to live a healthier life the way so many people have inspired me. A big thank you to Splash and My Fit Foods for starting my year off on the right track!