Size 4

I know that you guys come here for building plans and home improvement reading, but today I'm taking a slightly off course topic due to a momentous occasion that happened over the weekend.  For the first time (possibly ever), I went jeans shopping and fit into a size 4.  I'm pretty sure confetti dropped from the ceiling when I was able to easily button them up.  (Ladies, especially, you know what I'm talking about.)  So, for today, instead of home improvement, I'm talking about SELF improvement. After I got married, I put on some "love" weight.  When I was coming up on my one year anniversary, I realized that I had put on 10 lbs since my wedding day.  That was my reality check moment that it was time to start taking better care of myself.  If I kept gaining 10 lbs a year for a few more years I would be in some serious trouble.  Especially since diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and being overweight naturally runs in the women's side of my family.  I want to live long enough to renovate quite a few more houses. So, last October, I signed up to get a trainer at my gym, 24 hour fitness.  She taught me how to eat and what to do, and I realized that I had been doing everything completely wrong.  Yes, I was eating a salad, but with all of the cheese that I had on it I may as well have ordered a Big Mac. My first question to anyone who has successfully lost weight has been "how did you do it?".  So, for today's post, I'm going to share how I did it. BTW, as my dear friend Stacy says, everyone loves a good before and after.  So, as embarassing as this is, here is my "before" and "after":

Ugh, just looking at my chubby picture makes me cringe.  And, yes, I change my hair color probably about as often as I change my socks.  As a side note, neither one of these pictures has been photoshopped, other than to format them.  Anyway, lets get to it, shall we?

Step 1: I Changed My Mindset

Here's the industry secret that no one in Hollywood talks about.  Everyone knows that magazine and promotional photos of celebrities are photoshopped.  Yes, every single picture.  I even photoshop all of my furniture pictures to give them a little extra "pop".  (Adjust the brightness here, color correct there... you get the gist.)  What they don't tell you, is that all of the actors and actresses have beauty work done in picture, too.  I can't tell you how many "digital facelifts" the companies that I've worked for have done.  We've cleaned up acne, made people thinner, removed "turkey necks"... the point is, even the people who are paid to be perfect, well... aren't.

So, instead of focusing on being "skinny", I focused on being "healthy".  I will never be a size 0.  It's not in my genes.  I can only be the best, healthiest ME.  I stopped focusing on the scale and the numbers and started focusing on what I was able to do.  When I started working out again, after not going to the gym for about a year, doing 15 squats was hard.  Now I'm doing 15 squats, 3 reps, while holding a 45 lb bar.  I'm stronger and faster than I've ever been, and the more I keep at it, the better I'll be.

The other thing to keep in mind, is that between my "before" and "after" picture, it's only a difference of about 7 lbs.  I've replaced muscle with fat, and since muscle weighs more, it makes the weight loss seem minor.  I weigh more than I did when I got married, but I'm a size smaller.  Bottom line, I haven't let the scale dictate my success.

Step 2: I Stopped Eating Crap

I'm a vegetarian, and there is a good and a bad way to be a vegetarian.  You either eat a lot of vegetables, or you eat a lot of bread and sugar.  Clearly, I used to be the "eat a lot of bread and sugar" kind.  When I wasn't getting enough protein, I would replace protein with carbs to get energy.  This was a bad idea.  Here are the easy ways that I added more veggies to my diet:

  1. I bought a juicer and started juicing for breakfast.  It seriously changed my life.  Before I have even gotten to lunch I have already eaten multiple servings of fruits and vegetables.  My favorite juice is 4 leaves of kale, 3 handfuls of spinach, half a cucumber, 2 apples, one lemon, and one lime.  Nom nom nom.
  2. I eat one salad as a meal every day.  Usually, it's dinner.  The favorite is a ton of spinach, half an apple, and a Gardein Chick'n Scallopini.  (It's basically a seasoned chicken breast, but for vegetarians.)  I also make this salad dressing to go with it.  It says to put it all in a blender, but I just put it in a ziplock container and shake it all up.  Seems to work just fine and make less dishes.
The other thing that no one told me before my trainer, is that I needed to stop eating starches before bed.  Bread is okay, just don't eat a ton of it and don't eat it at the end of the day. Lastly, I didn't take away any of the things that I love to eat, I just replaced them.  I have a sweet tooth, so I eat a lot of low fat frozen yogurt.  (My personal favorite right now is Menchie's Cake Batter swirled with Red Velvet.  OMG.)  100 calorie packs are great snacks when I need chocolate.  And, I let myself have a little bit of mac and cheese on the weekends... but instead of Velveeta, it's Annie's Organic Shells and Cheese, which is lower in fat.  You get the point. Lastly, I love beer.  Give me a good Shock Top at the end of the day and I'm a happy girl.  But, clearly beer is not the best thing for you.  So, instead of living completely without it, I've just cut down substantially.  I still drink with my colleagues on "Friday Hooters Lunch" (yes, that's a thing), I just don't also have a beer when I get home from work.  (Is it weird that I've become a work only drinker?  It sounds very Mad Men, doesn't it?) Bottom line, I try to find balance in what I eat and what I do.  Which brings me to...

