When I was growing up, I ate a lot. I mean a lot! I remember eating a tin full of potato chips chasing them down with Kool-Aid after I came home from school, then eat dinner and go back for seconds all the time. I was the fat, funny girl in high school and laughed off the way people teased me about my weight. I was a band geek in high school and one day everyone had to get their height and weight for new uniforms and the lady who weighed me announced “200 pounds” so loudly that everyone started laughing. I cried my eyes that night. I couldn’t believe I weighed that much. I should’ve known, but I didn’t want to face the truth. I joined the track team and I participated in the discus and shotput events, but I was so overweight. I was wearing a size 22 and I felt uncomfortable. I did not like shopping for clothes. My mom made most of my clothes because it was hard finding clothes that fit. Well, I started working double shifts at a restaurant called Chi-Chis between my junior and senior of high school and I lost 40 pounds. And over the next 2 years, I released another 20 pounds. When I joined the military, I weighed 138 pounds. I was ecstatic! But for the first 10 years of my military career, I struggled with my weight due to overeating, eating late at night, and experimenting with crazy diets. When I lost weight before I came into the military, it was done by eating once a day and working a lot of hours. It was not in the healthiest way, so I could not maintain it, one of the hardest things to do is to maintain your weight loss…I would put on 40 pounds then starve myself back and workout excessively to my original weight. I failed several weigh-ins and it was horrible. And when you failed a weigh-in back then, you would get your waist, neck, and hips measured; sometimes in front of a bunch of onlookers. My weight was causing me so much stress, anxiety and lowered my self-confidence. I got sick and tired of being sick and tired, so I decided to do something about it. I bought a step aerobics box, small hand weights, and a few home exercise videos. I also did a lot of research on how to eat healthier and how to create an eating plan to boost my metabolism. I finally released, not lose, the weight naturally because I do not want to find it again, and I have kept the weight off for most of my career. When I had our son, I ended up weighing 200 lbs again! But, within 5-6 months after I had him, I released the weight again. I’ve ran 2 (1/2 marathons), taught myself to swim in my 30s, participated in triathlons, and taught group fitness classes. Over time, I’ve built a home gym. I have a Peloton spin bike, a treadmill, a weight bench, and hand weights from 5 to 50 lbs. I get up every day and exercise anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes. I also eat high protein and low sugar foods to keep me focused and energized to SLAY whatever I want to do. I meal prep on Sundays. Not only have I maintained my weight, I significantly improved my self-confidence, my professional performance, my sleep, my overall happiness and boosted my energy level. I also love to shop, exercise, network, and try new things like starting two businesses and working on my master’s degree. I really feel like I can do anything. My mindset has shifted in a major way where I’m constantly challenging myself during my workouts, eating foods for fuel, and decreasing my chances of getting chronic diseases. In a few months, I will be 50 and I typically do high-intensity interval training because I can and I love the benefits of being fit.
So, for anyone who is struggling with their health and fitness goals, give yourself grace. Take one thing at a time. One meal, one workout, and one pound at a time. It’s a journey, not a race. As frustrating as it can be, do not throw in the towel!
1. TRUST THE PROCESS! We live in a society of quick results – instant gratification! Remember, you didn’t pack on the weight in just four or five weeks; it’s unlikely that you’ll lose it all in that time period as well! Be consistent, do the work, and track your results.
2. THROW AWAY THE SCALE! Ok, you don’t necessarily have to THROW it away, but at least put it away for a while – out of sight – out of mind. As you start a new program there are many factors that can contribute to weight retention and sometimes even a temporary weight gain. Fatigued muscles can swell, your body can retain water with the new eating plan, and the most common reason, is you’re actually putting on MUSCLE, which weighs more than fat! Use a body fat calculator, to see how much fat you need to lose. As the muscle increases, you’ll burn more calories which will ultimately lead to losing more fat.
3. DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF WITH OTHERS! Easier said than done, I know! It’s frustrating when one person literally seems to be “melting” before your eyes on the same program and eating plan while you feel you are working for nothing. Believe me, it’s NOT for nothing. Everybody is different and everybody's processes change at different rates. While for some, the changes on the outside are immediate, for others it may take longer, though there may be drastic changes going on on the inside that you may not even realize!
4. CHECK YOUR NUTRITION! While we may “think” we’re doing it all right and eating 100% clean, often we’re slipping up way more than we realize! When starting a program and focusing on weight loss, I usually recommend keeping a food journal for at least the first few weeks. This helps you become completely aware of what is going in your mouth. Go with the motto, “If you bite it, write it!” 80% of what we look like is what we do in the kitchen…I supplement my food plan every day with protein powder, energy fizz sticks, detoxification tea, and gut health powder. Fail to plan, fail to plan!
5. SCHEDULE IN SOME REST! Often our bodies are just overtired and need a break! Sometimes when I hit a plateau (stall in the weight loss), after taking an extra day off, I start to see a change again. Your body NEEDS to recover, so make sure you are getting proper rest.
6. GET SOME SUPPORT! Being accountable to someone else often is the missing factor in many people’s weight loss journey. Find a friend or family member to help you stay on track!
7. ACTIVATE INTO SLAY MODE! The Y in SLAY stands for YOU ARE BUILT TO LAST! Build a positive mindset and believe in yourself…just don’t quit…
KEEP ON SLAYIN’ UNTIL YOU CAN’T SLAY NO MORE!
This was your SLAY COACH, Rochelle “SLAY QUEEN” Hemingway!