Body Transformation: Elizabeth Blaser Got Her Groove Back!
This ex-track athlete battled thyroid and health issues, and found her happy weight.
Name: Elizabeth Blaser
Location: Golden, CO
Why I decided to transform
In high school, I learned I had an extremely overactive thyroid and Graves' disease. This basically meant that I could eat anything and everything, and still easily lose weight. In order to curb the health dangers, I had to have my thyroid shut down. I didn't think to change my diet when this happened, so I was still eating everything and anything in sight.
I probably gained 60-70 pounds in my junior year of high school. I'd overheard some of the boys in high school making fun of me; their hurtful words opened my eyes to how my diet had spiraled out of control. I'd already been lifting, so I tried to convince myself that my weight gain was simply muscle.
I moved across the country to go to college and get a fresh start in Colorado, but had a hard time fitting in and making friends. I didn't go out to a single party or on a date my entire freshman year of college. I felt like I didn't fit in with the other girls on my dorm floor, and battled with depression.
That first Christmas vacation, I decided that enough was enough. I was heading for health problems and already had high blood pressure. Obesity-related diseases run in my family, too. My mom's side of the family consists of tall, slim folks. My dad's... not so much. I wanted to feel attractive and finally be confident in myself. Getting teased was the first wake-up call, but reaching for a healthy and active lifestyle is what motivated me to get my act together.
My life is so much better now! I don't get winded from easy hikes anymore and I've discovered new sports like downhilling and motocross that would have been harder to do had I still been extremely overweight. All of my health problems, including high blood pressure, severe migraines, depression, and asthma, subsided once I dropped the weight. I feel happier and healthier now.
My weight loss has had a positive impact on people around me too. My dad has since lost about 70 pounds himself, and is making a conscious effort to live healthier.
How I accomplished my goals
At first, I started tracking my food and exercise using Weight Watchers online. I continued to lift very heavy, but did so more frequently and incorporated more cardio like lap swimming and road biking into my regimen.
There were many days when I would think about quitting. I would fall off the wagon every so often, which made it harder to get back on. After all, when there's a ton of weight to lose, the scale progress can be so painfully slow that it can be discouraging.
I kept records of my workouts, meals, and motivation in a journal. I made a table on the front cover that had dates and my weight loss totals by week with cumulative numbers. This was the best way for me to stay accountable to myself. If there were a few weeks where there was no change, I knew that I was cheating myself. Seeing changes in your appearance and feeling better are great motivators as well.
To stay motivated now, I focus on lifting gains and positive changes in my physique.
What aspect challenged me the most
The hardest part was staying motivated in spite of not seeing progress. I thought I did everything right—eat better, work out more—but there were many times when the scale did not budge.
Instead, I started taking progress photos so I could see that, even though I may not technically be losing weight, I was still moving in the right direction. I also would try to write down positive changes in my journal.
If I was having a hard time staying motivated, I would write down goals and things that I could focus on the next day and week. This kept me from thinking too many negative things or getting discouraged. I always like having something to work toward. Even when I'm doing well and am happy with how I work, I pick something that I can be doing better and write it down.
Diet is still the hardest thing for me to rein in. I've found that I can make traditionally unhealthy (and delicious) recipes that are much healthier and taste just as great.
My future fitness plans
I am currently working toward becoming a personal trainer to hopefully motivate others!
I did my first competition last year. I figured that the fear of embarrassment on stage would be enough to push myself forward with my fitness goals. I am doing another competition next year and hope to do better than I did in the last one. I also aspire to do fitness modeling in the future when I get in even better shape.
Suggestions for aspiring transformers
It's hard to stay motivated when you can't see always see the positive changes that are occurring. Keep in mind how much better you're feeling each week, and reflect on the positive things. Even though you may not be losing weight, you could be losing inches or gaining muscle. Don't stake very much on what the scale says.
I usually never weigh myself more than once every two weeks. The scale doesn't tell the entire picture. If you know you are eating well and exercising enough, the results should follow!
Hold yourself accountable. I use MyFitnessPal to track my food and exercise. It also charts your weight for you so you can see your progress. This is nice because you can connect with other people trying to accomplish the same thing as you.
Write down your goals in your exercise journal or on a mirror. When I first decided to lose weight, I was so overwhelmed. I felt like I had so much to do and that it would take ages. If you don't break your goals down into smaller, more manageable ones, it is hard to stay motivated. For me, I probably never would have started if I'd said my goal is to lose 80 pounds. Instead, try something small, like saying you're going to lose one pound this week.
I didn't really feel like I had accomplished that much until I pulled out some old photographs. Taking progress pictures is a good way for you to track your accomplishments and keep you motivated.
Don't compare yourself to anyone else. We are all guilty of this. I have learned that you cannot look at the person next to you at the gym and get down on yourself for not looking like that. You should want to be the best version of yourself, not someone else.
How Bodybuilding.com helped me reach my goals
I've never had a personal trainer. I have probably read hundreds of articles on Bodybuilding.com. I actually used Jamie Eason's LiveFit Trainer for a long time. Now when I'm looking for a new exercise, I go on the Bodybuilding.com website! I did my first figure competition without a coach, and the articles on Bodybuilding.com helped me prepare with nutrition, posing, diet, etc.
I order all of my supplements from Bodybuilding.com as well. Plus, BodySpace is nice for encouragement and motivation.