what happened when I stopped weighing myself

Sunday, July 9, 2017
It's been 53 days since I stepped on a scale. (I am not counting, I had to look that up)
53 days since I decided that enough was enough.
I am in a healthy weight range- why am I stressing myself out over every single ounce and pound that I may gain or lose daily and weekly?

No. I'm not taking progress photos or measurements either.


It's true- this was foreign to me. Weight and losing weight has been my life for the past three years and if you count all of the times I had tried to lose weight and gave up, you could say it's been most of my life.


That is the number I had hanging in my head since as long as I can remember. "If I can only get to 155. My goal is 155." 155 was my magic number- the number that I was going to finally be happy with. When I got to 155, I wouldn't have to weigh myself all the time and I wouldn't have to stick to a diet plan and exercise as much. I could just live and be normal and happy with myself. 155 is a good weight for my height (5'7). Not to skinny, not overweight. Perfect.


That is my last recorded weight in late May of this year- and it took a LOT of work to get to that and a LOT of work to stay at that. I would feel defeat and frustration when it would move up even the slightest. Like most of you who weigh all the time or are trying to lose weight, or get to your "magic" number.  I am human- and I have shared most all of your same frustrations and feelings of defeat in this before, too.

I have believed the lie that there is one number that will make me happy with myself.

I have believed that lie that one number on the scale even matters.

I have believed the lie that it is possible to weigh frequently and not become obsessed with it.

I have believed the lie that once I get to my goal weight- everything would be so different and this journey would essentially be "done".

I stopped weighing in May because I was exhausted. I was tired of feeling guilty for eating. For not dieting. For not counting macros and calories religiously. I began to feel guilty for switching to whole eggs vs egg whites that I had been eating for two years straight.

I was scared a little, even- that I was allowing myself to have ice cream that was not considered "macro friendly" and scared a little because of how free I felt just eating food.  Surely I cannot just eat like a normal human being and not gain all of my weight back. Yes- this is still a real fear of mine, statistics show that over 90% of people who lose large amounts of weight do eventually gain it back. Surely that means I have to diet forever.

"How do you eat that and not track it?"
"How can you have that without knowing if it will push you over your daily carb limit?"
"How can you just eat and not blow up?"
"Surely I had way more than 1500 calories today, I wonder if I really ate enough to gain a pound?"

First, I unfollowed all of my "fitness idols" on IG. How is feeding my mind photos of women who are able to spend their entire day in the gym with personal trainers and nutrition coaches who tell them everything to eat and when (and some even have meals pre-made custom for their diets), healthy?

I am a wife, I am a mother, I have a wonderful and full life and there is no way I could (or want to) dedicate that much to my body. For what? What eternal value does having 6 pack abs hold? 

There is a difference between focusing on our bodies to gain and maintain health, and focusing and maintaining our bodies for vanity reasons. That was a hard reality for me to come to terms with as a lover of crossfit, which can be life changing and beneficial but is also very sexualized and vanity/self focused.

Now- don't get me wrong. Six packs and cut bodies are not sinful. However, to get to that level of fitness you have to work very hard. It takes a high level of dedication, focus and time all for your body. Working out has to become your idol, and that is where the sin comes in.

So once I rid my mind and feed of unrealistic body images, I ate what I wanted, I didn't track (some days I would start off tracking out of curiosity but not once did I fully and completely track an entire day). I exercised about 4 days a week because it's good for me and it makes me feel really good. At this point, I know when I'm eating too much. I know what a serving is. I know if I'm going overboard. I know what is a wise choice and what is not. That is how I scaled or "tracked" my eating.

Did I gain weight? I don't know. I have not weighed and I don't plan to anytime soon.
I do know that my clothes have not changed in fit. I'm still a 6-8.

I've started listening to my body more, vs the scale. When I began to feel icky about eating whatever I wanted, it was because I was making poor food choices which in turns makes you feel poorly. I noticed, and I started to make better food choices so that I felt better. If I was bloated before bed, I knew that I should up my water intake and cut back on my carbs a little. When I began to feel sluggish or tired, I knew that I needed to get in a good workout. My body told me everything I needed to know. I started eating foods based on how they made me feel, not how many calories they had.

The curiosity of my weight does still linger here and there, but not enough for me to jump on a scale.
Nobody looks at me and thinks about how much I weigh or whether or not I'm up or down 1.5 pounds today vs yesterday. And now, neither do I.