Step 3: I Work Out

I know that a lot of people have very little expendable income, but if there's one thing I can recommend, it's to get a trainer.  I still would have no idea what I was doing if it weren't for my awesome trainer, Zabrina.  She holds me accountable, punishes me when I don't log my food, and challenges me to constantly be better.  What a lot of people don't know about a trainer, is that you don't necessarily have to go three times a week every week.  Even if you go once a month, he/she will set up the rest of your work outs for you.  I have a calendar that tells me 5 days a week what my work out needs to be.  It's awesome.  So, today, for example, I know that I have to go do 40 minutes on the bike, Alpine Pass level 9, and then i also have to do 20 minutes of elliptical at a level 6, 8, 10, 8, 7, changing the level every 4 minutes.  It takes all of the thinking out of it, and all you have to do is... well... go do it.  Bottom line... you can still get the benefit from a trainer and save a TON of money.  And, in my opinion, an investment in yourself is always a good investment. My goal is always to work out 5 days a week.  Sometimes I only make it 4, that's kind of the way it goes.  But, I make time for it.  I saw a pin on pinterest that quoted Gwyneth Paltrow saying: "The reason that I can be 38 and have two kids and wear a bikini is because I work my (expletive) ass off.  It's not an accident, it's not luck, it's not fairy dust, it's not good genes.  It's killing myself for an hour and a half five days a week, but what I get out of it is relative to what I put into it.  That's what I try to do in all areas of my life."  Makes a lot of sense, doesn't it?  We put so much into being the perfect wife/mother/employee/child/everything that it doesn't add up not to put that much effort into our health.   Anyway, take what I say with a grain of salt.  I am not a health professional, just a girl who got fit with some great, professional advice.  But, this is what worked for me.  I've put in the effort in and kept a realistic attitude about my lifestyle.  That's my big secret. I'm also hesitant to say my picture from the weekend is an "after" picture.  I know that my health will be a work in progress forever.  Once I say I'm "done" is when I'll let go and start sliding backwards.  But, overall, I'm happy with myself right now, and that's what matters. PS - thank you for listening to my off-topic post.  I realize that it's been a while since I've posted plans because Tubby has taken center stage, but I promise to post new plans for you later this week 🙂

9 Replies to “Size 4”

  1. You’re absolutely amazing, Shane. Great tips and great job getting back in shape and not letting the scale run your life! You know I’ve been searching for the motivation to get my last two years’ of “love” weight off, and I’ve been figuring things out… Slow and steady, I’m always reminding myself.

    I’m all about the personal posts, so don’t be afraid to share! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Stac! Gym dates when you move down here in a few (short) months? 🙂

      And, thanks for being encouraging of the personal posts. I’m always hesitant to do them since I want to give my readers what they are looking for – which, for the most part, is more project plans!

  2. Thank you for sharing this! I love your blog but just LOVE your honesty! This post was what I needed. I have a trainer and yesterday I was near tears as I struggled through my “punishment” for not working out or eating well for a week. I’m glad I got through it and I am really glad to have someone to push me to better my health. It’s nice to see others working hard. It doesn’t come easily but the outcome is worth it! Thank you for giving me the inspiration to keep going! I think I’ll buy a juicer tonight!

    1. Thanks, Lauren! And, thanks for reading! What does your trainer do to punish you? Mine makes me run up and down the double flights of stairs several times holding whatever weight she chooses. Ugh! Good luck with your journey! Let me know what you think about your juicer!

  3. Congrats, great for you. Trainers are great motivators for sure. Have hired two in the past and about to do it again. Sometimes I need that kick in the pants when I’ve lost my weight. Keep up the great work and make it a lifestyle from here on out. I am older and let me just say even though getting older can be a blessing in a lot of ways, weight isn’t one of them unless you make that effort!

    1. Thanks for the support, Lisa! It’s so hard to stay motivated sometimes, isn’t it? Let me know if you hook back up with your trainer! Good luck with your continued journey!

  4. Just found your site due to your very cute dresser!! Thanks for the plans, we find out if we are having a boy or girl (2nd baby). so gonna need more furniture. also, just wanted to say that I think you look pretty at your “chubbiest”. do what makes you happy.

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