Every time I look at these pictures I am in awe of how far I have come. The very first picture marks the beginning for me. The day this all took place. The funny thing is that no one remembers me looking this way. Heck, I remember getting dressed that day for a family outting to the amusement park thinking I looked okay. Until the photo was taken. When I first saw it on the playback screen I tried to hide my sadness. As soon as we got home, family left and I was left alone in our living room; photo sitting on the entertainment center. I picked it up and was engulfed with sadness, hoplessness, and a flood depressing emotions. "Is this really what I look like? Is this really me?"
Yes I had just had my son 5 months ago. But how long was I going to use that as an excuse? "5 months ago" is definitely close to half a year, which quickly turns into a year or more. On top of that my birthday is in the Fall and I always like to feel special for that. I knew I wouldn't if I didn't make a change. Not just for my physical appearance but for my internal happiness. I had lost confidence in myself, my self esteem was at an all time low, and I avoided being seen by anyone other than immediate family. I couldn't live that way.
The very next day I got myself together and researched everything about nutrition, diet, exercise, pretty much if it was fitness/weightloss related, I'd read it. By the end of the day I had developed a plan to focus on my eating habits first. I did not have access to a gym, nor did I feel comfortable being in one so that was not a priority for me. My dad had an OG copy of P90x. I had him burn a set for me and that is what I used as exercise from time to time. But like I said, nutrition was my top priority.
I come from a strong Puerto Rican bloodline in which just about every dish is served with tons of flavor a.k.a. lots of fat and salt. I knew getting my diet in order was going to be a challenge because I was raised to eat certain foods. No there is nothing wrong with the way my parents chose to feed me, but there is also nothing wrong with changing it as you get older.
I began my diet by process of elimination. Each week I took something out of my diet that I knew was not going to help me reach my goal from what I have read. Week 1 I cut out sodas, Week 2 I cut out white bread, Week 3 I cut out white pasta, Week 4 I cut out artificial/refined sugar, and so on and so forth. By the end of my elimination process the only things in my diet were vegetables, fruits, lean meats like chicken and turkey, nut milks, yogurts, whole grains, and a healthy fats.
In no time at all I was not only not craving any of those foods, but I was losing weight! The numbers on my scale were dropping! I understand now that numbers on a scale are not the end all be all to weightloss, but when you are first starting out that is kind of all you focus on to track your progress.
I soon began to realize that I somehow transitioned from "diet mode" to lifestyle change. I had created such a routine of my daily habits that I was instinctly making better, healthier choices for myself. When the New Year of 2013 approached I was at a plateau. Eating cleaner and healthier was only 80% of this transition and it was time to tackle the remaining 20%- exercise.
My New Years Resolution was to accomplish a different fit goal every month. Whether it was running a mile, doing an unassisted pull up, or conquering a yoga pose, I made sure to take it one day at a time. Though I was eager to see results, I knew these changes would not happen over night.
Fast forward to 3 years later and I managed not only to reach my goal weight, but I surpassed that and competed in a Figure Competition where I placed 1st in my class and Overall. Competition prep and diet is a whole world of its own that I won't dive into here, but it was a great learning experience for me.
I do, however, want to share with you all the meal plan that I used to drop the 15-20 lbs to reach my goal weight. I changed my meal plans every 4 or 5 weeks and it was something as simple as replacing brown rice with a sweet potatoe or chicken with turkey. This is what worked best for me after tweaking it a bit every week. Keep in mind that every body type is different so listen to your body! If eating fruit in the afternoon makes you bloated and irritable, then replace it with something else. If you don't lose weight one week, then maybe cut back on something or add another portion depending on your level of physical activity. Experiment so that you can better understand your body and reach your goals.
MEAL 1: 1/2 cup of oatmeal (or one packet), 3-4 egg whites
MEAL 2: 10 almonds, 1 cup strawberries
MEAL 3: 4 oz chicken, 1 cup of spinach, 1/2 sweet potato
MEAL 4: Handful of almonds (about 10-12), banana
MEAL 5: 4 oz salmon or chicken, 1 cup broccoli, 1/2 avocado
MEAL 6: [optional]: 1/2 cup of oatmeal, smoothie, protein shake, OR yogurt with fruit
I hope this helps somebody out there who is struggling with their wieght and is looking to make a change for the better. I know taking my diet and fitness seriously has changed my life forever and I can't wait to hear the next story on how it has changed yours. Please share this message with anybody you feel needs inspiration and guidance to push forward in their life and improve their health. Thank you for taking the time to read my story. Until next time, get a GRIP on your life and don't let go!