Today I start my 18 week marathon training plan- 18 weeks out from my first 26.2! I will not weigh, but I am going to pay attention to my foods more and even track in order to best fuel myself for the long runs ahead. After the race, intuitive eating will commence, because this is life and life on a constant diet is not. This has truly been life changing- and my next challenge is going to be a "scale-less" challenge. You will weigh in at the start and end, and never anytime in between. Because it saddens me listening to frustrations and defeat and sadness over the scale from my challenge ladies- even when there is all kinds of other progress.

*disclaimer, this is not intended for those who are trying to fight obesity or are very overweight. dieting and tracking, and weighing in, does have it's place and benefits in getting to a healthy weight range. this is for me, and those like me who are in a generally healthy weight range but are still obsessed with the scale and still have feelings of guilt over their diets*

Losing Weight is Hard Work

Sunday, July 2, 2017
It's a big deal when people lose weight. And the more weight and bigger transformation in a person the more praise and recognition for it they get. In part because yes, they may look better, but also because losing weight is hard work. People know that, it's a huge accomplishment because it takes so much dedication, focus and commitment.

There are hundreds and hundreds of weight loss products, systems and plans to help people lose weight- because it is not easy and these products and systems are trying to make it a bit easier for people. We have support groups, there are live-in rehab type programs for weight loss. Doctors. Clinics. Studies. All trying to combat and figure out the same thing. When someone sets out to lose weight, they are committing to discipline, to focus, to self control, to consistency and to hard work for as long as it takes.

Why then, do so many of us expect this journey to be easier? Less frustrating, Faster. We are not happy when the scale doesn't move enough. When our body does what it is suppose to do and fluctuates our weight and water we get mad and often give up. We set a goal of 2-3lbs a week and are dissatisfied when we lose 1lb a week. When we diet for 8 weeks and don't see a huge change. Our clothes become loser and people notice that you are slimmer and YOU are the only one who is upset because you only lost a few ounces this morning vs the 2 you were hoping for.

We are setting out to do one of the hardest things that people ever do- and we expect it to be easier and faster. It's like climbing a mountain and getting upset with weather conditions, alternative routes, run ins with animals, injuries, physical exhaustion and everything else you encounter when climbing a mountain. Mountain climbers mentally prepare themselves for the challenges they will face on their journey and do not quit when it begins to rain and they are set back days.

So can I just lovingly say: stop it. Stop. Expect to work your behind off. Expect to have to give up a lot of foods. Expect to not see all of the changes on the scale that you had hoped every single week. Expect for your weight and water retention to fluctuate. Expect for it to take longer than you planned. This is not a race, you want to accomplish something and you want it to last. Adjust your expectations now and enjoy the journey, because it's not just about weight loss. SO much more of you changes through this than just the scale number!

And most importantly, don't give up.

About Me: My Journey through Weight Loss & Wellness

Tuesday, June 20, 2017
I cannot tell you how many times I tried to make a video for this post today. Between my voice being hoarse and coughing (recovering from the flu), my phone cutting me off because I didn't have enough memory for a 10 minute long video (haha!) and my kids walking in the room talking- I finally decided the video was a no-go and to share my heart on here.

I am a wife to a network engineer (computer nerd!) and a stay at home, homeschooling mom  to 8 children. Nutrition coach, weight lifter, runner, and occasional crossfitter. My husband and I have planted our roots in a tiny Carolina town but have the love of cities deep in our hearts (we love visiting cities!)

My passion and desire is to help women change their lives from the inside out- and it began with my own journey of losing 110 pounds naturally.  After five pregnancies and two adoptions within a seven year span, I found myself 80 pounds heavier and never able to lose enough of that weight before welcoming a new child! I set out to pursue a healthier me after discovering that I had high grade pre cancerous cells that had to be removed after my last pregnancy. This was my wake up call, I was only 25/26 and a slight cell grade below stage 1 cancer. I knew that it wasn't just about the weight that had to change, but my relationship with food and what I was putting into my body had to change if I was going make a lasting difference in my life.

(circa 2009, love that hair flip too, bahaha!)

From there I began reading and researching. Books, articles, blogs, studies all helped me make the decision that I was going to do this by eating real foods and exercising. No shakes, shots, pills, drops, wraps or crash dieting. I began running and doing at-home workouts with hand weights. I ran a few races and joined my local crossfit box. There I learned so much more about my body and proper nutrition to fuel your workouts than I knew existed.  I love to challenge myself and push my limits, so I am always in search of new ways to train and new sports to pursue. After a year of crossfit I dedicated myself more to running and this spring I completed a 31 mile ultra marathon. It is amazing what our bodies can do! There have absolutely been days that I truly want to give in, to sign up for a 2-shake-a-day program or to run to the nearest clinic for phentermine and b12 shots. Looking back on those days and those options, it is so empowering to know that I did this all the right way, the wasting way and changed my entire life.

