Let’s jump in to her story:
✋ At what moment did you realize you HAD to lose weight?
Towards the end of May 2020, my family went to the Black Hills for an outdoor and hiking vacation. I absolutely love the outdoors, and hiking is my favorite thing. One day on this trip, my family did an extremely hard 15-mile hike. I finished it but I was dying. It was on that hike that I realized I needed to change myself. I am 21 years old, I have my whole life ahead of me, I didn’t want to be unable to do the things I loved because I was out of shape.
1️⃣ What was the first step you took towards transforming your body?
As soon as I got home from my family vacation, I signed up for a kickboxing gym I had been wanting to try, downloaded LoseIt!, and bought a food scale. I completely changed my entire lifestyle overnight.
I started working out every single day, sometimes twice a day, and eating 1200 calories. Staying dedicated to working out was not the hard part (because I fell in love with kickboxing), the hard part was sticking with 1200 calories a day. The first few weeks were really hard, I was always hungry and all I thought about was food. I stuck it out, and shortly thereafter I started noticing subtle changes.
Those little changes, like how my clothes fit, the kickboxing works were getting easier, etc., turned this journey from a diet to a lifestyle.
🍳 What kind of adjustments did you make to your diet?
Getting used to this new diet was very hard at first… I eventually found healthier substitutes for my favorite foods and that was a game changer. I could still enjoy my favorite foods, but they were healthier versions of them, and therefore, I could eat more for less calories. Lesser Evil Popcorn, Smart Sweets, and sugar-free Jello where some of my go-to snacks.
When I first starting tracking my calories, I ate very boring plain foods. I eventually started experimenting with recipes and different foods to spice up my diet and make food exciting. I now eat buffalo chicken wraps constantly—but they’re only about 190 calories each. It was about still enjoying what I ate. I think that was important to turn this from a diet into a lifestyle.
💪 Can you talk a little bit about what you found to work the best in terms of physical exercise? What worked best for you and why?
I only did kickboxing at 9Round. They were quick, high-intensity 30-min workouts where I burn over 300 calories for each one. I like how they incorporated weights and cardio. The most important thing for me is that the workouts are FUN. Kickboxing is honestly the highlight at my day everyday.
🧾 What was the best advice you received (or read) along the way?
The best advice I received was about my mindset on food. I had a friend who offhand made a comment about how the only purpose of food was to fuel your body. That little comment changed my life and allowed me to turn my life around. Food no longer become a comfort or a crutch, it just became something I have to consume to survive: nothing else.
🥵 What was the hardest part about your journey? How did you overcome it?
The hardest part for me was changing my mindset on food. I managed to change my view of food from a comfort item to viewing food as only fuel to my body. The only purpose of food is to fuel my body, it is not a reward, it is not something to give myself after a bad day, it is just fuel.
💡 Was there an ‘aha’ moment where everything began to click?
My ‘aha’ moment was when I stopped wanting to eat out, when I stopped wanting more food past the 1200 calories, when this turned from a diet to a lifestyle. It went from a struggle to being my normal life and watching what I eat is easy now.
😎 How has your life changed since the day you took your before photo?
I am happier, I am more confident, and I actually like who I am as a person. I also learned who my true friends are. I realized which friends honestly want the best for you and will always support you, but I also lost friends who made fun of me when I wouldn’t eat junk food with them or when I was tracking my calories. I also ended up ending a long term relationship because he could not handle me bettering myself and every night he would order takeout and try to pressure me into eating it. I learned a lot about myself and I learned a lot about support and friendship.
❤ Based on your experience, what advice would you give to our readers who are starting off as the ‘old’ you?
Every little thing you do will bring you closer to your goal. Every workout, every piece of junk food you turn down, literally every single little thing you do to better yourself brings you closer to your end goal.
Thanks for the interview, Paige!