“What I didn’t realize, back when I was this twenty-five-year-old pinup for geeks in that me-myself-and-iconic metal bikini, was that I had signed an invisible contract to stay looking the exact same way for the next thirty to forty years.”
- Carrie Fisher, AKA Princess Leia
We've received a lot of questions about our Nutrition Jumpstart. You can learn more below and by visiting the Barre & Soul website.
You know what? There are no invisible contracts between your body and anyone else. You don’t owe it to the world to be a particular weight or a particular shape. Besides that, there is no weight or shape that will turn you into a new person or guarantee you a princess-perfect life.
Those pounds you want to lose? They’re not the reason you haven’t started fully living. And losing them won’t cause you to suddenly do so.
We get the confidence thing all wrong, sometimes. Weight loss commercials talk about the confidence that comes from weight loss as though it’s a function of a certain number on a scale. I think confidence and certainty is a function of deciding to do something, mastering the process, and getting it done. Of deciding what you want and knowing you have the power to make it happen.
As a fitness professional and a blogger, I believe in giving you the tools to create what you want in your life.
I had a weight loss goal. It might seem frivolous to other people, it might intersect with all kinds of bullshit expectations our world places on women, but losing those last five pounds was what I wanted to do.
For five years I’ve wondered if I’d ever get back to a weight I hadn’t seen since 2010.
“Well, I have gotten a lot stronger since then,” I’d tell myself. “So maybe I just have more muscle mass. The scale isn’t everything. It doesn’t tell the whole story.”
And all of this was likely true. Still, every year when I updated my goals, I would stubbornly write that mystical number of my goal weight on the list, both hopeful and quietly frustrated that it seemed out of reach.
Having built my career on fitness, I sometimes feel that having an aesthetically “perfect” body is my job. Not going to lie: I feel pressure. My body is my business card - and for the record, I do think I’m in great shape. I’m also of the mindset that when I want something, and decide to get it, I go get it.
This was what I wanted. After five years of not doing it, I wanted to know I could do it.
And then, this past fall, I did.
With the help of a no-nonsense coach, who is also a former physique competitor, I figured it out. I tried her method, and it worked. My weight loss even surpassed my goal weight of t-minus-5, which meant I was able to gain a few pounds back over the holidays and still land at that magic number I had longed for all those years.
I could not have done it alone.
The hardest thing about accomplishing any goal, including losing weight, is that we must persevere for days/weeks/months even when we’re not immediately seeing results. We don’t see the fruits of our labor. It takes time to notice a difference. It takes trial and error to find what works. A coach will help you hang in there long enough to get to your goal.
My coach is a fantastically knowledgeable trainer named Stacey Schaedler. Her “progress not perfection” approach resonated with me. In fact, the first time I reached out to her for nutrition advice, I described the amount of stress I was under with the newly opened Harvard Square studio, and an upcoming photo shoot. I was looking for some macronutrient goals to help me look my best for the shoot.
Her response was priceless: Call me when you’re less stressed and ready to make a sustainable change in your nutrition. In the meantime, you look great, just take it easy and enjoy the shoot.
I knew I had found the right coach for me. I like her philosophy. I like her style. I like her F-bombs. She’s a total badass.
I later reconnected with Stacey and joined her coaching group, and I’m glad I did.
Here’s a brief synopsis of what I did that worked*:
- Stacey gave me macronutrient goals, and I tracked my macros daily using a smartphone app
- Strength days and non-strength days had different macronutrient goals
- I increased my daily protein intake by A LOT. (This meant that I had to eat fewer carbs than I’m accustomed to in order to stay within my calorie budget.)
- There were no restricted foods and no "cleanse" aspect to this plan
- Using the private Facebook community group and sharing questions, recipes and food photos helped keep me on track
- I finally made grocery shopping and meal prep a priority
- I cut out most alcohol during the week – mainly in order to hit my macro goals, but I think overall this helped me feel good
- I strength-trained twice a week (After the initial program, I increased my strength days again to about 3)
- Stacey’s advice is to get 10,000 steps or a yoga class every day on non-strength days, so I tried to take a long walk or do yoga but I have to admit, this didn’t always happen
- This approach prioritized nutrition over exercise very differently than what I had done in the past, and my results were better than ever
*Your individual recommendations may look different than mine based on different goals and lifestyle factors
Eating high protein helped me feel full and cut back on mindless snacking. Knowing that I was giving my muscles plenty of protein made me feel better about the workouts I wasn’t doing. Normally, I strength-train 3-5 times a week, so twice-a-week was a downward adjustment for me. The workouts I wasn’t doing also helped keep my appetite down. However, the lack of exercise (comparatively speaking) may have affected my mood at times.
At the same time I was doing this program, I was also doing a lot of admin work for my business, which meant I was sitting at my desk a lot. This left me feeling a little stiff and creaky. I didn't always follow Stacey’s advice about getting in 10,000 steps or a yoga class every day, and I probably should have, because it would have made me feel better both physically and mentally. It also would have helped me get enough time in nature, which is really important to my well-being.
On the whole, I did enjoy this gentler, more sustainable approach to exercise and to time management and it was nice not to feel guilty about getting in so few hours/week of strength training, especially since my work load was really high at that time and my schedule felt overwhelming already.
So, what was it like, that morning that I stepped on the scale and saw the readout was lower than the goal number I’d been chasing all along? Did a halo of light appear above my head? Did I levitate and float straight out of my bathroom and into the clouds?
Here’s What Happened When I Lost The Last Five Pounds:
Life went on, some good, some bad. I had accomplished the thing I’d intended to do. That made me feel great. I went on vacation and felt more confident in a bathing suit than I have maybe ever. With lower body fat, my muscles looked extra awesome. I had an amazing time on my yoga and barre retreat to St. Croix. I noticed my face had started looking a little wrinklier (this is what happens when we lose fat from our faces, fun fact!) That month I also had one of the worst fights I’ve ever had with Jason in our 8 years together and dealt with some incredibly stressful personnel issues.
In other words, I reached my goal weight, sure, but I didn’t become someone else, I didn’t become perfect. I will never be perfect. I am human.
I don’t have everything figured out. But thanks to some great coaching, and my persistence, I did figure this one thing out.
I now have a nutrition plan that I know really works. It’s a new approach to eating, not a limited-time fix. There’s so much confusing advice about diet (and exercise) out there: High protein, high fat, low fat, gluten free, vegan, paleo… and I’m glad I no longer need to let all this noise take up precious head space - I have other things I’d rather focus on!
So if you’d like to be handed a blueprint for losing those last five pounds or jump-starting a different weight management goal of yours from someone who’s got it figured out, GREAT!
We can do this, and I invite you to join me and my coach, Stacey, this January for our first-ever Barre & Soul 4-Week Nutrition Jumpstart.
Our Nutrition Jumpstart can help you hit this one particular goal of yours…
But in the meantime, extra pounds or not, don’t wait to fully live your life. The bathroom scale doesn’t get to give you permission to do what you want to do. As the wise Carrie Fisher so eloquently said, you don’t owe anyone a particular physique or weight. There are no invisible contracts to sign. The only “contract” that matters is the one you make with yourself. There’s only you, doing what you want to do.
Want to do this with us?
P.S. If you're no Betty Crocker and enjoy ridiculously easy recipes, check out some of my go-to meals here. If you like knowing that you're not the only one struggling with insecurity in the midst of your hustle, you might enjoy this post. And if you want to know my top 4 pieces of advice for getting shit done, read this.