365 Days + 15 Pounds: A Reflection

So, this post, like most of my posts about health + fitness, is going to begin with some disclaimers. Here we go…

(1) I am an Independent Team Beachbody Coach. BUT my views here are mine and mine alone and do not reflect Team Beachbody, Beachbody, or any of the Super Trainers / Nutrition Experts / Other Coaches.

(2) Any links in here (like the one in point #1) will go to my personal coaching page(s) and/or to other pages in my blog. As an Independent Team Beachbody Coach, I do receive commission if you decide to purchase anything from me at these links. Just want to be up front about that.

(3) With literally everything I talk about with food, health, fitness, nutrition, exercise, etc., YMMV (your mileage may vary). Actually, it should be YMWV (your mileage WILL vary) because if I have learned anything, it’s that every single body is unique and will respond differently to everything in its own special ways, so don’t expect your journey to look ANYTHING like mine.

So, aside from pairing up superheroes with BOD workouts, I haven’t talked much about my own Beachbody/health/fitness/weight-loss journey since August of last year. And those three year transformation photos? I never went back and posted them. I did do a 2018 comparison on social media, which looked like this:

Not too shabby.

You might also remember that in July, I did a reflection post on being eleven weeks in to the 2B Mindset and how I just wasn’t really doing the work. (Spoiler Alert: I kinda haven’t done the work since then, either, which is why I am writing this post). After that post, I did start doing the work again, and by the time I met the creator of 2B Mindset – Ilana Muhlstein – in October of 2018, I was down 22 pounds.

She is absolutely incredible. This was a huge moment for me.

And you might also know that I set out with the idea of a “Body By Me” challenge for 2018 where I was only going to do programs that required bodyweight exercises and no other equipment and, well, then I started weightlifting in October.

‘Sup. You can see all the weights behind me. We’ve amassed quite a collection since starting LIIFT 4 in the Fall.

So… what’s the deal with my post title?

May 2 was the one-year anniversary of the launch of 2B Mindset. If you had asked me in May of 2018 where I would be yesterday, I would’ve probably (arrogantly) proclaimed that I would have lost at least 50 pounds and would be almost at my goal.

As of yesterday, I’ve lost 15 pounds from where I was on May 2, 2018.

BUT WAIT. DON’T RUN AWAY. LET ME EXPLAIN!

This is not going to be a list of excuses. I mean, I have those. I’ve always had those. They sound like this, right?

  • It was the holidays.
  • We had friends in town.
  • It was a special occasion.
  • I never get to have [insert thing that I actually have fairly regularly].
  • We’re at Disneyland!
  • I worked out really hard today.
  • I ate really well yesterday, so today…!

And on, and on, and on. And so, for nearly seven months, the scale just…stuck.

But that’s not necessarily a bad thing…

First of all, yeah, the scale stuck and it’s frustrating that I wasn’t losing weight. But I also wasn’t gaining weight. And THAT is a big thing for me, because normally I balloon up during the holidays and then spend the first six months of the year trying to fight my way back down again. This year, I didn’t. This year, I maintained my weight loss from the first eight months of the year.

But Colette… (you’re thinking) …you said you were down 22 pounds in October and down 18.2 pounds in December and now you’re only down 15?

Well, to start, if I went by my May FIRST weight instead of my May SECOND weight, I would’ve been down 21 pounds. But, I went out to eat on May 1 and the bloat + heavy meal I ate late showed up on the scale on May 2, so my date-to-date comparison was only 15 pounds. Because, yes. Sometimes, a single meal can make you “gain” six pounds. (You don’t really — again, it’s bloat or the fact that you haven’t pooped or water retention or any number of things…by tomorrow, I should be back down to having lost 21 pounds instead of “only” 15. These are lessons you learn by getting on a scale daily!).

Left: April 2018
Right: April 2019

I am trying to be as transparent as possible about this process, both for your understanding and for my own journal/memory/whatever that this blog often serves to be, so there it is.

And, yeah, 21 pounds is not 22 pounds (like it was in October), nor is it 29 pounds (technically the most I lost last year based on the lightest weight I saw on the scale, but I never maintained it beyond a day or two…). So what’s been going on?! Well, two main things, I believe:

#1 – I stopped following the program.