My journey is long but shows that patience pays off. My health and my weight effected so much of my life that I never realized. I was insecure and self conscious and that spilled over into my marriage, my parenting and my friendships. I am a completely different person than I was just 3 years ago in greater ways than just being leaner. 
250ish- 225ish- 185ish
Healthful pursuits came alive in the very start. The more I learned, the more I wanted to get this information out to everyone. The desire for women to know more about their health and their bodies was embedded in me as I was journeying through it myself. When I did share bits and pieces- emails and messages would flood my inbox from women feeling defeated and confused, unsure of what to do and where to begin to regain their health and bodies back.  So I began to study for my fitness nutrition certificate and began taking on women to coach and help meet their goals. I am not a coach that is going to put you on a diet of eating nothing just to see numbers on the scale drop- but give you the tools, the information and the motivation you need to regain total body health.  I have been there, and some days I am there- I am not free from struggles and poor eating habits but have learned that this is truly a journey and a lifestyle.


Snacking: is it worth it?

Sunday, June 11, 2017
I want to chat a little about something that is a problem area for me personally, and something that I have also seen a little bit of in other's logs and food pictures: snacking!

Let me start by saying that there is nothing wrong with having a snack. There is not even anything wrong with "snacking" as long as you are tracking how much you are having. This is an example of me on a bad day, total calorie allowance of 1675.

Breakfast: 2 eggs, toast, coffee = 315 calories

+ the handful of life cereal I snagged while pouring my kids = 400 calories. 

Snack 1: Protein shake, banana: 260 calories

+ 10 pretzels, again, serving my kids = 325 calories 

Lunch: Tuna, mayo, relish, tomatoes, wheat wrap, string cheese = 350 calories

Snack 2: Apple, 1tbsp of PB =195

+ one tablespoon? Yea right- i know I can't handle myself with PB, add another TBS. = 290

**it's right before dinner time. everyone is coming in from swimming and playing and they all want ice cream. I can't have any because I chose to have 295 calories in a handful of life cereal, a few pretzels and 1tbs of peanut butter. None of which filled me up- it was just habit. For 295 calories I could have enjoyed AN ENTIRE PINT of Halo Top Ice Cream with my kids 0R a skinny cow ice cream OR a cup of regular ice cream.** 

Dinner: Mexican Chicken (and all the toppings) = 300 calories

Daily total: 1,665

This was actually the perfect timing to do this evaluation on myself! It doesn't have to be ice cream, it could have been anything. A change of dinner plans leaving everyone going out for dinner, I would have had much more calories to use out had a I not snacked  them away.

Again, it's not that snacking is bad, if that is how you want to spend your calories that is totally fine! For me, it's a struggle area because it's habit for me and NOT the way I want to spend mine. I would much rather have a pint of ice cream over a few pretzels and some life cereal.  Next time you are tempted to take a handful of goldfish, think first about your day and whether or not those snacking calories will be worth it!

Summer Challenge Group

Friday, June 2, 2017

This year has FLOWN by! We are now just 19 days away from the start of the Summer Challenge Group which beings on the first day of summer, June 21st! Some people have the mindset that there is no point in starting in the middle of summer- their opportunity to lose their extra weight for summer is gone. That's completely untrue! If you put in hard work and determination, there is no reason why you can not be down 8 or more pounds in just the first month, and even more by the time school starts back in mid August. Imagine if you started now, what progress you will have made by the time holiday season begins and you are shopping for family gatherings and Christmas card photos.

With that said, my groups are not eat very little and lose a ton of weight in a few weeks.  There is no fad or quick fix that I support- instead I focus your plan around eating a healthy amount of food based on your body, lifestyle and activity level. Erasing the un healthy mindsets of "less is more" and debunking common diet myths (like: carbs are bad when trying to lose weight). A true lifestyle change that may not yield the extreme results like some of the low calorie and supplement programs out there, instead you will learn how to get to a healthy weight by eating all kinds of foods (no strict food lists!).

This group will run for 10 weeks, June 21st to August 30th. It includes a personalized plan for you to follow, an online group setting for encouragement/tips/discussion, three group challenges to participate in with prizes like my favorite water bottle, workout tanks, rx bars, etc. A weekly discussion topic, accountability for what you eat daily, support and your questions answered.  This group is also special because I am adding a 2nd coach (who is also Crossfit level 1 certified) to help me moderate the online group, encourage and answer questions. You will have access to two sources throughout the day for any of your questions and needs! The cost is $85 for 10 weeks (nothing else is required to be purchased except your regular groceries!). This equals to $8.50 a week.

