...Not this time. This time was going to be different.
I took some time to think about the approach I wanted to take to continue my lifestyle change and did my research.
The obvious first option would be to hire a trainer; but I didn’t want to have a trainer at the gym that I had to have scheduled meeting/training times every week, that didn’t work for my life. I’m a mother of an extremely active now 4 year old, working a job that required day, evening and on-call shifts that I could potentially have to go into work for extended periods of time with little notice, and have a fiancé that works offshore and is gone three of every six weeks. Three of every 6 weeks I’m pretty much a single mom juggling a 4 year old with a social life and extra-curricular calendar fuller than my own, while working full time and maintaining a home.
There is NO setting regularly scheduled meetings with that life, I have a hard enough time scheduling the required life appointments (dentist, doctor, haircuts), let alone time to meet with a personal trainer.
I needed flexibility.
I knew I had the drive and desire to continue my fitness journey; I didn’t need to meet with someone to do that. I just needed the guidance, knowledge and accountability. I wanted someone to tell me what to eat, what to train and how often, and who would keep me on track. In my search for my perfect fitness program I came across the concept of online coaching. After approaching and chatting with some local trainers and coaches that I was made aware of through both social media and word of mouth, I reached out to Life Aesthetics and started a 16 week body transformation program with Matt and Jodi.
My first conversation with them consisted of me telling them that I had recently lost 20 pounds and that I was to the point I always got to on my own that I would start gaining it back. My goal was to try to lose another 10 pounds (although still at 175 pounds I was doubtful my body could actually lose 10 more), and to maintain that weight loss and get a “toned, fit” look. Being skinny was not what I was looking for, but being healthy and fit so I could keep up with and enjoy activities with my daughter and be a good role model for my family was priority. “No problem!” they said...even though I was still doubtful.
Over the next 16 weeks I reached that goal of losing those pesky 10 pounds and realized everything I had been doing in all my other weight loss and fitness attempts was so WRONG........Not nearly enough food (1200 calories is not a magic number FYI) and certainly not the right ratios and timing, too much cardio, inappropriate/ineffective strength training, not enough rest. Matt and Jodi taught me how to have a happy balance with my nutrition, workouts, and living a "normal" life……and most importantly they believed in me. They saw potential in me that I didn’t see in myself and told me I was capable of more. And they were right! Another 16 weeks with them brought me down another 17 pounds! I NEVER in my wildest dreams thought I was capable of that.
"I felt like a million dollars."
...not only because I felt like I looked great, but because I FELT great. My body was smaller (obviously) and I was actually developing some muscular definition but more importantly I had more energy, I was happier, I was more CONFIDENT, and most surprisingly, I had MORE TIME. More time to get the things I needed to get done everyday, more time to spend with my family, with my friends, and more time to do some additional selfish things for me (look for more recipes, try cooking a new dish or healthy treat, get my nails done, get my hair done, go to the spa – new years resolution totally conquered for the first time in forever).
How was it even possible that I have more time?
Well, I was taking time from my week to meal prep and go to the gym and ending up with more time to spend doing things I enjoyed and with the people that are important to me? It seemed really counterintuitive but once I started to really understand how much time I was saving by planning and meal prepping for the week instead of struggling through the kitchen everyday before work for breakfast and lunch and after work for supper, and that my workouts were taking place during an hour of my day that I would normally just sit in the office and chat with co-workers, do extra work or surf the web, plus the fact I had WAY more energy when I got home from work and was ready to spend time with my family instead of crashing on the couch for an hour or two before getting into the evening household routine, the extra time I had was making sense. Not only did it make sense it really became easy to maintain. This was truly a lifestyle for me. An enjoyable one that was allowing me to actually have more time to do things that I wanted to do and spend more time with people that I love. And guess what, I STILL EAT.
