2

I Was the Weight Loss Success Story

I am allowing myself to be completely vulnerable here.

This post is about my struggles.


I had started to lose weight in January of 2013. Going to the gym, watching what I eat, but not counting my calories. I went to Japan and when I came back I was in full swing once again. Hitting the gym 5 days a week. Exactly one year ago tomorrow, I joined MyFitnessPal. I was counting my calories and measuring my food. Making sure that every ounce was counted and logged.

Back then it was easy. JanuaryMyFitnessPal told me to eat X amount of calories, well, I’d eat X amount of calories. If I had an extra 300 calories left, you’d be damn sure I’d be eating some of that cookie dough ice cream in the freezer. Those calories were just far too good to give up.

The pounds were falling off. 30 pounds 40 pounds. 50 pounds. 60 pounds. I could feel the fat just dripping off of me.

I was approached by my gym to be in a photo shoot back in July of 2013. I was told that the photos may or may not be used in pamphlets that would be handed out at events. I would just be a face in the whole scheme of the pamphlet. I took these photos not thinking about the consequences. I took these photos because, at the time, it was something fun. I took these photos because it was great to look at my weight loss from an outsiders perspective. In retrospect, I wish I never took those photos.

Before I knew it, I was being featured in magazines, newspapers, advertisements, mail flyers, and, of course, billboards.

Imagine your face in lights.

I’ll admit that it was fun to be praised for your accomplishments. To be commended for the insane amount of time, effort, and energy. I was some sort of inspiration for people to lose weight. “If Erin can do it, so can you!”

My progress pictures were plastered at the gym. When someone was about to cancel their membership, a sales counselor would run over with my progress picture in hand and say, “This is Erin! She’s lost 80 pounds here! You can be her!” When someone was about to join the gym, a sales counselor would run over with my progress picture in hand and say, “This is Erin! She lost 80 pounds here! You can be her!”

It also didn’t help that my trainer was pushing me to lose 100 pounds before his other clients. “I want you to be the first one to get that spot, Erin! Don’t let someone else take it!”

Imagine the pressure. 

began to spiral out of control. I was restricting calories so heavily. I’d look at food like it was the devil. Food and I were never really friends, but now food was taking away from my goal to lose 100 pounds.

MyFitnessPal used to tell me to eat 1600 calories. Those 1600 calories then went down to 1400. Then 1200. Then 1000. And finally I was only trying to eat a whole 900 calories a day. Anything above 1000 was leaving me disjointed, anxious, and upset with myself. 1780625_10201569222255910_602150569_n

But not only would I restrict heavily, but then I would “surrender” to my food and I would eat. I’d just binge all day long. All the restriction that I did was pointless after a day of bingeing.

As you would imagine, the weight loss plateaued. I dubbed my “Sprint to 100″ as a “Crawl to 100″. I was working out one day and my trainer introduced me to someone as, “This is Erin! She was sprinting to 100, but now she’s just crawling to 100.”

Imagine the pain. 

Here I am struggling with my body. Struggling with food. Struggling with my own mental image of myself.

I knew I had a full blown eating disorder on my hands and I didn’t know how to cope. I still don’t know how to cope. My world revolved around numbers. The calories, the time to eat, how many minutes I worked out, how many calories I burned working out. Nothing made sense except for the numbers.

I’d kill myself at the gym but then come home and cry. I’d call my boyfriend and beg him to come over because I needed help eating. I didn’t trust myself enough to even eat. I needed someone else to help me eat. Making it to 1100 calories consumed for the day was a victory.

Now what?

If you want me to be frank, I’m still fucked. I am trying to find a very delicate balance between eating, losing weight, and being happy with myself. It is a very fine line that I struggle with daily. If I wake up in the morning and I can feel my hip bones, well, it’s a good day. If I wake up in the morning and I feel like my face is a little bit rounder than it was before, well, it’s not a good day.

I don’t count my calories as obsessively as I used to. Vegetable calories are worthless to me. I don’t bother counting them. And now I really try to listen to my body, be mindful of what I’m eating, and just enjoy what I’m eating.

Why Share This?

