How I lost over 40lbs. It’s not what you think!

I get a number of questions about my transformation. I feel as though people only see the “after” me, and don’t really know how I got to my present day self. I want to be completely transparent of what my 13 YEAR journey has looked like.

I was always “chunky” as a kid, and I have dieted on and off my entire life. Anyone recall the “Cabbage Soup” diet or the “Grapefruit” diet?! Or know who Susan Powter is?! I’m aging myself, I know! LOL! My point being, I have had a poor relationship with body image and food for quite some time. I was always trying the next quick fix in hopes of reaching my ideal body. What that was at the time, I still have no idea. But it was not until 2002 that I finally realized that if I wanted to take off the weight and keep it off, I was going to have to see this journey as a marathon not a sprint!

I DID NOT go from 164+lbs with poor eating habits, to eating chicken, sweet potatoes, and green beans overnight! When I began my weight loss journey, I started simply by portion control. I took one step until I made that a habit. I would have a half of a turkey sandwich (yes deli meat, gasp!) with cheese (did she say dairy?) on whole wheat bread (and gluten?!), and have half a bag (the big one) of cheddar-flavored baked Ruffles (uh huh, processed food!). And I would have the other half and the rest of the bag of chips for dinner followed by an ice cream treat of some sort. And on Sunday’s I would go to Macaroni Grill with my friend Michelle and have breadsticks, salad, a pasta dish & dessert! REALLY! That’s how I got started! I would also go to bed super early each day so I wouldn’t be tempted to eat at night. When I say early, I mean 7pm! So glamorous, right?

Then I went through a phase of eating Wawa chicken noodle soup with Saltines for lunch, a Zone Bar for dinner, and then I would get a baked good from Starbuck’s for a treat. I did a stint with Nutri-System too. Again processed, yet pre-portioned meals, and I would get a roll of Pillsbury chocolate chip cookie dough and make fresh cookies at night. So not necessarily, the “ideal” way to health. But I did go from a size 13-14 to a size 6, doing it this way!

It was not until 2010 when I decided to compete in a fitness competition, that I learned about the concept of eating clean and took my physique to another level. It was at this time that I was introduced to the importance of macronutrients, prepping, weighing, measuring, and the concept of eating small “meals” several times a day. Nothing was eliminated from my competition meal prep. I had starches, lean protein, healthy fats, veggies, fruit & dairy in my nutrition plan. Plus a weekly reward meal. And you guessed it, that included ice cream! (Maybe my coach didn’t necessarily know that, but I still ended up with killer physique!) Nothing was eliminated from my nutrition plan, until the week leading up to my show. Obviously the reward meal had to go, along with the dairy.

So it was not until just about 5 years ago that I was able to achieve a “fitness-like” physique. And since 2010, I have fluctuated in my body fat levels & leanness, and have continued to struggle with my issues surrounding food & body image. The difference is that it is not at the same scale (no pun intended) as it was in 2002. Another contributing factor is that I now consider this my lifestyle, and I am more present & mindful with my food choices. I’m not going to say that I still don’t have week long binges. Because it does still happen. I just know that I am the only one in control of what goes in my mouth & I stop to evaluate what is going on my life that I am turning to food for solace. I am the only one who can choose to see myself differently. I KNOW that I am more than my shell.

I should mention that I have been active my entire life. Even when I was at my heaviest, I still lifted weights and did cardiovascular activity. So my transformation was almost all nutrition related. Proving that 80% of the physique is diet, 10% exercise, and 10% genetics.

The attached images show where I started my journey in 2002. The photo from 2010 is my very first check-in picture prior to my competition training. And the 2014 image is the leanest I have ever been! To the present day me. So, do NOT beat yourself up if you are not where you want to be. Remember, it is a marathon NOT a sprint…if you want lasting results that is. And who doesn’t want that?!? Until next time…

Love & Light,

Tawny

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