Achieving healthy weight loss is not something that comes easy for most people. It certainly didn’t come easy for me. I struggled for most of my life to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
I’d like to share my story with you here, and if just one person reads about my long struggle to achieving fitness, and gains some insight for their own struggle, then it will be worth my time in telling it.
Being healthy and fit IS attainable, and you can achieve it much quicker than I did…
I can remember my first day of high school like it was yesterday.
The shirt that I wore in an attempt to cover up my body was green, plaid and hooded. It was the 90’s, Britney Spears was all the rage, and I was an embarrassing 40 pounds overweight.
Sitting in the back of 9th grade homeroom I watched the athletic and popular girls, Becky and Amanda, and wondered how they did it. How were they so effortlessly thin? And why was I so chubby?
I was insecure, confused, and desperately wanted to be fit, attractive and confident.
At the time fitness and nutrition was like an unsolved puzzle – I could start to identify the different pieces but was hopelessly lost when it came to putting it all together. If only someone had explained how simple fitness is when you have clarity on diet, exercise and supplements.
But, alas, I was about to embark on more than a decade of struggling to figure it out for myself.
A few weeks into the school year our freshman class was sent on a wilderness trip. For a full week we trekked through the Cascade mountains carrying heavy backpacks loaded with pots, tents and rations. After several days of constant hiking, coupled with my inability to choke down the gross tasting food, I noticed that my pants were getting looser and looser. By the last day of the trip I had to fashion a belt out of a bungee cord to keep my pants from falling off.
Arriving home from the grueling experience, I was excited to sit down to a comforting meal of greasy grilled cheese and ice-cold soda. All week on the hike I had fantasized about how amazing that first meal back in civilization would taste. The meal didn’t disappoint, but my satisfaction was short lived when the food promptly came right back up.
That night it became apparent that I had brought home more than just memories from the mountains.
While our guides had warned us to treat water with iodine tablets before drinking it, I hated how it turned the water yellow and gave it a weird taste, so I spent the week filling my canteen straight from the mountain streams. Whatever virus I had ingested keep me out of school and hardly able to keep anything down for another full week. I was miserable and was losing weight by the day.
When the illness passed, and my strength returned, I noticed how much my body had changed in just two short weeks. The bathroom scale, which I typically avoided, rewarded my pain with the revelation of a whopping 16-pound weight loss. My wish for a slimmer body had been granted!
I traded size 12 pants for size 8 and marveled at how the positive attention my smaller figure was getting from my peers. Now I just had to figure out how to keep the weight loss going strong.
My diet back then had been very simple: if something tasted good then I would eat it. Most of my meals consisted of bowls of cereal, pasta, or pizza. Baking was my favorite pastime, so homemade sugary treats were a common occurrence. I was also vegetarian, consuming very little protein.
Those two weeks of accidental crash dieting shaped my understanding of weight loss. I believed that food was the enemy and avoiding it was the only way to be thin. I wholeheartedly locked on to this mindset, making a game out of how little I could eat in a day. After a couple months of depravation dieting, I had dropped over 40 pounds.
My ill-fated deprivation diet left me weak and tired, which caught the attention of my volleyball coach, Charlie. He pulled me aside and bluntly pointed out that my performance on the court was tanking. If something didn’t change, he’d have to cut me from the team. “What are you eating before practice?” he dug. “Uh, nothing.” I sheepishly answered, knowing this was the problem.
Charlie gathered the whole team up and launched into a lecture on the importance of eating enough calories before games and practices. He was making an example out of me.
“Coach, Diana doesn’t eat because she doesn’t want to get fat again,” Melody, our star player, blurted out. The team snickered and I could feel everyone’s eyes on me, including Charlie’s. “If you’re worried about your weight then start jogging,” he said. “You can eat whatever you want as long as you burn it off.”
I took his words to heart and started running. Every. Single. Day. I would run before practices and games, and on the weekends. Now the game that I played with myself wasn’t how little I could eat, but how far I could run. By the time I entered 10th grade, my average run was 9 miles.
The upside to all the running was that it allowed me to eat again. As long as I got my miles in each day, I could indulge in all my favorite foods and still fit into my whitewashed, size 3 Calvin Klein’s. My understanding was that exercise was tedious and time-consuming, but essential to staying thin.
Every day was a struggle, but I kept at it all the way through graduation.
When I entered college, the long-distance running and restricted eating had given me an enviable figure. Finally, I was the one turning heads!
A group of popular girls from my dorm got together and asked me to help them get fit. Despite being lean and fit, I was still painfully shy. I still felt like the fat, insecure girl who was missing something that these other girls seemed to naturally have. I couldn’t believe that they were talking to me, let alone asking me for help. That year I stepped out of my comfort zone to lead this group of girls through a workout and dieting routine and in doing so I started to find my voice, and just a little bit of confidence.