20140414_092711~2Because I know I’m not the only one. I know that people have great intentions when they start to lose weight, but then somewhere along the line your goals and dreams get skewed. Your brain plays intense tricks on you. That little voice inside your head is telling you to keep restricting to lose weight faster, but another voice says, “You’re fucking killing yourself.”

 

I know your pain. I feel you. I hear you. I wish I could help you.

Most importantly: You’re not alone.

12

People Are Amazing AND a New Progress Shot

Let me start off by saying that people constantly amaze me. This entire journey has just been me doin’ me. I am always incredibly humbled and grateful when people tell me that I’m an inspiration or I got them started on their fitness expedition. I sincerely can’t even believe it.

Yesterday at work a woman came in to cancel her membership. She was set and ready to sign the cancelation papers. A manager came over and tried to persuade her to stay. My trainer, Matt, came into the office and tried to persuade her to stay. A manager called me in and introduced me as, “This is Erin! She lost almost 90 pounds here!”

The member was completely floored. Floored. She was like, “You lost that much weight? I can’t believe it! You look great!” I told her that my highest weight was 288 pounds. She immediately said, “I’m 280 pounds now!” I told her that my story was featured in a magazine and I made sure I got one for her.

The member then had a fitness assessment with a trainer and bought personal training. She said that my progress picture was going to be on her fridge because I am her inspiration.

I have no words. Amazing. If you’re reading this: Hi, Lynn!

I took a progress shot at work yesterday, so here it is:

Progress 11.2

0

But Why Are We Doing FOUR Reps?

Sometimes you don’t want to screw around with something great. Unfortunately, fitness isn’t like that. You have to constantly push yourself in order to keep losin’ weight and gaining muscle. With Matt leaving the gym in the upcoming weeks, we have a new trainer taking his place. The trainer, Will, has been shadowing Matt for a little while, so I think he kind of gets what I want to accomplish and what I can do and what I can’t do. The best thing about will? He pushes me. The worst thing about Will? He pushes me.

I'm gonna wear this hat at the gym so I stop swearing profusely.

I’m gonna wear this hat at the gym so I stop swearing profusely.

We normally do three reps of each circuit, but NO! Will made us do FOUR reps of each circuit. I wept.

My pre-workout is awesome, though! Just started taking Optimum Nutrition: Premium Pre. Good stuff. I think I like it better than ON’s Amino Energy. Yeah, you spend a little bit more money, but it will probably last me a little bit longer than Amino Energy. I honestly don’t feel tired at all while working out. Well, OK, maybe a little.

Here’s what we did today:

Circuit 1: 

  • Take a step that has four risers underneath.
  • Step-up with a hop. 30 seconds each leg.
  • Box jump onto the step and land in a squat. 30 seconds.

Repeat circuit 4 times.

Circuit 2: 

  • Do little jumps until Will claps his hands. Jump OVER the step. 10 jumps.

Repeat 4 times.

Circuit 3: 

  • Get into a plank position on the floor. Both hands start on the floor and then one hand comes up on the riser. The other hand comes up on the riser. Then one hand comes down on the floor and then the other hand comes down on the floor. 30 seconds.

Repeat 3 times.

Circuit 4: 

  • Mountain climbers on the gliders. 30 seconds.
  • Crunches. 30 seconds.
  • Plank. 30 seconds.

Repeat 4 times.

Circuit 5: 

  • Run up and down the stairs. 30 seconds.
  • Run up and down the stairs again. 30 seconds.
  • Skip a step up the stairs. 30 seconds.
  • Skip a step up the stairs again. 30 seconds.

End of circuit.

I also hopped on the elliptical for 15 minutes before this workout. I burned a whole 600 calories! Wahoo!

Check me out on Fitocracy and see what I’m eating on MyFitnessPal (it’s still Greek yogurt, but today I’m eating turkey, barley, lentil soup!)

0

Why Bother Having Legs?

No, but seriously? Because all I ever do is slaughter them at the gym thus making them completely useless for the next few days. Sigh.

Yesterday, Paula and I had a killer leg day workout with Little Matt. Total slaughter-fest. My legs feel totally tired and worthless right now. Lotsa front barbell squats. Leg presses. 75 squats. Ugh.