In my previous 10 week challenge groups participants lost anywhere from 7-20 pounds and I am a firm believer that what you put into it, you will get out of it! I am not a doctor or certified nutritionist/dietician. I am a Mom helping other women meet their goals using what I have studied, learned, and experienced over the past three years losing 110lbs and over 10 previous years living obese with disordered eating habits. Ashley is a Mom who has lived with anorexia then obesity and has lost 61 pounds in the past few years using the same methods we promote to others. She received her level 1 crossfit certification in early Spring 2017.

Vacation & Your Diet

Tuesday, May 9, 2017
Summer is just weeks away and many people are gearing up for summer vacation! Whether you go all out and travel, go to the next town over or do a stay-cation, the purpose is the same: to relax and create memories with your loved ones. So where does your diet fit into this?

What I tell people is that it is truly an individual and personal decision whether or not you should try to stick to your diet on vacation. You really have to consider and weigh out the pros and cons and choose which one you want to do.

Will you be able to relax, have fun and enjoy this short amount of time that you have to the fullest if you have to say no to the ice cream shops on the beach and order a salad when everyone is going out for burgers? I can't answer that for you, and there is no right or wrong choice. Some people would feel deprived if they had to sit and watch their family enjoy big ice cream cones, and others would be perfectly ok with it.

Is it going to be hard to track your foods or have access to healthy options? Will you be at a place that is full of restaurants and fast food (think theme parks) where healthy options are scarce or will you be somewhere that you will have more freedom and be able to even cook some meals yourself (think renting a beach house or cabin).

Is it going to be stressful tracking your food while exploring a city or will the lack of control and not tracking create anxiety for you?

Do you have a competition or a bet coming up that you have to be a certain body weight or body fat percent by? Or is your goal self set and flexible?

These are all things to ask yourself if you are having a hard time choosing what to do on vacation. My personal thought is:
Vacation is a really special time and for most families, it is not often that you take them. If you don't have a bikini competition or challenge deadline coming up, then I always vote to take the time off of your diet and enjoy these days food-worry free. Memories and fun for me, are worth more than losing my 1-2 pounds that week.

Keep in mind when you go that you have freedom, but don't go crazy and have 5 cheeseburgers and 3 dole whips a day. Also that you will typically see a rise in the scale when you return but if you get back on your plan right away, drink your water and be strict, any extra you gained can typically come off in a week because unless you do go absolutely crazy- it will be water retention.

Enjoy your vacations! Enjoy your family and friends and food! We want weight loss and we want our bodies to change but lets remember what really matters in the big picture.

Starvation Mode & Dieting

Wednesday, May 3, 2017
I am sure we've all heard the theory of starvation mode, no? If not, basically it is when people think/assume that if they don't eat enough their body will go into "starvation mode" and you won't lose weight because your body thinks it's starving and needs to hold on to everything.

What does this actually even mean? Is it real?

Yes and No. It is named wrong, because what happens during "starvation" mode is not your body starving. If you truly do not eat enough your body will lose and you will starve to death, so that portion is incorrect.

What actually happens is that while dieting (eating in a significant caloric deficit) everything slows down, including your NEAT (non exercise activity thermogenesis: the amount of energy you use living and doing your day to day routine). Your body slows everything down in order to maintain homeostasis.  Typically, the stress of dieting and hunger will increase the cortisol levels in your body which will cause muscle loss and water retention...which will mask fat loss.

Sometimes there are people who are not losing weight despite their strict food intake on very low calories and exercise.  The reason for this is that the very low calorie intake is actually their current maintenance level (the amount you need to eat to maintain your weight) because of the decrease of their NEAT and the INCREASE of their cortisol levels. When you increase your calories you are less stressed (eating in a caloric deficit is a stressor on your body) and you have more energy. You will be able to do more and have more energy which will raise your NEAT and restore some of your cortisol levels and you will lose again. This is why some people can lose weight "eating more" than they previously were.

Here is an example of this situation I found from a nutrition coach group I am in:

Molly is eating 1400 cals a day. She is tired and not as active, her NEAT is decreased which means her total daily energy expenditure is low. She is no longer losing weight at this. 

Her coach bumped her up to eating 1800 cals a day. She has more energy and is less stressed and is moving more during the day. Her NEAT and TDEE has risen and she is losing again. 

I hope this helps not only explain "starving" (if you don't enough you will starve to death, period) and what happens when you diet and stall in general. I really love reading new information like this!

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