A year later, as a 19-year-old college sophomore, I worked up enough nerve to walk into the LA Fitness down the street from campus to ask for a job. I was going to become a legitimate personal trainer!
Up to that point I had never seen the inside of a weight room. A whole new world was about to open up for me.
The next several months were a crash course in weight lifting. I learned how to build muscle through resistance training. I heard the term “metabolism” for the first time, and I started to understand the importance of eating protein to support muscle growth.
I was also introduced to supplements. The helpful, muscle-bound guys who also worked at the gym recommended that I start drinking protein shakes and taking fat burner supplements. With a full class load and a growing client roster, there wasn’t as much time for my long daily runs, so I welcomed the idea of a “fat-burning” pill with open arms. Imagine, the benefits of 3 hours pounding the pavement simply by swallowing a pill!
I would take one or two Hydroxycut fat burning pills right before training my clients. It was working, and despite spending less time running, my body was taking on new definition and muscle tone. I was managing to balance it all, or so I thought.
At this time, in the early 2000’s, the FDA had yet to ban ephedra – a stimulant that increases metabolism and heart rate – and so one evening those magical pills pushed my heart just a little too far. All I remember was that one moment I was doing walking lunges alongside my client Sandra, and the next moment I was sprawled out in the middle of the gym floor, looking up a ceiling that seemed to spin out of control, my heart pounding wildly.
That experience scared me and cemented the idea that supplements are dangerous. I never took another fat burning pill again.
Just a few years later, at 24, I found myself in a completely different phase of life. I had graduated college, married the most muscly of those muscle-bound trainers (Bedros, you might know him!) and had just given birth to our first child.
My fit figure had evaporated over 9 months, but I was determined to get it back. I went back to what I had learned about weight loss:
Diet: food was the enemy and avoiding it was the only way to be thin.
Exercise: must be tedious and time-consuming to be effective.
Supplements: were dangerous and to be avoided.
To say that this approach failed me would be an understatement. It’s more like this approach chewed me up and spit me out. After a few months, I was exhausted, frustrated and still carrying the pregnancy weight. It was at this point that I realized everything I thought I knew about diet and exercise was failing me.
Over the next decade through study and trial and error, I focused on cutting through the noise and uncovering the truth. The puzzle of fitness and nutrition was finally coming together, slowly but surely. I found out just how easy fitness can be once a level of clarity is reached about what works with diet, exercise and supplements.
After wasting years trying to get fit the wrong way, it became my mission to provide others with a clear shortcut to fitness, confidence and energy.
Here’s what I found out…
Diet: Food is not the enemy, food is fuel. A lean diet is one filled with protein from lean meats, fiber from non-starchy vegetables, and complex carbs from starchy vegetables. It’s equally as important to drink lots of water as it is to avoid refined sugars. And the fewer processed foods that you consume, the better your fitness results will be.
Exercise: High-intensity interval training that incorporates resistance training is the most effective way to burn fat, and best of all it can be done in as little as 30 minutes. Gone are the days of long, slow, boring cardio. Thank goodness, since as the mom of two, with full-time work, those 9-miler runs are a thing of the past.
That muscle-bound trainer that I married wanted to make 30-minute workouts fun, effective and affordable. This propelled him to start Fit Body Boot Camp, which in my opinion is the BEST workout on the planet. Today we run the corporate headquarters together, with the mission of inspiring fitness and changing lives every day.
Supplements: At least I had one thing right: fat burning pills are totally bogus! However, supplementation (done right) plays a huge hand in staying fit and lean. Swapping out a meal or snack for a protein shake is a fantastic way to fuel your muscles while keeping calories in check. Of course, it’s very important to avoid supplements made with artificial sweeteners, dyes, fillers like soy and ingredients from cows treated with hormones.
We wanted to provide our FBBC clients with quality, great-tasting supplements but weren’t impressed with anything on the market. And so we spent the past year creating our own line. After going through a unique custom formulation for each product, ensuring the quality of each ingredient, and spending time in the formulation lab working on flavor profiles, we are thrilled with the first release of our FBBC Approved Supplements.
So why did I just share my story with you?
I figure if just one person reads about my long struggle to achieving fitness, and gains some insight for their own struggle, then it was worth my time in telling it. Being healthy and fit IS attainable, and you can achieve it much quicker than I did.
If you would like additional support, tips and motivation then feel free to join our FBBC Global Facebook Group filled with thousands of individuals seeking to live their best, most fit and healthy lives.
Bedros goes live in the group on Sundays with a Mindset message and I jump in on Thursdays with cooking demos. Hope to see you there!
Here’s to YOUR fitness journey!