Me walking at the gym today.

Me walking at the gym today.

Today was my usual cardio excursion filled with crying muscles and exploding limbs.

Here’s what we did:

Circuit 1:

  • Tie a resistance band to something and wrap that sucker around your waist. Take a step-up step and place it in front of you:
  • Step-ups with a jump. 10 on each foot.
  • Lateral side jumps. 10 on each side.
  • Jump on top of the step and down. 20 jumps.
  • Take that resistance band off and plop to the ground:
  • Walk out on your hands into a plank position. Walk your hands back in. Jump. 10 of these.
  • High knee jumps. 10 jumps.

Repeat circuit 3 times.

Circuit 2:

  • Grab two 25lb kettlebells. Do some walking lunges all the way across the gym. I’d assume we did like 35 lunges or so.
  • Do a classy duck walk across the gym. A wide, low squat and walk.
  • Then we did some fancy agility stuff with three dots on the ground:
  • Shuffle to one dot, sprint to the first dot, then sprint to the end of the gym. 3 reps.
  • Sprint to one dot, back peddle to first dot, sprint to another dot, back peddle again, then sprint to the end of the gym. 3 reps.
  • High knees to end dot and then sprint to end of the gym. 4 reps.

So, you know, 3 sets of the kettlebell/duck walk bit and then switch off with the different agility things.

Circuit 3: 

  • Mountain climbers on the gliders. 45 seconds.
  • Supermans on the gliders. 8 reps. Or you really just try to do one.
  • Windshield wipers with your legs. 20 reps.

Repeat circuit 3 times.

Then I hopped on the elliptical for a half an hour and then I stretched for another few minutes and then I yapped with someone. So, you know, I burned 890 calories.

As per usual, check me out on Fitocracy and see what I’m eating on MyFitnessPal. It’s still Greek yogurt.

2

Matt Shows Us No Mercy

The best thing about having a trainer is that they push you to be your best. They always want that final rep out of you. When you think you can’t do it, they know you can. The worst thing about having a trainer is that they make you want to cry a thousand tears because you honestly think your body can’t do what they are forcing you to do.

Matt and I gettin' an arm workout.

Matt and I gettin’ an arm workout.

Matt’s kinda like that.

Yesterday he was making us do pull ups on the TRX. Pull. Ups. Matt had to help us pull ourselves up, so I’d like to think that he had a nice arm workout, too.

Today was just filled with sore arms, sore legs, and fast feet.

Here’s what we did:

Circuit 1: 

  • Burpees. 12 of ‘em
  • Put one foot in the TRX. Squat down and touch the ground. Come back into a standing position. 15 reps on each side.
  • Put one foot in the TRX. Squat and jump. 15 jumps on each side.

Repeat circuit 3 times.

Circuit 2: 

  • Grab an 18lb kettlebell. Lunge and then drive the knee into the air. As the knee goes up, the arm holding the kettlebell goes up. 12 reps on each side.
  • Battle rope speed skate slams. We waited til the other person was done with the kettlebell.
  • Jumping tricep dips. 30 seconds.
  • Spider lunges. 20.

Fall down on the floor and weep. And then do it another 2 times.

Circuit 3: 

  • Ladder drills:
  • Lateral one foot in and out. Like jumpin’. Bouncin’. Get to the end and sprint. Repeat 4 times.
  • Lateral two feet in and out. Hoppin’. Get to the end and sprint. Repeat 4 times.
  • Lateral one foot in and out. Real quick. Like you’re a football player. Get to the end and sprint. Repeat 4 times.
  • Get into a plank position and cross your hands over one another. Get to the end and sprint. Repeat 4 times.

Crawl into the fetal position and question why you pay for this torture.

I also hopped on the elliptical before I worked out. In total, I burned 745 calories!

As always, add me on Fitocracy and see what I’m eating on MyFitnessPal.

5

The #sprintto100 has slowed to a #strollto100

I don’t really have an issue with me taking my sweet time to get to 100 pounds down. I am not going to not live my life because I have some sort of deadline to meet. The thing about weight loss is that there is some sort of an ebb and flow. You have your good days and your bad days. You get right back on the horse.

