weight loss

What Happened When I Gained 40lbs

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A year ago this week I was wearing a size two. I was the leanest I ever had been. IMG_2241

I was also packing my bags, leaving my ex-husband.

I was also starving.

I was also weighing every green bean and grape that entered my mouth.

I also thought I was fat & hated myself. Yes, in this picture I truly thought I needed to be smaller. My heart hurts as I type this, but what I saw--is not what I know you see when you look at that.

I was starving. I was unhappy. I was starving. I was miserable.

 

A year ago I stumbled upon my new gym home The Human Form. It was by accident, literally. I came here with a friend because she was going to meet a guy who worked there (who I later ended up dating), I was terrified for her that she was going alone so I came with her--what do you mean you're going to an empty gym alone to meet a man from the internet? I ended up landing the internship of a lifetime there and that's now where I do all of my personal training.

My first week there I watched the owners, Stephen and Michelle make smoothies pretty much everyday. I remember it like it was yesterday that they put 1/2 and avocado, 1 whole banana and some other fruit in there. There was also protein and veggies but all I could think about was how in one smoothie, they just consumed almost all of my fat intake for the day and about 3/4 of my carbs.

I was counting my macros and eating 25g of fat + 100g of carbs a day.

It was then, as the people I admired so much--and my boyfriend at the time, drank their smoothies--that I knew something was wrong with me.

Counting my macros was not healthy for me. I saw food in numbers and not for fuel. I was fearful of 5 extra grams of fat per day. Simultaneously I was binging like crazy because I was eating such a limited amount of food. Even with counting my macros, I was going crazy and living an extremely unhealthy life.

I vowed to myself that I would stop counting and start focusing on eating whole foods mindfully.

Having not done that though for 2 years, and just entering a new relationship, I ate. My now ex-boyfriend loved cooking for me, and I loved that he wanted to. It was all insanely healthy but I had been use to eating practically nothing and being hungry 24/7, so when I began to eat meals with him I was not only eating good stuff--I was eating his size portions of good stuff. I knew I was probably eating too much for my body, but for so long all I could think about was my next meal and a this point I no longer knew what enough (truly enough) looked like for my body.

I ate out at restaurants, for the first time in so long. I ate food I loved, I tried new things and eventually I stopped being so afraid of food.

It took me almost a year to come to a place where I know I'm okay without counting.

Last July I weighed a low of 120lbs. In December of this year I tipped the scale at my highest of 158.

That crushed my soul because I knew that while I finally felt truly strong for the first time ever, a lot of that weight came from not honoring my body through food. Which was really hard to swallow for me.

But something else happened.

Part of me wanted to hide because I knew how lean I could be, I knew where I had once been. But as I reflected on that, I realized that I was starting to love my body where it was. Even at 158. In the picture below I was 158, but I had never felt more sexy and confident in my life. That's what most women and competitors say though. "I love my curvy body". Most say it because they know what is happening and they are ashamed. And I was, I fought myself daily to love this body. But when I allowed myself to start letting that love be okay--what happened was magical.

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In the beginning I felt that I could only love myself at 120 because 120 meant abs. I thought that 158 equaled that I was fat, not worthy of love. I based my love with myself on my gravitational pull with the universe.

Something clicked though, I started to be able to grab my butt. I had legs that didn't look like you could break them in half.

I finally, FINALLY realized that beauty, confidence and feeling sexy had nothing to do with abs. That it is OKAY to love your body without it looking like the cover of Oxygen Magazine.

 

So this year I gained 40lbs. I was recovering from an eating disorder that consumed every part of my being. The weight I gained wasn't all healthy, a lot of my old habits came up many times. This 40lbs is made up of learning how to eat for my body, honoring it through eating intuitively, and sometimes it was made up of ED mindset setbacks.

40lbs is a lot, I don't say that with rainbows and butterflies shooting out of my ass. But speaking of ass, I have one now. I have many things now that I choose to break society's version of beautiful and decide I was beautiful on my own.

Now, out of curiosity, I weighed myself and am chillin at 143. I love myself more at 143 than I ever did at 120. Because a number doesn't decide you're confident or beautiful--you decide that.

