For 28 years I never really put much thought into my weight or physical build. I always wished I had a more athletic/”toned” body, but not much beyond that. I had a few random New Year’s resolution spurts of Jillian Michael’s “30 Day Shred” workout videos in my bedroom, but they never lasted more than a month, at best. I hated cardio and jumping around. Without any education on nutrition, fat loss, or body composition, I would sadly start skipping meals. I would eat “way less” in general and eat mostly salads, all in an attempt to fast track myself to a better body. No wonder working out hard felt so hard and horrible! I’d then fall off completely and go back to hardly exercising and just accepting my body wasn’t meant to be changed.


Enter pregnancy. I had extreme nausea to the point of taking daily medication to allow me to “function” through normal daily tasks. But my food aversions were extreme. To summarize – the food I could tolerate without wanting to hurl was SIMPLE CARBS. So in a desire to make it through, I mostly survived on cherry frosted Pop Tarts, bagels with cream cheese, and Doritos. To no one’s surprise, I ended my pregnancy up 50 lbs! That’s right, on a 5’ 3” frame! I felt horrible the entire pregnancy, and the rapid and large amount of weight gain hurt my back and feet, long after my son was delivered.


30-ish pounds came off with little effort, just by resuming more “normal” eating/appetite. When my son was 10 months old, I finally had enough sleep/mental clarity to realize I didn’t like how I looked or FELT. While laying in bed scrolling for body transformation/weight loss inspiration, I was lucky enough to stumble upon Carli Williams (@fitnesscarli on Instagram, as many people know). Her page and post-partum weight loss and HEALTH journey inspired me. She looked amazing, but she also clearly had ENERGY and POSITIVITY, and I wanted that back! I bought her 14-day meal plan and it taught me so much about how to eat in a way that was healthy, enjoyable, and ultimately lower calorie than how I was currently eating. Swapping out more processed and calorie dense foods for higher volume and lower calorie, more nutrient dense food made an initial big impact for me! I ended up losing most of the remaining pregnancy weight.


I eventually outgrew the meal plan in that I was ready to incorporate more foods “off” the plan, but I didn’t want to stop making progress or regress. I luckily stumbled upon Flexible Dieting and more specifically, MACROS and eating “macro friendly”! My eyes were opened, and my mind was blown! I could incorporate all of the foods I had completely cut out, and thought I could never eat again, and still stay on track! WHAT! It was awesome.


I taught myself how to track macros, but ultimately – I was still missing a lot of education. I was setting my caloric intake too low, causing me to feel restricted and hungry, resulting in “falling off” on the weekends and overeating, essentially putting me into a cycle of under and then over eating – – which equals stalled progress. I was frustrated. I wanted a better physique, but I wanted to eat more food. I felt stuck and at a dead end. Tracking macros had changed the food game for me, but I still just knew there had to be “more” info/education out there to help me further. 


I also still felt a little lost on the whole exercise side of things. I bounced from Jillian Michaels videos to BBG (Bikini Body Guide) to Kelsey Wells PWR. I found that I actually hated jumping around and I dreaded working out because of it. It was a check box to me, not something I enjoyed. PWR gave me a taste of more traditional weight lifting and I LIKED IT. It felt unnatural to me, but it peaked my interest and actually made me WANT to work out. 


Once again self-educating on Instagram, I came across the page of a Nutrition Coach, Susan Dangerfield (@sdangerfit). Spoiler: I have now been working with Susan as my coach for a little over 2 years! It has been a wonderful growth process for me. Susan now programs my weight lifting training blocks. I wanted workouts that were more custom to me specifically and what I liked, enjoyed, and also NEEDED for my specific goals. I had never heard of someone having custom workouts written for them, OR a nutrition coach, but it sounded amazing! I am excellent at executing, but I need DIRECTION. There’s so much information out there and it’s really hard to feel confident in going any one direction without some guidance.


When I first started with Susan, I ultimately wanted to be smaller. I SAID I wanted a more toned and muscular look, but I insisted on fat loss and really wanted to slim my legs. We don’t get to choose where our body holds onto fat, and lucky for me, my body LOVES to store it in my thighs! I know a lot of women can relate. (PS this is normal and not the huge problem I made it out to be). 


We attempted further fat loss, but my caloric intake was already SO LOW from all of the “self-dieting” I had done for 9+ months. My body had adjusted to the super low calories I continued to give it. It wasn’t letting go of any more fat, and my energy sucked.  ENTER: REVERSE DIETING. WHAT?! I had no idea what that was. We raised my calories slowly over time and got me to a much better place. Eating more food, better energy, sleep, hormones and more productive workouts. But the problem was, I was never willing to spend any considerable amount of time at this “maintenance” place. I would get there for a few weeks and then be ready to attempt more fat loss. I specifically remember Susan telling me that I really needed to have more muscle on my frame to get the “look” I was going for. But I was so stubborn and not ready for the mental challenge of putting fat loss on hold and working to BUILD muscle. I just kept thinking surely if I got my body fat levels low enough I would like what I saw. I could do it! I was tough and consistent!


And guess what guys… I AM. I DID get to a really lean point. But I still just didn’t quite have that muscular look I wanted. And I felt hungry, tired, blah in the gym, irritable. So I reverse dieted back to maintenance levels. And then a curve ball hit at the beginning of this year. A foot injury. One that pushed my daily steps and NEAT down really low. That required me to rest and take it easy. (HELLO Lori, the body was trying to tell me something because I wasn’t listening!) Then COVID-19 hit. Everything was turned upside down and gyms were closed. Tracking macros and logging my food lost it’s appeal in the fog of a worldwide pandemic and stay at home order.


I just felt burnt out in all areas and my focus felt naturally changed. I just wanted to FEEL good. I wanted to see where my body would naturally settle if I ate intuitively with all of the nutrition knowledge I had gained over the last several years. I felt the need to force myself to be uncomfortable. Tracking my macros was my comfort zone, and I felt stagnant. I haven’t tracked for several months now and I’ve adjusted pretty well!


I feel empowered with all of the nutrition tools I’ve taught myself and learned from Susan! My energy is UP, and my focus has shifted to the gym and my workouts. I am hoping to finally be able to add some muscle to my frame now that I accept I cannot do that in a calorie deficit and feel comfortable staying “here” at maintenance. As @katiecrokus once {wisely} told me – “the magic is at maintenance”! I remember her telling me she had been at maintenance so long and couldn’t stomach the thought of a fat loss phase because she enjoyed all of her food so much and felt so fueled and strong. I GET IT NOW – – and I am seeing it for myself!!


My journey has officially shifted from the educational period of learning macros and nutrition with a focus on fat loss, to trusting my body can eat intuitively while I put my mental focus into the GYM! I enjoy a traditional style of body building/weight lifting and it feels so empowering to me! Fueling my body at its maintenance has made such a difference in how I perform in the gym, and I’m hoping it pays off! Lifting {HEAVY!} weights has become such a fun mental break and form of self-care for me! Something that’s only for me!


I share my journey, struggles, triumphs and tips with others on Instagram in hopes that I can help and/or inspire at least one other woman! I am personally so excited to see the abundance mindset really taking off. Strong and honest women are inspiring other women to want to be better fueled and STRONG, vs just being smaller and eating less food! And lastly – a special and sincere thank you to anyone who has ever reached out to me and let me know I’ve helped you in any way. I LOVE hearing that and it means the world to me! As women, we have a duty to lift up other women!

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