Why I Got Started
In November 2010, I got news that changed my life; I was diagnosed with stage 1B melanoma skin cancer. I could not believe I was facing a potentially dangerous type of cancer at such a young age. A month later, I was scheduled to have a skin excision and several of my femoral lymph nodes taken out.
I realized I was no longer young and invincible at this point. I decided the week of my surgery would be the first week of my new cancer free life.
For 7 years, I was overweight and I struggled with yo-yo dieting. I always wanted to reach a healthy weight but no matter how many times I lost weight, I always gained it back. I made a conscious decision to take the slow, patient and realistic journey to shedding the extra weight I had gained as a young adult.
How I Did It
For 84 days, I logged everything I ate and drank in a paper food journal daily. I then posted my daily intake, feelings I had that day on my diet, progress pictures, the exercise I completed, and any problems or dilemmas I faced as "roadblocks" to my new and improved self.
My fat loss log in the fat loss forums is titled: Operation Dream Barbie. I put myself on an average 1300 calorie diet that allowed any type of food I wanted, but in moderation. I needed to teach myself healthy habits that incorporated the foods that I truly enjoyed eating.
As I came closer and closer to approaching day 84 of my 12-week challenge, my weight loss started to plateau. To figure out what was going to work best for my body, I started incorporating various supplements, adjusting my calorie and macronutrient levels, and intensely monitoring my food cravings, moods, and exercise performance in regards to my evolving nutrition plan.
Even though I started my 12-week journey at approximately 1300 calories a day and 60g of protein a day, I learned that my body operated far more optimally at 1800-2000 calories spread throughout the day, under 200g/day of carbohydrates and over 100g of protein. I needed to concentrate on incorporating foods I loved with the foods my body loved.
Suggestions for Others
Be consistent! Do a program or whatever works best for you and stick to it. Don't cheat or self-sabotage (Geeez have I learned if you go too strict and too out of the box for your lifestyle, it ends in disaster! It's a concept that has proven itself time and time again!) Make sure you figure out how to add some of your favorite foods into your diet on a constant basis (even every day!) to ensure you'll stay on track and learn healthy habits.
Of all the supplements I take, the only ones I highly recommend are a high potency multi-vitamin and mineral, omega-3 EPA/DHA supplement, a whey protein supplement, and a casein protein supplement. If you can spare the expense and you are having a hard time recovering from workouts (aka being very sore,) I would add in L-glutamine powder and BCAA supplements like Xtend. Pre-workout supplements are AMAZING for energy, endurance, and stamina, but I feel you can get a good workout without a PWO supplement. I sure do love them though.
Thermogenics - I have a love/hate relationship with. They give you a medial weight loss advantage but it's the energy kick, laxative effect, and slight appetite suppressant that seals the deal. Again, if you can afford it and you are in good health pre-diet, it could be worth a try IF you are really doing 100% on your own and need an extra push.
The 1-2-3 punch for my overall transformation is:
- Consistency to the fullest. No one likes a cheater or a quitter.
- Being active. Make sure you do a combination of weight training and cardio. Always challenge your body! Don't be afraid of trying something new or asking someone more experienced for help. Everyone has a starting point.
You can do anything you set your mind to do! Don't let anyone tell you otherwise! So many times in my life, people told me I couldn't lose weight or if I did lose weight, I'd just gain it back. They were wrong and I was wrong for believing them!