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I’ve been receiving many emails lately with people asking how I’ve lost weight recently. So instead of writing back the same story multiple times, I decided to put it here and share my little journey with everyone. So let’s go back to the beginning. Because well, it didn’t happen recently, it’s taken a bit of time.
I used to compete in CrossFit. Around 2010, I decided I wanted to make it to CrossFit Regionals so that’s what I set out to do. I did 2-3 workouts per day, restricted my diet, rarely drank, and pretty much devoted my life to working out. When I began CrossFit (the kind that didn’t involve competing) I lost about 25-30 pounds because I changed my diet to zone/paleo and began lifting weights regularly. But when I decided to compete, weight slowly crept back on, obviously mostly muscle because of what I was doing. At 5’7”, I went from about 125 pounds to 160 pounds in a little over one year, but to me it wasn’t attractive. I wasn’t ripped and shredded like other CrossFit athletes, I just felt puffy and swollen. So I started restricting my diet, eating less, all in hopes of losing some of the weight while still keeping the muscle. It didn’t work that way.
I continued to gain weight, my face broke out in terrible cystic acne, I was depressed and I hated what I saw in the mirror. So after competing in 2011 and 2012 CrossFit Regionals, I decided I couldn’t stand it anymore. I didn’t want to be unhappy and insecure anymore. It was ruining my life and ruining my relationships. It was time to make a change, even if it meant never competing in the CrossFit Games like I had hoped to in the past.
So what I did was simple. I said “f*ck it.” I stopped restricting my diet and limiting my calories, I stopped working out multiple times a day, I stopped staring in the mirror and telling myself how ugly I was. I stopped it all and just lived my life. I did 1 workout per day, mostly CrossFit workouts and some HIIT workouts, reducing the weight I would normally use. I took rest days. I ate what I felt like eating (except for gluten because my stomach doesn’t do well with it) and I stopped staring in the mirror. Truly. I decided that I wasn’t going to let a mirror decide my mood.
At the end of the day, I’ve lost weight probably because of multiple things: I’m weaker because I lift less which has made me smaller, I eat more than I used to so I’m actually feeding my body what it needs, I try not to eat too much sugar and don’t drink much alcohol, I sleep at least 7-9 hours per night, and I don’t stress out about the small stuff. Like cellulite. That sh*t is stupid anyways. I’m taking better care of myself and my body has changed because of it.
What you should understand is this weight loss and body changing did not come overnight. It’s taken me over 3 years to lose over 30 pounds. Some of that is muscle, some of that is fat. But what’s important about this is that it’s taken me over THREE years. Those three years still included 5-6 workouts per week, three years of making good choices with my diet, and three years of being as positive as possible to help aid in that change in lifestyle. No pill, no crazy crash dieting or cleanse, just plain ole’ taking care of myself. That’s it. It’s just proof that nothing comes overnight. Not weight loss, not weight gain. It takes time and persistence and that’s what I will continue to do.
I don’t know if this story helps in any way, but I hope it does for some. I wish I would have had this sort of story to read when I was younger. All I ever knew was body hatred and crash dieting. But what I’ve figured out over time is that hard work is what really pays off in the end. Whether that has to do with you weight, job, relationships. If you work at something, it will pay off in the end.
Feel free to share your experience or journey here or just ask any questions you have in the comments below!
You can also read about my ever-changing experience with fitness and food in these specific posts:
I needed to read this, I've been struggling like crazy lately and have been absolutely hating what I see in the mirror. Thanks girl!
I needed this read, and you timing could not have been more perfect. I've been doing HIIT for 6 years and CrossFit for almost 3 Years. I love CrossFit and lifting, yet as of the past year, I have felt as though I was becoming too "thick" and puffy looking and the weight has been packing on. I'm up almost 11 lbs from this time last year. It is driving me insane and quite frankly it's affecting my happiness. The addition of 4 days of running 2-3 miles (per run), is great but I'm exhausted. I'm at CrossFit 5-6 days a week at 6 a.m. each day, then I am at home caring for both 4 and 5 year old daughters. I am stronger, yet I'm unhappy with my appearance. I log all the food I eat each day, which is all unprocessed, organic food, mostly homemade, and gluten free, as I am a celiac. When you live as "clean" and healthy as possible yet hate your appearance, something has to change. Thank you for reaffirming what I was already thinking. Bring on 2016 and bring back the happiness!! Thank you!!!!
Great post Juli! I've struggled all my life. I hope one day I can have your attitude. I've always been a heavier girl. I've crashed dieted and lost a lot of weight and was happy until the weight came back. I started Crossfit 3yrs ago and never wanted to use a lot of weight because I didn't want to look bulky. I focused on keeping my weight low and focused on high cardio. I found that no matter what I did I still bulked up. So then I restricted my calories and kept working out the same. That just made me hungry and miserable. So, this past year I just quit looking at my weight and focused only on getting stronger and better. I've made more accomplishments in my workouts then ever before. I hope that one day I can love my body but for now I'm going to focus on what I'm doing well, maybe the weight and positive body image will come later in life.