I kept the core principles in mind, yes, but I wasn’t strict about anything other than getting on the scale every day. This is actually why I think I maintained so well — once I would see a day or two of a gain, I would rein in the treats, increase my veggies, up my water intake (you know, all the good habits I should be doing!) and I’d see the pounds drop off again. But I didn’t focus on keeping those habits up EVERY DAY. I ate out a lot. I had treats a lot. I had “Veggies Some,” not “Veggies Most.” These are just the facts.

# 2 – I didn’t factor in my exercise.

So, on 2B Mindset, exercise is considered “extra credit.” This is great in helping make sure that you don’t overeat because you think “Oh, I had a super hard workout, so I’m getting cheese fries.” It’s also great because the program is effective even if you’re not doing a regular fitness program. It’s not so great if you start working out A LOT doing something SUPER INTENSE (like I have been, with LIIFT 4) and you DON’T EAT ENOUGH CALORIES! Don’t believe me? Read this or this or this (or Google it).

When doing pulse goblet squats with a 25 lb. dumbbell, you need more than two or three small servings of protein a day, genius…

How did I figure this out? Well, by slipping into an old habit — I decided rather than committing to the 2B Mindset again, I would try something new, because it must be the program and not the fact that I wasn’t doing the work that was the problem, right? (I know, I’m rolling my eyes at me too.) So I decided to give the Ultimate Portion Fix a shot.

MAJOR NOTE HERE: Ultimate Portion Fix is a FANTASTIC program. But, it is very focused on *counting and measuring* and has some stricter limitations, which are not my jam. It’s the reason I gravitated to 2B Mindset instead in the first place, but I figured, “Well, it didn’t work (reminder – it does work; I wasn’t working) so I need something different…

So I did my calculations and figured out how many servings of fruits and veggies and carbs and proteins I should be eating each day, and then I started to eat on that plan. And I was eating SO MUCH MORE than I’d been eating before. And it hit me — I’m plateauing because I stopped fueling my body for fitness.

When I compared my 2B Mindset journal to my UPF tracker, I was so under-eating carbs + proteins. You know, the things your body needs to build muscle and, well, function.

Thanks to the UPF calculation + measurements, I have a much better idea of how much food I should be eating each day and how to make that work with the flexibility and mentality of Plate It! and the 2B Mindset.

So where will I be another year from now?

Hopefully just as strong (or stronger) and the exact same weight (or lighter). Hopefully just as focused on my self-care, with improved habits like flossing 2x day (I’m working on it!), getting regular massages, going to medical appointments, reading development books, and meditating more than my current average of a handful of times a month.

I recently shared this post on #TransformationTuesday, looking at a nine year difference between the images, and I think my summary, well, sums it all up quite nicely:

Left: 2010
Right: 2019

Another good thing that comes from having to dig through old photos is that, sometimes, you stumble across a startling reminder of just how far you’ve really come.

This hasn’t been easy. It hasn’t been a straight line. It’s been YEARS of examining how I treat myself mentally and physically. It’s been a lot of learning, unlearning, relearning. And right now, the biggest lesson that I hope to help other people learn is this — if you’re trying to lose weight, gain strength, and improve your health, you HAVE TO have a reason beyond something superficial. You know how I know that? Because the photo on the left, from 2010, is less than nine months after I was my *lightest* adult weight…which I got to by crash dieting and over-exercising just to fit into a wedding dress. And you know what happens when you don’t have a specific dress to fit into any more? Oh that’s right; it all comes back and then some.

Now, I don’t have a dress to fit into. Now, I just like feeling like a f**king badass when I can do 30 squats holding 50 pounds (25lb dumbbell in each hand). Now, I like that I can make it 12 hours walking around Disneyland without being too exhausted or sore to enjoy anything. Now I can eat a California burrito without using words like “bad” or “cheat” or “off-plan” and not let it completely derail any progress I’ve made. Now I enjoy salads because salads are freaking amazing and delicious and not because I am punishing myself for the aforementioned burrito.

And sometimes the scale sticks. Sometimes the scale sticks for months. And sometimes that’s annoying as hell. Not gonna lie. But if this process has shown me anything, it’s that there isn’t ever really a “Before” and “After.” There’s a “Then” and a “Now.”

And I just want to keep living in that now.