143 is good. My ED mindset isn't there, I can wake up and eat the foods I love that simultaneously fuel me and leave me feeling good. I can look in the mirror with a deep acceptance and love for my body. I'm actually strong. I can lift heavy shit well. I don't have dark circles under my eyes, I don't run out of energy in my workouts, I'm happy.

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Strong Curves + radical self love VS. weak, extreme hate for my body.

I am beautiful because I decided I was. The freedom and confidence that came with that is earth shatteringly beautiful.

There are still days I feel my self love tank is dipping low, but I know now that self love is a choice and most importantly a journey, not an end goal.

So if you feel like you're struggling with self love because you don't look like a model, I challenge you to be okay with being a bit of a rebel and allowing yourself to decide what your version of beautiful is.

 

With a whole lot of love, shaky fingers and vulnerability,

xoxo

Rachel

 

 

MY TOP 5 FAVORITE PROTEIN POWDERS

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I'm an open protein-oholic. I just love protein bars and powder. As a trainer and fitness nutrition specialist though, I know my love of protein crack isn't the best. It's always best to get your protein from whole food sources things like:

  • Meat (chicken, fish, steak ect)
  • Greek yogurt
  • Cottage cheese
  • Eggs (specifically the whites, as the yolk is a fab source of healthy fat)

 

However, sometimes a protein shake is just necessary (well, sorta). Whether you're time crunched, can't keep food cold, have a hard time reaching your protein intake for the day ect, a shake or bar is a great thing to have on hand to get the protein you need if you're lacking it.

With SO many protein powders on the market it's hard to know which is best for YOU and your goals/body. Not all protein powders are made the same way. Just like with the meat or veggies you buy, you want a protein that is good quality and not a cheap one that is created with more fillers than it is protein.

My Top 5:

Below are my top 5 favorite protein powders, I've chosen five in all different price ranges and I explain why I like them!

 

1. Jay Robb

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Jay Robb is by far my favorite protein powder on the market as far as ingredients goes, and overall high quality. 100% natural, no funky ingredients coming in with 25g of protein per serving.

Pros: Great "clean" source of protein.

Cons: Most expensive on the list. Amazon sells it for $37.00 for 23 servings BUT you can find it at your local grocery store for $25-27. Also, this is NOT good for baking.

Overall: If you're looking for a clean and natural protein powder solely for drinking, you won't find one better than this.

Price: $$$

2. Quest Protein

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Quest is an awesome protein! The first time I tried this and I had vanilla, my initial reaction was that it was too sweet for me. I used it to make fruit smoothies and it was perfect though. Fast forward a few months and I got my hands on chocolate and it's PERFECT. Quest is a high quality protein blend and is phenomenal for cooking with. It's good mixed with water, baking or a blended shake. It's thick JUST like ice cream (though you can water it down to a consistency you like). This is the only protein powder I will bake with now because it's that good.

Pros: Taste is 10/10, great for baking/pudding, moderately priced for such a high quality, good no matter what it's mixed with (water/milk). 22g of protein per serving!

Cons: Honestly, can't think of any.

Price: $$ Can be bought on www.questnutrition.com OR at your local supplement store.

3. Metabolic Nutrition: Protizyme

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I'm a huge fan of all of Metabolic Nutrition's products. My body responds really well to their whole line and their flavors are on point! I've tried the peanut butter cookie and it's hands down my absolute favorite flavored protein powder out there. This tasted great mixed with water and milk and baked really well too.

Pros: Taste is 10/10, comes in multiple flavors, is well priced per serving, 26g protein per serving! They also have a great digestive enzyme complex that makes this protein powder easier on your body to digest.

Cons: The ingredient list is a little bigger than the ones I've listed, however this doesn't rule it out for me as I trust the company and the ingredients aren't foreign to me.

Price: $$ Rounds out to be $1.90 per serving. $49.00 for 2lbs, with 26 servings. Supplement stores carry this for a cheaper price though!

4. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey

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This was one of the first protein powders I ever used and it's always my go to if I can't decide. It's a high quality protein that tastes great. Simple and to the point with buttloads of flavors to choose from.

Pros: Can be found at all supplement stores, high quality, flavor is 9/10 and is one of the more inexpensive protein powders I like.

