I love hearing success stories from clients and wanted to share with you Julie’s experience with nutrition and lifestyle coaching. I really enjoyed working with Julie and I was really thrilled to read about her journey especially since we worked on so many aspects in her life aside from food. We worked on reducing caffeine intake as well as re-shifting her thoughts on cardio.
I think her story is one a lot of our readers can relate to and I’m so happy that she was open to sharing her story with us. Thank you so much Julie for your time and energy into sharing this, you’re awesome!
Julie, 30 years old, Cambridge, MA
Before Weight: 158.6 lbs
After Weight: 151.3 lbs
Total Weight Loss: 7.3 lbs
Chest (sports bra): -1.5 inches
Chest (underarm): -3 inches
Navel: -2 inches
Waist: -1 inch
Hips: -2 inches
Thigh: -2 inches
Arm: -.5 inch
Total Inches Lost: 11.5 inches
First off, can you tell our readers a little about yourself? Your age, what you do, where you live…which do you think are cooler, unicorns or fairies, you know, that sorta stuff.
Hello readers. I’m a 30 yr old that enjoys long walks on the beach and good books. Jk – I enjoy most fitness related activities, especially pilates, yoga, and running. I live in Cambridge currently.
Why did you want to do want coaching? (Aside from spending time with me of course).
I felt I was getting to a point where things in life were very hectic and getting out of balance. I had a very busy summer, lots of weddings, starting a new job, moving – and taking care of myself and my body as well as I would like to started to fall to the bottom of the list of priorities.
What did you want to accomplish and what did you want to change in your body and your life?
As I’m sure you’re used to hearing working in the fitness & wellness industry, part of me wanted to “lose those last 5 to 10 lbs,” but more importantly, I wanted to get to a point where choosing better foods and food options didn’t feel like I was “trying to eat healthy” and instead was just what I did because it felt good and I wanted to.
And what did you want to change about your body?
Most importantly, I wanted to just feel better – less fatigued, less stressed, etc. I wanted what I perceive as the hard work I put into working out to actually show.
Honestly, do you feel that these have improved for you? If not, tell me anyways anyways, I just won’t print it on the blog, just kidding.
Hahaha! Yes, these things have definitely improved. Choosing my meals and snacks now feels more like second nature and less like an effort of trying. In addition, I have maintained a 5 to 7 lb weight loss and notice more definition in my arms & back and less “puffiness” in my stomach.
Now, to give a little background, one of the protocols in the program is eliminating low duration cardio. I’m gonna put you on the spot, but you do love your cardio. How did you feel about taking this out initially?
I love cardio like a pre-ranch Biggest Loser contestant loves fast food (i.e., A LOT!). Kidding aside, I was definitely someone that didn’t feel like I worked out unless I got all sweaty from at least 30 mins of cardio. And ideally 6 days a week. Initially I was a little freaked out about taking out all cardio from my work outs. Going from training for some sort of road race (5k, 5 miler, half marathon) year round to doing no cardio felt very daunting at first.
You lost weight and inches, and feel better. All while taking out cardio. How does that change your perspective on cardio?
Doing the program made me realize that I can lose weight and inches without killing myself with cardio. I did miss running and doing races a bit, so when it came time to incorporate intervals back into the workout, I opted for running intervals. The upside was that because I wasn’t doing so much cardio, I had more energy on the days I actually did it.
It was also counterintuitive because doing less cardio actually made me less stressed. Not feeling like I had to get to the gym 6 to 7 days a week to get all the necessary workouts in really freed up my schedule to just go home and relax or do things I enjoy after work, so I didn’t have the “must get to gym” stress/guilt hanging over me anymore. The one thing I had to learn was to just make it count the 4 to 5 times a week that I did work out.
Also, we’ve been working on your coffee intake. When we first starting working together, you were drinking 1 med Starbucks everyday with milk. Now you are down to 2-3 day coffee free days, and only drinking smalls. Can you tell me how exactly this process was for you?
Cutting back on coffee/caffeine was not as rough to handle as I initially anticipated it would be. In cutting back, I learned that I didn’t need larger amounts of caffeine to function. It was a gradual process where initially I scaled back from one medium coffee with milk everyday to at least 2x per week with a small. Once I realized that a small coffee a day was more than enough for me, I started ordering smalls all the time and then only a medium on those rough mornings where it felt like I needed it. Eventually I worked in 1 day a week where I had tea instead of a coffee and then worked up to 2 days. It’s now such a part of my routine that I rarely even think about getting anything bigger than a small!
