So a lot of people ask me how I have lost so much weight, what I changed in my life, what I do at the gym, whether or not I’m still eating, and I am here in attempt to help answer those questions! It is one of the best feelings in the world to hear that I am inspiring so many people to change their lives! Whether they want to help themselves by taking on yoga, become a little healthier by eating right, or even trying to lose/gain some weight at the gym, it is an unexplainable feeling to know that I have contributed to some extent to that feeling and motivation. If you are one of those people that I’ve talked to or who has reached out to me, thank you ❤
To start, let me explain “my story” if you don’t already know me. Towards the end of 2016 (the ending of my first semester of junior year), I decided I was going to try and see how much weight I could lose. I have always been an athlete and always kept myself pretty active, but it’s always been hard for me to shed excess weight. I never truly thought I was “fat” and am a firm hater of the word, but did know I was on the chunky side of things. I always had that back roll under my bra straps, my thighs always jiggled and rubbed together when I walked, my stomach was not flat, and I had giant, flabby arms. Nonetheless I still loved myself, but was curious to see what I could achieve. Any results were better than no results, so I didn’t really have a “goal weight” or a “goal body” – I just knew I would know.
When I first made this choice, I weighed 157lbs – pretty much the heaviest I have ever been, not including the extra two pounds I had freshman year from the wonderful Freshman 15 (pictured below). Being an athlete my entire life – baseball, volleyball, tennis, weightlifting, yoga – I had muscle all over. I wasn’t a weak person, I just had been building all my muscle on top of all the fat – which is why it wasn’t ‘obvious’ that I was an athlete or in shape. (Definitely @ stupid pediatrician doctor who told me about a weight loss program when I was 12 bc I was ‘overweight’ for my WHOPPING 4.5 foot tall height even though I had just told the nurse I work out 2 hours a day 5 days a week…look at me now doc 😉 ) So in order for me to actually be able to lose the fat underneath the muscle and get to wherever I wanted to end up, I decided I essentially had to start over. 10 years of hard-earned muscle needed to go away so I could finally reach the fat underneath it. It was time to stop hitting the weights and do what every single sane person hates the most — CARDIO.
I downloaded a running app (pictured below), that has different programs you can sign up for. I chose the basic one – running for beginners. It’s similar to the Couch to 5K app from what I hear, I just used this one because it happened to be one my mom tagged me in on Facebook (thanks mom! 🙂 ). It starts you out slow and gives you timers to go off for when to walk, run, or sprint. By the end of the program, you should be able to run a 5K. I believe the program is 8 weeks (2 months), but I did just cardio for longer. For 2 months I hit only cardio at the gym around 3 times a week, depending on my work and school schedule. Running on the treadmill, roughly 3 miles each day, 3 times a week, brings you to about 10 miles a week (a milestone for us sane people) and then multiply that times 2 months. That’s a whole lot of running! Tip: Watch Netflix or TV/Videos while you run to keep your mind off the fact that you’re running and you’re tired. I watched Dexter the majority of my cardio time which definitely motivates you to run! By now, it’s around February of 2017, and I weigh 150 — 7 pounds down. Now you might be thinking, “7 pounds in 3 months? That’s a long time to only lose that much”. Well that, my friends, is healthy weight loss.
While I was also just doing cardio at the gym, I started to change my eating habits a little. A problem I had before changing was only eating 2-2.5 times a day. I would usually skip breakfast and not each until lunch, and then I wouldn’t eat again until dinner time – partially because I was either at work or in class and didn’t have time to eat or because I wasn’t really that hungry. Then when I would make it home to finally eat, I would eat so much food because I hadn’t eat the majority of the day. Lesson is, they say when you don’t eat, you body starts to store calories because it thinks you’re starving (thanks body!). Therefore, it makes you start to crave high calorie foods (chips, muffins, brownies, etc), all the junk you shouldn’t eat, because it wants to prepare you for famine. This also slows down your metabolism so you could survive, which is the opposite of what you want for weight loss. The biggest eating change I made was eating smaller amounts more times throughout the day instead of eating those huge amounts only two or three times a day. By feeding your body more often, with health-conscious foods, you start to speed up your metabolism, which is why you eventually start to become hungrier every few hours and are able to eat less at one time.
