Transformation Tuesday I Heather Stephens


I’ve struggled with weight all my life. The common combination of inactivity and poor eating habits resulted in a very unhappy woman with a body fat of about 35%. All day, every day, I was consumed with thoughts of how unhappy I was with my weight. I had tried nearly every well-known diet including Weight Watchers and HCG, but they only helped me temporarily. I was overwhelmed with how far I had to go to get where I wanted to be and the idea of losing as much weight as I needed to was confusing and daunting.

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In April 2012, I went to India for 3 weeks on a business trip. During the trip, a picture taken with some of the amazing people I met there was posted to Facebook.

I knew I had gained weight but seeing this picture was the wakeup call I needed to stop wishing, hoping, planning, and to get into gear, take the initiative to lose weight and get fit. It was time to set aside my procrastination and to do it. A couple weeks after I got home, I discovered the app MyFitnessPal. This app and the supportive network of friends that I developed helped me track my calorie intake and hold myself accountable. Keeping a strict eye on calories in and calories out was one of the first steps in my transformation.

In the beginning, I started with the 1200 calories MyFitnessPal allotted and focused my attention on cardio. This worked and I dropped weight fast. About a month in, I found the website This site and the two wonderful ladies that run it provided the tools and knowledge I needed to not only lose weight, but to lose fat, to transform my body and my life. I learned the importance of fueling the body, changing my viewpoint of food being the enemy and the unmistakable benefits of weight lifting. I was happy with the loss I had seen so far, but the more I educated myself in healthy lifestyles versus diets, it became more important to me to make a permanent change in my life and to make damn sure I’d never put myself in the position to lose so much weight again. I was going to do it and I was going to do it right.

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I figured out my Total Daily Energy Expenditure, and subtracted 15%-20% for a reasonable daily calorie deficit. Upping my calorie intake was scary in the beginning but I not only felt better and more energized for my workouts, but I recovered faster. I also started weight lifting after reading the book New Rules of Lifting for Women which came with a 6 month beginners program. I soon discovered just how much I could love working out. As each week passed, I felt my strength grow. After I finished the program in New Rules of Lifting for Women, I dived headlong into Cathe Freidrich’s Shock Training System or STS. I am in my 5th round of this program and my passion and intrigue for lifting weights has only grown.

The healthier combination of fierce determination, amazing and supportive friends, family and online fitness communities, my love for weight lifting and strict attention to what I put into my body resulted in the loss of 66.6 pounds and more than 15% body fat.

Eating clean was hands down the hardest part for me but I knew it was the most important. Quest Bars helped me keep to my calorie and macro goals while satisfying my sweet tooth. They are a staple in my home and my reward for a day of healthy choices.

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Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way that helped me succeed: 

1. The scale is a dirty rotten liar and cannot be the only method of tracking progress. I learned to monitor progress by how clothes feel, my reflection in the mirror, changes in muscle definition, pictures and measurements, and not just by the number on the scale.

2. Setting and sticking to a rigid pound goal didn’t work for me. I originally set my goal to 120 lbs. but to get there, I would either need to fall into the low teens in BF% or sacrifice hard earned lean muscle. Instead, I focused on a goal BF%.

3. I didn’t have to starve to lose fat. A reasonable calorie deficit is not only healthy for long term sustainable weight loss, but I felt fueled for my workouts and just as importantly, my recovery.

4. I just kept going. So many times my goals felt so far away, so difficult to reach. But every healthy choice, every workout was a step closer to where I wanted to be.

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