Great! So happy to hear about your changes. Can you tell us what was the most challenging aspect about the program?
Two words – PHASE I. It was a lot of big change to my diet and lifestyle all at once. After that first week was over, everything else seemed so much easier. A smaller challenge was the timing of intermittent fasting for me. I learned it’s good for me to plan an intermittent fast day for a weekend day when I can sleep in a bit. I’m a big fan of breakfast, so foregoing breakfast on a weekday is a bit of a challenge for me, especially being at work at that time, so I definitely tried to stick to weekend fast days.
One of the biggest concerns I hear from clients is how does this fit into my social life and how can I maintain this for good. Since you’ve been through it, can you share some of your insight on this topic?
Of course. One of the things I didn’t mention above is that I did the program spanning Thanksgiving to New Year, so talk trying to fit it into your social life! Being someone who likes to go out and have dinner/drinks, fitting the program into your social life seemed challenging at first, but once you get going and start feeling good, it’s easier to stay motivated. For starters, just because you’re not drinking, doesn’t mean you can’t go out. If nothing else, your friends have a DD and believe me, they’ll thank you for it!
When alcohol does get incorporated back in, you find you don’t really need more than a drink or 2 and you’re good to go. As far as diet is concerned, I just used a planning strategy. I reviewed menus of places I was going to pick out good options ahead of time and also suggested places where I knew they had gluten free items on the menu.
When I got to Christmas/New Year, I was at Phases where treat days were incorporated so this made life pretty easy. I just used those days as my treat day and carried on like I normally would the next. While it probably sounds strange to intentionally go through the program around the winter holidays, it worked well for me because instead of having 2 to 3 days in a row or 2 days a week where you’re not eating well, I had my one treat day and then got on with it. In the end, it was really just about balance – balancing social obligations/recreational activities with feeling good.
I often describe my coaching as a journey and find that going through this process can become almost a spiritual and growing experience for my clients. Was there anything you learned about yourself, and your body during this process?
One of the big things I learned is that my body doesn’t NEED cardio to look and feel fit. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still do a bit of it a week but it’s much less of a focus now. My focus actually shifted more from working out hard to “burn off” food to eating good, clean, organic, unprocessed foods and feeling good there first.
Another thing I learned was that my body can bounce back more quickly now after cheat days than I feel like it did before. Inevitably, you do have things in life that come up where you might not have as much control over your options – work dinners, weddings, friends’ parties, etc. Now, I don’t stress about those things. I just try to choose the best options I can, enjoy myself, and then focus on the next week and move on.
What do you think was the most useful aspect of the program? Was it the journaling, the meal plans, or my witty sense of humor?
Well in my opinion, a good sense of humor is the best thing to have in almost every situation so that obviously didn’t hurt matters! For me it was the combination of journaling and meal plans. Journaling held me accountable for the decisions I was making about what I was putting in my body and the meal plans made it easy to go to the grocery store and get my weekend grocery shopping done relatively quickly and easily.
I am definitely someone that needs to be prepared for the week so getting the options for my breakfasts, snacks, and dinners all lined up a head of time really helped. I tend to get home a bit later in the evenings after work so already having my dinner ingredients there prevented me from grocery shopping while starving, which we all know can be deadly to the diet!
How has your body changed physically, mentally and emotionally?
Physically, I’ve been able to maintain a loss of weight and inches and my clothing fits better. Mentally/emotionally, I am less neurotic about missing a work out if something comes up after work or I’m not feeling well and decide to rest instead. Also, like I mentioned about, it feels less like I’m “trying” to make smarter food choices now.
What areas of your body do you see the most change?
I noticed the most change in my stomach and back. My stomach is definitely less puffy now (insert myspace photos here) and I notice more definition in my shoulders and back muscles when wearing tank tops than I previously had. Obviously it’s due to the killer combo of the 8wk program and Pilates w/ Phyl London, who was the one that actually encouraged me to do the program, so I have to thank her a ton.
Final question. Was it worth it?
It was definitely worth it! I’m a much more efficient grocery shopper now! Haha.
Ok, final final question, for real. Unicorns or Fairies?
This is a tough one, though I’m gonna say unicorns.
Again, I want to thank Julie for taking the time and energy to do this interview. I hope that her experience helped motivate you to make positive changes in your life.