Cons: Not as great to bake with.

Price: $ This is pretty much always on sale at supplement stores or on www.bodybuilidng.com

 

5. Cellucor

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Cellucor is probably one of the most popular protein powders out there. I love it because the flavors are 10/10, it tastes great and again this is another great protein to bake with.

Pros: Easy to find, inexpensive, great flavor, 25g protein per serving!

Cons: None that I have.

Price: $ Can be found on their site, or www.bodybuilding.com

Dear Girl Who Loves Pizza Too

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Dear Girl Who Loves Pizza Too, I know how you feel. I know how much you love pizza, your feelings go deeper than "half cheese, half pep see you in 30". You love the damn thing. Heres the deal, I know you're pretty much FBO (facebook official) with it and all, but there's one huge problem that you don't even want to admit to yourself....your pizza is a cheating whore. You think it's making you happy and it loves you back, nope. That big cheesy slob is only making you feel like garbage. You know what I mean..bloating, gas, sick feeling. My gosh!!

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It's time to take the cheese by the crust, and toss that cheater to the curb.

Okay, okay, okay..I'll be serious now. I just shared a slice of my newest novel: Cheese Just Not That Into You.......LOL okay, now I'm done.

We have a serious issue, we think we deserve pizza (insert your favorite unhealthy meal).

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I chose the name "Strong Chicks Rock" for my business not just because I help women build strong bodies, but because we focus on mental strength just as much. That doesn't mean I teach you to flex your brain, or have willpower of steel. It means I coach you in having a healthy relationship with food, I lead you to self love and having confidence.

To me, having the mentality of "I deserve this meal/ because______" only sets you up with an even worse relationship with food.

Most women at some point in their journey say things like:

-I'm earning my cheat meal -I deserve this donut for how hard I worked this week -I need to run extra so I can have more pizza

All of those thoughts contribute a self destructive relationship with food.

My hope for you, if you feel like your relationship with food struggles is that you allow yourself to let go of the "deserving mentality".

100% of my clients go from lost, stuck, feeling deprived, and having a deserving mentality to having a healthy relationship with food and enjoying their whole journey solely from making the mental switch.

It's important that you know this:

  • Your body will change and physical results will happen with consistency.
  • You will never deserve food. No matter how hard you work, that doesn't mean you've earned cake. YOU AREN'T A DOG. No tricks, miles, workouts will lead you to a reward.
  • Your body is a temple, honor it through foods that fuel you and make you feel good.
  • Know that you can have something unhealthy, but know when to stop. (The biggest piece of advise I have for this is: Your food won't run away. We tend to think 'shit I need to eat this all right now or I can never have it again' . That's not the case though, have a serving or whatever and then be done. Knowing that if you truly wanted more its there. You are in no rush.)
  • You can't out train a bad diet. So if you eat like poop and think you can go work it off, you can't. This doesn't mean that one bad meal will ruin everything you've done. It just means that you can't go into a night out thinking "I'm going to eat ALL THE FOOD, just going to work it off tomorrow".

 

What helps me the most when I'm eating, no matter what kind of food it is, is this: Is what I'm about to eat going to honor my body and my goals?

If it's clear it won't honor your goals ask yourself this: Is this something I can get anytime? Is it worth it?

If it's something you can eat anytime, I always say pass. I'd rather get something special, something I couldn't eat anytime so I really enjoy the experience.

 

I hope this article helps you, my pizza loving friend. I hope you are honest with yourself and your journey and can come to peace with food. A healthy relationship with food is what I want with for ALL women. May you have that and keep it for life forever.

 

xo

Rachel

I Can't Believe I'm Sharing My Fitness Secret

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HAPPY FRIDAY my beautiful friends!! I hope you all are off to a fantastic start. I've said it 100x but know this, your health isn't M-F, it's everyday. So don't lose sight of it this weekend.

Ok, enough is enough. I'm sure you're wondering what my big fitness secret is.....

Drum roll please.....

Less Is More.

Before you roll your eyes and click the page away (yes I know you were expecting the answer to be a magical trick to reaching your goals!) just listen.

Where It All Went Wrong

Be it through Pinterest, school, your boyfriend or Cosmo Magazine women (and men) have been programmed into thinking they need to spend 1-2 hours in the gym and that cardio is a must.

