I am originally from Brazil, but the heat and sun of Florida took my heart away over ten years ago. Being a stay-at-home parent to a teenager, a pre-teen and a toddler can bring in some new challenges when it comes to working out and eating healthy. Our home is a multicultural place, a melting pot of Brazilian and Arabic backgrounds in America, with different languages and foods. And yes, we love food!
As a teen and as a young adult, I was always average size, but in my mind I felt huge. I chased the scale number of my early teen years and believed that I could only be thin if I over dieted and overdid cardio. I tried WW, Overeaters Anonymous, weight loss pills, you name it. It would not work for more than a few weeks, I would give up and regain the lost weight. I battled bulimia and chronic depression (triggered by prescription weight loss pills) in my early 20's and thought I could never achieve the body I wanted. Yo-Yo dieting made me believe that I needed to settle for less to be able to enjoy life. Why bother dieting if it wouldn't work? I didn't think there was another way of achieving the body and confidence I wanted. This mind set would always keep me unhappy and unsatisfied deep inside.
Losing a baby when I was 5 months pregnant in 2011, (my second pregnancy, we went through multiple in-vitro treatments) was the wake-up call that I needed to force myself to change. Trying to make the sadness go away, I started working out. As long as I was tired and sweating, I would not feel the pain of the loss. Soon I realized that I needed way more than 1500 calories and something other than cardio madness to live well.
Through research, I found out that I could eat way more than that to lose the weight and look my best. I didn't need hours in the gym on an empty stomach! Lifting heavier became a part of me. After discovering the EM2WL lifestyle, I got my CPT certification with NASM, became a Cathlete and looked better at almost 40 than in my 20's! I could have my cake and eat it too!
After trying to put on muscle through a bulk (a bold move that taught me that the number on the scale does not matter at all), I found myself pregnant. It took me 18 months of eating and lifting to go back to my previous size. What I learned with EM2WL helped me go through this pregnancy without worrying about what would happen if I ate to support it. It gave me confidence to do what was best for my baby and for me, it taught me that I that I could do it.
No more settling for less than I deserve! Happiness in my own skin is something that I was only able to achieve after realizing that I could enjoy eating and working out without any extremes, in a mentally sane and moderate way, following the EM2WL lifestyle. I conquered binge eating, food was not the enemy anymore.
Now I can truly say that I am happy and confident with the body I have and how I look. I am able to enjoy life, family time and food. The number on the scale does not define me anymore. Lifting weights gave me confidence to face life in a different way. Working out at home is a good time saver for me, after all nothing beats working out in my pj's! My garage became my girl cave, where I can just zone out and enjoy the iron. Most of my ideas and decisions happen when I'm lifting. It helps me connect to my mind, body and soul. Taking care of myself makes me a better person, a better mother and better wife.
One of my goals is to share my passion on being healthy and happy with my children and other people, especially moms who have the same struggles and youngsters who are still so lost in this journey of self discovery and self love. There is a better way other than hating and damaging your body thin.
As this year draws to a close, its a great time to reflect upon the goals that you had set for the previous year. Take a few minutes to reflect and answer some questions. If you don't already, now would be a great time for a fitness challenge. Begin a fitness journal where you can keep a written record of your goals, plan your meals, and log your workouts. This can either be done with an actual notebook, or if you find it more convenient, you can take advantage of a number of smart phone apps for this purpose.
Here are some questions to get you started:
- What did I do well this year?
- What could I improve upon?
- Are there obstacles to reaching my goals that I need to address?
- What could I do to work around these obstacles?
- What habits do I need to develop if I wish to accomplish my goals?
As you reflect upon your past year, there may be some areas where you realize that you came up short. Don't beat yourself up! None of us are perfectly consistent all the time! Leave the past in the past and commit to always moving forward. As you approach your new year, it may be time to set some new goals.
Here at EM2WL, we are committed to helping you make 2014 your very best year yet! Be warned: the media will capitalize upon this time and try to entice you into the latest diet and fitness craze. We know diets are not the answer! Committing to making small, sustainable changes and remaining consistent is the best way to see the lasting results you desire.
Over the year, our team will be putting together a number of monthly challenges to help you stay on track. Because EM2WL is all about the big picture, these challenges will address a number of areas: strength training, cardio, motivation, goal-setting, self-love/body acceptance, and nutrition. They are broken into small, daily tasks that you will find easy to fit into your day. These small challenges will make a big difference in your journey, and help you to make this a lifestyle! We are excited to kick off our January fitness challenge in just a few days and can't wait for you to join us!
Will YOU take the challenge?
Be sure to check in on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as we work through these challenges together!
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Image courtesy of: khuruzero of freedigitalphotos.net
Other than my weight gain after pregnancy, I've never had a major weight problem. Most of the time I was careful to eat very little, and stay active doing some type of cardio. Usually riding a stationary bike or walking.
In May of 2011 at 5'7″ And weighing 141lbs, I wanted to lose about 8lbs. My body wasn't looking like I wanted it to. I thought losing more weight was the answer. Wow, was I wrong. I joined a calorie counting website: ate 1400 calories, did cardio everyday, went to bed hungry and…yes, I quickly met my goal of 133lbs! But whenever I would eat over 1400 calories I gained weight! So, for almost a year I ate 1300-1400 plus LOTS of cardio! And my body still didn't look like I imagined it would. Another crazy thing is, that during that year I fired my hair dresser because my hair was failing out and I thought it was her fault! I now know it was my under eating and poor nutrition that caused it to fall out!
But I was skinny. Yes, skinny…with no booty and thinning hair!
On about March of 2012, I befriended an angel named Lucia! She told me about “Eat More to Weigh Less,” lifting heavy weights, eating TDEE, and macros (protein, fat and carbohydrates) — all these things I had never heard before. (Although…she already had my attention at “eat more to weigh less!”). She sent me an invite to the (then) newly founded EM2WL group on MFP. I upped my calories to 1700 over time, then to 1850. I set my macros to 40% carbs, 30 % protein, and 30% fat. Eating 300-450 calories more a day! I was like WOW!! At first it was hard. I started by having an extra protein shake for a snack, or eating one ounce of nuts. Then, I think around a month or two later, I met another rambling angel — Kiki! She led me to Cathe Friedrich strength training workouts. My first DVD purchased was Muscle Max. I dusted off my son's weight bench, bought some 10lb dumbbells, then 15lbs, then 20lbs, a barbell, and now I have my own weight room! In October 2012 I joined the Catheletes and did STS total body strength training 3 month workout. I did deadlifts, squats and bench presses, oh my!! I was in love with weight lifting!! And now STS is an annual October 3 month session for me. Yes, the scale did go up, but over time the tape measure went down and down! I now can enjoy healthy meals and not feel deprived.
I am lifting weights and building the body I used to dream of having in my 20s and 30s — NOW at the age of 49!
I work out 2-4 days a week, lifting weights or doing HIIT, depending on my schedule. I'm eating more, and still wearing a size four! But more importantly, I gained strength and confidence in myself. Now, I wear my hair short because I want to, and I have a booty! The scale no longer defines me. I didn't have to starve to reach my goal, and I don't have to starve to maintain it. And neither do you!
Thank you EM2WL! I'm so proud to be apart of this family!