I’m not a huge breakfast person since I can’t eat when I first wake up, so I usually eat a late breakfast/lunch, usually a bagel, around 11:30-noon. Since I wouldn’t have class until mid-morning, this would be good timing for my body of when to eat. I then started to add in a snack 2-3 hours later, which would hold me over until the end of classes when I could eat a meal again. I eat A LOT of Chipotle, so that’s honestly probably how I got a majority of my protein during this time. (Chipotle order pictured below 🙂 ). I googled some healthy recipes and decided to give a few of them a shot (Chicken and Mango Bowls pictured above).
By the time my 21st birthday came around, only two months after finally reaching 7 pounds, I was down a total of 17 — 140lbs!! Needless to say, once I finally started to lose the weight, it started falling off. Whether it was all of the Chipotle, all of the cardio finally paying off, the tons of yoga I was doing, or the foods I was eating, I will never really know; most likely a combination of all of them. It was definitely rough not seeing the results at first, but once I finally got there, it was so worth it. I continued with my routine and kept working cardio at the gym, switching between elliptical, rowing, or HIIT workouts (treadmill for that long started hurting my knee, so I found other alternatives to cardio). I made it down to 133 (24 pounds down), before leaving for my favorite summer camp of all time. Let’s just say, when I left summer camp, I had gained around 10 pounds. Totally worth it though ❤
Once I came back from summer camp and started my senior year of college, I got back into my routine and was back on track to dropping my summer camp pounds. When the New Year came around, I finished the year strong weighing 131.5 — the lightest I could ever remember being!! Something I had heard of and decided to try a few times, was Hello Fresh (use this link, and get $40 off your first delivery!!) which gives many options and plans depending on what you’re looking for — vegetarian too! It’s a little pricey, but totally worth it if you can swing it! Everything comes perfectly portioned, all of it farm fresh and healthy, and most all of the meals can be made in less than 30 minutes! I added some pictures below to give you a glimpse, but I definitely recommend checking it out; you get to pick your meals from a list! Something else I love is BANG energy! It is a very good alternative to your typical energy drinks like Monster, Rockstar, etc that isn’t all too bad for you. There are no sugars, calories, fats, etc, the only thing is the high amount of caffeine. It also has Creatine and BCAA Aminos which help with muscle repair and rejuvenation. Some people drink it as a pre workout drink, but I only drink it after working out.
Once the New Year had come around, I had weighed the lightest I could ever remember and decided that was good enough for me to start getting back into weights!! I would still work on cardio a couple times, but I would incorporate weights as well or I would do a lot more HIIT workouts to sort of combine the two. Fast forward to today, I hit cardio occasionally but mainly work with weights. However, my leg days are my hardest so they also turn into cardio workouts — the best of both worlds!
In addition to all of the things I have mentioned above, it is also important to mention that I get a decent amount of sleep every night. I go to bed pretty early — averaging around 10:30-11pm — and wake up on average around 8-8:30am — getting roughly 8 hours of sleep, more or less, every night (thanks FitBit!). Having a regular and healthy sleeping schedule can also contribute to overall health, energy, and your weight loss! Also, you can have your own opinion all you want about yoga, but I burn at least 100 calories in every yoga class, if not almost/over 200. It might just be worth a shot 😉 See some stats from workouts and yoga below!
At the end of the day, I could spend all of my time telling you everything that has worked for me, which might be helpful, but that also might not work for you. Test and try out different things and see what works for your body. No matter what you do, don’t give up. It might take some time before you see results, but the wait will be worth it! As of today, I am down to 122lbs — a total of 35 pounds down from the end of 2016. When you only stand a tall 5 feet, weight loss and gain is a lot easier to see, so that’s also something to take into consideration while reading this. If you have stuck all the way until the end, I thank you and hope that this has helped bring some insight into how I have gotten to where I am. If you have any questions, comments, or anything of the sort, feel free to leave them down below or reach out to me! (Insta: brittneylee_96) If this has been helpful to you or you believe it could be helpful to someone else, please share it!! Below is a picture of me 2 years ago compared to recently, as well as a couple more recent pictures, and some examples of workouts I have done! Thank you, much love, and good luck to you in your journey ❤