I had been overweight my whole life as a result of unhealthy eating habits and a very sedentary lifestyle. Growing up with a single mom, who unfortunately had limited skill in the kitchen, I survived on cereal and fast food, a trend which continued after I moved out and had to live on my own in college. I reached a point, age 22, where I was around 280 pounds. I eventually stopped looking at scales, so who knows how heavy I actually was. I’d been taking insulin for pre-diabetes and generally feeling terrible all of the time. My only source of exercise was walking to and from class, but would still find myself covered in sweat and out of breath from climbing the stairs. I was a boredom- and stress-driven snacker, with schoolwork leaving me in a constant state of either boredom or stress. A consistent diet of fried foods, cookies, and chips lead to a necessary gallbladder removal surgery, which is exactly when I decided it was time to turn my life around.
I started with taking classes at my university’s gym, which was actually a requirement for graduation that I’d never taken seriously. I had originally planned to find the least physically demanding options, like bowling or archery, just to get through it and receive my diploma. But with this new mindset, I decided to go for something a little more intense to jumpstart new, healthier habits. I enrolled in spinning class, which I ended up enjoying so much that I took another variation every semester until graduation. Having a fitness schedule to follow with twice weekly classes taught me that the secret to workout success: consistency. I would take my class two days a week, then go back two more days per week for the elliptical and lightweight machines.
Once I began seeing some physical changes from my new gym schedule, I starting considering meals. I read as much as I could on nutrition. Between lowering calories and a low-carb diet, the pounds began to fall off. By the time I graduated, I’d dropped 70 lbs. and was no longer pre-diabetic or needing to take any medication.
After graduation I kept experimenting with my workouts, finally getting over my fear of the free weights… and discovered a love for lifting! I’m constantly looking for new ways to tweak and improve my routine. Now sitting at comfortable 130 lbs., I’m even working towards my first bodybuilding competition by the end of the year!
I’ve received a lot of praise from family and friends about the changes I’ve made over the past few years and honestly couldn’t have done it without their continued support. It’s important to have people to turn to when you’re in a funk and remind you how far you’ve come (plus an outlet to share your stress or anxiety). I’ll have my emotional days, where all I want to do is binge on movies and ice cream, which is okay every once in a while. I’ve learned to not call them “cheat meals” but prefer “earned meals,” because I’ve put in the hard work. As long as I keep up my habits in the gym, I’m not setting myself back.
The most important part of this whole transformation for me has been the knowledge I’ve gained about how the food I eat affects my body. It was very difficult to transition from the high cardio, low carb/sugar lifestyle (which helped me lose my first 100lbs) into a heavy lifting, moderate carb routine. One thing that has remained constant throughout this transformation, though: Quest Bars are the best snack or post-workout food to keep my body fueled and help me reach my goals!
My 5 tips for keeping on track:
- Track what you eat. It doesn’t have to be calorie counting if that’s too overwhelming, but it’s easy to overlook the little snacks and keeping a log will help hold you accountable.
- Put on your gym clothes while you’re running errands or cleaning the house before your workout. It will be incredibly difficult to change out of those clothes if you haven’t gotten some sort of physical activity in.
- Make small goals to help you achieve your bigger goal. For example, if you set a large goal like running a half marathon this year set up smaller weekly goals to add an extra mile to your long run each Sunday.
- Find a physical activity you like to do. A lot of people will fall off the exercise wagon because they try to stay fit by running 4 days a week, the whole time just waiting for it to be over. Experiment with different options until you find the one that you gives you consistent enjoyment.
- Take one day to prep your meals for the rest of the week. This will save so much time and energy when you don’t want to cook at the end of a long day or are tempted to go out for an unhealthy lunch.
Team Quest – We are here for you! Share your transformations and triumphs with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or email them to us at [email protected]. Remember that these transformations took hard work, discipline and a plan. Quest products are a delicious component of, and not a substitute for, an exercise regimen and effective diet. The Quest Community is always there for you if you need help, inspiration or motivation!