These past few weeks have been draining. Something is clearly in the water, but my social life has been booming. That does not mean that I do not work out and I just go out to eat. Quite on the contrary, actually. I am still doing my same routines and making sure to watch what I eat prior to my outing.

Here’s what we did today:

Circuit 1:

  • TRX squat jumps. 15 reps.
  • TRX crossing balance lunge. Put one foot in the TRX and then squat and jump with the other foot. 12 reps on each side.
  • 18lb kettlebell squat jumps. Sit down on the bench and then pop right back in the air. 30 seconds.
  • 18lb kettlebell two-arm front swing. 30 seconds.

Roll around on the floor. Repeat 3 times.

Circuit 2: 

  • Mountain climbers on the gliders. 30 seconds.
  • Pikes on the gliders. 8 reps. (I definitely need to work on this one!)
  • Agility ladder drills:
  • Squat on the outside of the ladder and then jump inside. Continue down the ladder. Sprint to the desk and back. 3 reps.
  • Lateral jumps and squats. Down the ladder. Sprint to the desk and back. 3 reps.
  • Hop scotch. Down the ladder. Sprint to the desk and back. 3 reps.

Of course do mountain climbers and pikes between each different ladder exercise!

Circuit 3: 

  • Hop on the elliptical (it was really the Arc Trainer, if you wanted to get technical). Go as fast as you bloody can for 1 minute.
  • Drop on the floor and lift your opposite leg to arm. 12 reps on each side.

Repeat circuit FIVE fucking times.

I burned 580 calories during this workout!

Check me out on Fitocracy and see what I’m eating on MyFitnessPal (it’s probably greek yogurt).

3

I Promise I’ve Been Working Out!

No, honest! I really have been working out!

Life has been really hectic, to say the very least. With the holidays, a pipe bursting in my house, and a whirlwind of other things, I just haven’t been able to keep track of my exercises. I also have been taking spin classes instead of my usual routine. Note to self: Spin is beyond awesome.

I can’t even remember what we did today, but here are some quick updates in the fitness realm of my life:

  1. Today I hit a new PR! 100lb front barbell squat! 6 reps! We did 95lb for 8 reps for 3 sets, but tacked on the extra 5lb for the last set. Like a boss.
  2. As of Friday, January 10, 2014, I am down a total of 85lb. That is insane to me.
  3. My article in the local magazine has been published and it is circulating around town and is proudly being displayed at the front desk of my gym.
  4. I also received word that my face is going to be on billboards around New Jersey. Mainly down in southern Jersey, but still! Really awesome.
  5. My mug is also on the back of another newsletter that has been sent out. I actually went through my mail yesterday to see my face on the back of the newsletter. You don’t see that happening everyday, right?

I’m really happy with where I am right now and although I haven’t been updating as much as I should this year, I promise that I will get back into it! Honest!

Here's a picture of me with the newsletter that I got in the mail!

Here’s a picture of me with the newsletter that I got in the mail!

And I don’t think I’ve posted this picture, but basically here is a shot of me with my big ol’ fat pants! I bought these pants in December 2012 and here I am a year later. Insane, right?

Fat pants swag.

Fat pants swag.

Yesterday a woman at the gym came up to the front desk, saw my article, and said to me, “I had no idea anyone could lose 85 pounds in one year!” And I proudly responded, “I didn’t think so either until I just did it.”

Keep fightin’ the good fight, friends!

P.S. While I was at the gym today, someone came in holding my advertisement and said, “I just got this in the mail and I wanted to check this place out.” WHAT IS MY LIFE RIGHT NOW, THOUGH?

0

Don’t Be Scared! The Gym Loves You!

Whenever I post a progress picture, I usually get a handful of people that message me and ask what I’m eating, what kind of exercises I am doing and what supplements I take. Aside from all that, the most popular question that I am asked is: How did you get started?

It’s the New Year and that means everyone’s resolution is to lose weight, go to the gym, and eat healthier foods. According to WebMD, by the end of January, 64% of these weight loss resolutioners are still hangin’ in. Six months later, only 44% are still in it to win it. That’s a huge drop.