Thanks for just being you Juli! I never dieted, never ate that great, but I was lucky as I usually maintained my weight. I would go between 115-119, 5'5". But I would feel like shit most of the time and last year,when I hit 51, my energy levels were at an all time low and my tummy was looking like I was Prego, and my ass had saddlebags, the weight was shifting. I was/ am doing bootcamp 2x per week and that was it for exercise. That's when I discovered Paleo and you! I changed my eating habits and bam, the energy returned, the tummy went flatter and the saddlebags were disappearing! And FINALLY I see what everyone else has seen in me when I looked in the mirror, and I looked good! I will wear leggings. Out in public without a long shirt, coat or tunic now! Eating mostly Paleo had made a big difference for me physically and mentally. This holiday season I have eaten what I want, and my body is telling me that I need to get back to my Paleo/ organic, gluten free way, starting to feel like crap again and energy level is going down. It is truly amazing what eating right can do. I am so grateful that thru My google search I discovered PaleOMG and Juli! Thank you!
Juli- I remember your journey. I know that you, like me, have always had struggles with image and you amaze me continuously as you have grown into a confident person who still has a kick ass personality and who's not afraid to call it as it is or sweat your ass off! I'm so thrilled about your journey and how happy you look! I think that you have inspired so many girls but most of all you're real and you aren't afraid to push us to improve. It takes work but that's what makes it so worth it in the end! Thanks for all your inspiration!
Love your face!
I have become such a fan of your blog and recipes! I began my 'clean eating' lifestyle about two years ago and have lost 103 pounds! You are so right, it takes HARD work, eating right, exercising (not to excess!), sleeping well, and drinking lots of water. There is no great feeling than being a positive, healthy role model for my family and friends! Cheers to you and 2016!
Thank you for posting .
I am 5'7. I put on muscle easily, lose weight and gain weight easily . I love your blog because although no body is the exact same , I have a similar build to yours and its refreshing to see someone similar to your body build and know that its all possible . I have been close to my goal , slipped away and struggle with emotional eating . I do cross fit and a few other types of workouts per week. I have no problem gaining muscle but I have a harder time getting lean. Its probably what I am eating and I'm still working on that. Anywho I just wanted to say thank you for posting this you have definitely motivated and encouraged me to keep trying .
Thank you... back in 2013 I was in a car accident. I've had a lot back issues and so forth from it. In late 2014 I came across your website. I had more issues, then returned again to your website. I just bought two of your cookbooks and I LOVE THEM! I love reading your blogs. They make me laugh and I really enjoy your recipes. I made your pecan candies - to die for! You inspire me to be a better me and I know that I want to be a better me. If anything, baby steps, still. I am not able to do crossfit or anything like that at this time due to my injuries. I am still inspired to eat better, that it all takes time, even healing... hoping I will be able to write one day that I've succeeded. Your recipes, your blog, your cookbooks are a step in the right direction to help me to succeed. Thank you for that. Keep writing. Keep cooking! Keep inspiring.
Thanks for sharing your story. You've done such an incredible job taking things under control and putting in hard work to look as great as you do! Sure, it's not all about appearance, but the confidence you get when you see yourself in the mirror and the love you have for yourself because of it has a great impact on the rest of your life!
I also love how honest you are about how it's taken you three years! I recently read a book called The Compound Effect by Darren Harden and it's about creating small habits that will ultimately compound and make a huge difference, but the main message is that it takes time, hard work and consistency to get results!
Thanks for being such an inspiration!!
I just thought you should know that I have come back to this post more times than I can count since it went up 8 months ago. I am currently struggling with body image and letting go of control, and this post gives me peace of mind. I know it's tough to put into words, but the more you could share on this topic (specific tips and tricks), it would be greatly appreciated. I would welcome any insight you have as I try to "say f*ck it" like you did.
<3 <3 <3
i got to the point that watching everything i ate and obsessing over every ounce of food wasn't getting me anywhere. i wasn't seeing a difference and i was unhappy and i finally didn't want to feel that way anymore. so i stopped obsessing and started listening to my body more. if i wanted fries when i went a restaurant, i would have some. if i wanted ice cream, i would have some. i still didn't overeat much, but i ate more of what my body was craving at times and it thanked me for that. i try not to go overboard and try to remember that i don't need gluten free bread or rice every single day, but if my body is asking for it, i listen. i'm not sure if that helps or makes sense, but i hope it does!! let me know if you have any other questions!