I enjoy a balanced lifestyle and nutrition plan, not restricting any foods from what I eat, thanks to flexible dieting (...and being a bit of a macro whiz). I eat cake, I drink wine, I do not deprive myself or miss out on life. Anyone who knows me or spends any time with me sees me carrying around my suitcase of a lunchbag everyday with what I eat at work, plus I eat at home, and it’s a substantial amount throughout the day. Now don’t get me wrong, it has taken some work to get to this point, but for the most part I eat far more than I ever was before and because I am fueling my body appropriately my metabolism is in much better shape than it ever has been. I still enjoy going out for meals at restaurants, or the homes of friends and family, and all the delicious food hubby cooks when he is home (and he is a PHENOMENAL cook).
"...I don’t ask others that are preparing meals to just make me plain chicken breasts and rabbit food, and that isn’t what I prepare for myself either. I eat what everyone else eats. I enjoy treats and snacks at parties and events. I do eat mostly wholesome healthy food options, it’s good for me, it’s good for my family, but please understand I am not eating anything plain, boring or bland."
I experiment in the kitchen, take foods I love and make good choices about changing or modifying ingredients to make cleaned up, but still delicious, versions of them. Remember I have a four year old so whatever I make has to taste good or she won’t be eating it! I eat pancakes every day. And I mean EVERYDAY; I have about 4 different types, including chocolate ones that I make. I eat things like Peanut butter cup overnight oats, brownie batter breakfast bakes, pork tenderloin stuffed with prosciutto, goats cheese and veg, black bean brownies, chocolate zucchini muffins, French toast, pulled pork, risotto, sushi, homemade chocolate pudding, potatoes, pasta, bread, bagels and English muffins(GASP yes I eat carbs, and lots of them, even the white variety if I want to). That list is not all I eat, just a sampling to show that there is clearly nothing that is off limits. Sometimes it does require some creativity and modifications to recipes, sometimes they fail, but others they ROCK, ( I.E. I make an alfredo sauce and a chocolate “buttercream” icing using cauliflower and they are delicious, seriously. I eat when I want to eat.)
I don’t adhere to a strict six small meals, or three meals plus a couple snacks plan. I eat when I am hungry, when it works for me and I ENJOY food. I plan my meals throughout the day to hit my macronutrient goals provided to me by my coaches. After working with them they know what ratios of macro and micronutrients work best for me and my goals. I have learned a lot about nutrient timing and mostly incorporate that when I am planning my meals for the day/week but if something happens and my day plans change I don’t beat myself up over it. If I want pizza, I have it, I just plan the rest of my meals for the day to make it fit in my macros. I have a blast in the kitchen coming up with new meals and experimenting with making changes in recipes I love. It’s something the entire family has gotten involved in and meal prepping and cooking has become time we spend together. It’s fun, its educational and most importantly it’s setting a good example for my daughter and teaching her to have a healthy relationship with food.
Since completing my two 16 week body transformation packages I have continued my fitness journey with Lean Aesthetics taking on the challenge of doing my first bikini competition this past April. This wasn’t something I set out to do in the beginning, or something I ever thought was possible. I had changed my life, felt amazing, looked great, and had always been involved in competitive sport, so really why not go for it. Growing up I loved competing and the structure of training for competitions, so why not go for it? In two stacked fields of more than 25 beautiful and fit women I placed 4th in Masters Bikini and 6th in my height class in Open Bikini.
I was speechless. I still am.
I have accomplished things in the past year and a half that I never thought I could, not only in terms of weight loss, but also strength, and happiness. I have muscles and curves that I love (believe me I’ll snap a selfie when I see a nice pump after a training session), I can squat heavy and I can actually do pull ups, I have a physically fit, healthy, strong body, that can run, jump, play, swim and keep up with an active little girl. I have found something that I am passionate about and that has allowed me to bring out the competitive side of me that I experienced for so much of my life growing up. Most importantly, I have never been happier with my life, or more confident in myself and my ability to be a positive influence on my daughter.
...And at the end of the day, health, happiness, family (and food) are key!
FOLLOW HEATHERS JOURNEY ON INSTAGRAM @ROBBINSHM