I’m gonna break it down for you as to how I started my weight loss extravaganza.

1. Start simple

When someone asks me how I started, I always say that it was never at the gym. Trust me, it wasn’t. I had toyed around with the idea of losing weight in December of 2012. A gym membership was out of the question. Too expensive and I was out of a job. I looked around for other alternatives. What is free and still can make you lose a ton of weight? Walking and running. I started a program called Couch to 5K and would run outside in the frigid cold. It was hard, but it got easier every time I ran.

2. Join a gym

I know there are people out there who don’t want to go to the gym for reasons beyond me. They are scared of people judging them, they are scared that they don’t know how to use the machines, and they are definitely afraid of the free weights section. The truth of the matter is that the sooner you bite the bullet, the sooner you can lose weight and see results. No one is staring at you and if they are that is their issue. As far as I’m concerned, you are there to make a change for yourself and how can anyone in their right mind judge you or fault you for that?

3. Cardio, cardio, cardio

I, too, was clueless when I joined my gym. I was scared of the free weights section. The only thing I really knew how to do was cardio machines like the elliptical, recumbent bike, and treadmill. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I spent the first 3 months of my gym membership just bustin’ out cardio for the majority of my days. I’d start out and do 30-60 minute of the elliptical and then hop on some weight machines.

4. But don’t you dare forget those weights 

I will fight tooth and nail to make people understand that lifting weights is essential. The more muscle mass you have, the higher your metabolic rate is. The higher your metabolic rate is, the more calories you are burning throughout the day. If you do a weight lifting day, you will continue to burn calories at a more rapid rate than you would if you just hopped on the elliptical for an hour. Start light with your weights, but make sure you increase those reps then. Dumbbells are your friend. Kettlebells are even more of your friend. Go to the free weights section when it’s pretty quiet and just pick shit up and put it down. Ask a trainer if they can show you the proper form on how to do those exercises. Don’t be scared

5. Small group training

I’ll be honest, I got sick of the cardio/light weight lifting routine. It gets repetitive and you want to abandon ship. My mom saw that my gym offered small group training and we jumped right on board. SGT is basically when trainers will hold a class a few times a week and people who are in the SGT program can sign up to join the class. Up to 8 people (depending on the class) can join, but if no one shows up then it is just you and the trainer. Personal training session at a fraction of the cost. Steal.

6. MyFitnessPal

I’ll probably get shot for even recommending the site, but I cannot deny how effortless it is to lose weight through them. I only started counting my calories in April of 2013. I lost about 25-30 pounds without counting my calories, but boy does the weight just drop off when you are mindful of your food. MFP makes it easy. They tell you how many calories you can eat a day to lose X amount of pounds a week. Log every thing that goes into your mouth. Stay under your calorie goal. Lose weight. Easy as pie!

7. Finally, not taking yourself so seriously

I’ll admit that I am intense. I am insanely intense when it comes to my workouts and I’m even more intense when it comes to the food I eat. But I always remember that this is my life. My life includes going out with my friends, it includes going out to eat, it includes drinking endless shots of whiskey, and it definitely includes some cookies and cream ice cream. To give up on those things would be to give up on a part of your life. We all fall off the horse for a day or a week or a month, but we have to get right back on and not beat ourselves up.

And that’s the story of how I got my buns into the gym. Now back to your scheduled program.

And this was taken of me yesterday!

2

Paula and I are badass bitches who don’t need no trainer.

Imagine me snapping my fingers wildly right now. The truth of the matter is that Paula is my workout soulmate. I guarantee that I wouldn’t have been this dedicated if it weren’t for her. She is a great inspiration and a huge motivator for me. She has been with me since I started small group training back in April or May.

We collapsed on the floor after plankin'!

We collapsed on the floor after plankin’!

With our main/favorite/awesome trainer leaving within the next few weeks, we have to figure out a way to survive. So, what did I do? I came up with a workout that we did this morning!

Paula is currently in a boot for a torn muscle in her foot, so this routine was strictly just lifting with very minimal cardio. She gets the boot off in a few days, though! So, we’ll be back to running stairs together in no time!