This couldn't be farther from the truth, I've trained over 100 women and successfully lost 45lbs myself, all without spending hours in the gym, doing a billion exercises or doing cardio. How? I'll tell you.

What Is Functional?

Your training should be functional and here's my version of that: Training that honors your body and it's natural movement patterns. Moving and using exercises the help you move better in everyday life. Crawling, pushing, pulling, carrying , picking up and putting down. When we train this way, we are training for life.

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Some may look at this say and say "no way", they don't see how doing things so simple could get them any sort of results. That's ok, maybe they aren't ready.

I'm not saying you'll never touch a weight, because you will--a lot. The thing is, you can accomplish your goals doing very few movements, while simultaneously working your whole body, lose weight and gain that definition you want. All that, without pounding your body into the ground.

Here's How:

Take a look at this workout:

3x30ft foot hand crawl 3x12 kettlbell swing 3x10 inverted row 3x10 push ups

Breaking this down, you can see that when done right, the foot hand crawl uses every muscle in your body. Want to know how I got abs? I crawled, I kept my core tight and crawled some more. Our swings move us to the "cardio" portion of this workout. This is a ballistic movement, so much power, strength AND endurance coming from this move! Again, the swing uses every muscle! Now we go to the inverted row, because I added push ups to this I wanted to add a pull as well. Working both planes of the body (front and back) allows us to not just strengthen both, but get the most of our workout in a short period of time.

I see a lot of things like one legged bicep curls on the bosu ball. Why? Yes you are placed at an imbalance and your stability is being challenged but is this one move really helping you get the most out of your workouts and use your time wisely? Not so much!

So next time you train, think about your goals. Program your workouts to be functional and allow you to get he most bang for your buck each time!

Now go functionally kick some ass!

Rach

Friday Fit Tip!

Happy Friday everyone! Let's get into our first Friday Fit Tip...

Cardio is on the menu today. While steady state cardio (running on the treadmill, using the elliptical) can deffintley benefit us in ways. It's not the only way, nor best way to achieve our goals. More so if fat loss is our goal.

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For those of you that have been running mindlessly on the treadmill hoping for a way to reach your goals in a more efficient way.. I have your answer.

HIIT or high intensity interval training.

What is it?

HIIT is working at intervals. Giving 100% all out effort (with proper form) for the allotted "work" time then rest for a short period and beginning again.

Where you were spending 30-60min doing cardio before, now with HIIT you'll be burning 2x the amount of calories in your cardio session AND be done in less than half the time. With most HIIT sessions lasting anywhere from 10-30 min, you are blasting fat like a mother trucker.

If you thought you were someone on a plataeu, I highly encourage you adding this form of training to your programming 2-3x a week. You'll notice signifigat changes in your body.

The Benefits

Healthier Heart: One study has shown that after 12 weeks of incorporating HIIT training the studies where able to bike DOUBLE the amount they could before!

Happier Insides: Research has also shown that you can improve your insuiln sensitivity by 25%. That alone, is just incredible to me. By adding 2-3 HIIT sessions a week, your body from the inside out it completely improving and becoming fitter, and healthier.

Happier Weight Loss: Where once you had thought you had to spend hours doing cardio you can now achieve double if not triple the results by spending less than an hour a week doing this.

How

One thing needs to be clear, HIIT is great. However, you need to adjust accroding to your fitness level. If you've never worked out before and you're trying to demolish a HIIT workout, you are likely to injure yourself. So let's be smart. Take this workout below and adjust as needed for your fitness level. By that, I mean maybe you'll do less rounds or stretch your resting period by an extra 5 seconds.

20 seconds kettlebell swings 10 second rest 20 second split jack lunges 10 second rest 20 seconds jump squats 10 second rest

1-2 min rest then repeat the circuit again for 7-10 circuits.

See what I'm saying, that's only 7-10 active minutes of training!

You can add a HIIT workout to the end of a normal workout, or if you want you could just make a HIIT routine your workout for the day!

What do you think, will you be adding more HIIT into your training?

Would you guys like more HIIT workouts to be added?

Have a great weekend.

Rach