Here’s what we did today:

Circuit 1: 

  • 65lb hangclean. 8/8/6 reps.
  • 14kg kettlebell swing. 15 reps.
  • 14kgb kettlebell goblet squats. 15 reps.

Repeat circuit 3 times.

Circuit 2: 

  • Resistance band squat and row. 15 reps.
  • 12.5lb dumbbell bench press.  15 reps.
  • Incline push up on Smith Machine or bench. 15 reps.

Repeat circuit 3 times.

Circuit 3: 

  • Resistance band deadlifts. 65lb. 10 reps.
  • 12lb medicine ball twists on the floor. 20 reps.
  • 17.5lb dumbbell push press. 15 reps.

Repeat circuit 3 times.

Circuit 4: 

  • Hop on the elliptical and do HIIT of going really super fast for 1 minute.
  • Plank for 30 seconds

Repeat 3 times.

Then I hopped on the elliptical for 35 minutes and then walked on the treadmill at a bitchin’ incline for another 15 or 20 minutes.

I burned 1,050 calories during this workout!

Feel free to check me out on Fitocracy and see what I’m eating on MyFitnessPal.

1

Christmas is OVER! Back to the grind!

Happy Christmas to my friends who celebrate! I hope Santa brought you everything you could have ever dreamed and you spent a lot of valuable time with your family and friends! And, of course, I hope you ate the entire world! Bellies are stuffed to the brim!

My favorite kind of Santa

My favorite kind of Santa

But even though we indulged a whole lot during Christmas, it is time for us to get back on the horse. I’m a firm believer that the way to a healthy life is not linear. It has it’s ups and downs. You want to live your life. You want to enjoy foods, parties, friends. That includes going ahead and having a rich, decadent meal or drinking some of those calories away. The real trick is to not beat yourself up over it and to just hop right back to the grind. Back to the gym, back to watching what you eat, back to being you.

I struggle with that everyday, to be honest. But I try to put things into perspective and I don’t feel as bad.

So, again, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! :)

Here’s what we did today:

Circuit 1: 

  • Battle rope slams with a burpee. 15 reps.
  • 12lb medicine ball jack jumps. Does this make any sense? Basically you chuck the ball from over head and do a jack knife jump. I don’t even know if that is really a thing, to be honest. I just made it up then! Continue until someone finishes with the battle ropes.
  • Put one foot in the TRX, hop out, squat and then do a knee drive. 12 reps on each foot.

Repeat circuit 3 times.

Circuit 2: 

  • Very tight resistance band above knee.
  • Ladder drills! Hop your feet from the outside to the inside. 4 times there and back.
  • Get into a very wide squat. Walk forward about 10 steps and then walk backwards 10 steps.
  • Back to the ladder drills. Do the icky shuffle. 4 times there and back. Also go backwards like a boss.
  • Again, get into a very wide squat. Instead of walking forward, you should be talking giant steps laterally. 10 steps and back.
  • Last drills. Parallel with the ladder, put one foot in and one foot out. 4 times there and back.
  • Very wide squat jumps! Probably about 10 to 15 jumps.

End of circuit.

Circuit 3:

  • “So, let’s go workout on the pool deck. Oh, ok.”
  • Grab a 10lb medicine ball. Lunge and twist the ball. Lunge to the wall.
  • Run up two flights of stairs.
  • Repeat the lunges again.
  • Run up two flights of stairs.
  • Take the medicine ball and do lateral lunges and have the ball touch your feet. Go to the wall.
  • Run up two flights of stairs.
  • Repeat lateral lunges.
  • Run up two flights of stairs.
  • Take the medicine ball and do backwards lunges while raising the ball over your head. Go to the wall.
  • Run up two flights of stairs.
  • Repeat backwards lunges.
  • Run up two flights of stairs.

Circuit 4: 

  • Hop up the stairs using both feet. 6 reps.
  • I actually went up the entire flight without stopping once! Wahoo!

Then I went on the elliptical, did some more ladder drills, ran around a bit.

I burned 1,131 calories during this workout.

Be sure to check me out on Fitocracy and see what I’m eating on MyFitnessPal.