FFFC: Please introduce yourself to our readers (i.e. your name, occupation, hobbies, etc.).
OM: I’m Olivia, mom to a two year old daughter and an English Bulldog, a Coast Guard wife, and blogger! I blog about motherhood and kids’ activities at meandbabye.com, and about my passion for fitness, a healthy lifestyle and my weight loss journey at weightlossjourney10.com.
FFFC: What sparked your weight-loss journey?
OM: Throughout my teens I was always a bit overweight, frequently losing some with fad diets, and then gaining back some when I stopped. It came to a head in 2001 in my Junior year of college, when I was no longer losing any, just gaining. I had seriously messed up my metabolism with a long streak of starvation diets followed by binges, and I realized by the winter of 2001 that I had to make some drastic changes to my life, or risk being overweight for life.
FFFC: What were your beginning and current weight and/or measurements?
OM? At 5’10” I weighed 230 pounds before I started taking control of my weight and fitness. I now weigh 155.
FFFC: How long did it take for your weight-loss transformation from beginning to end?
OM: By the spring of 2002 (so 5 months from when I started) I was at 180 pounds, and much happier with myself! From there, it took another year, between gaining some back, breaking old habits, plateaus and learning what my body responds best to to lose another 25 pounds.
I was overweight because I used food as a way to deal with stress and my emotions, with no concept of portion control. I also had no idea how to lose weight in a healthy manner. So for myself, this is a continuing journey, to keep to eating clean to nourish my body, treating myself occasionally, and not using food as a means of dealing with the stress of every day life.
FFFC: What physical activities did you do during your journey?
OM: I started with the elliptical and a few weights, along with some group exercise classes. I pretty much stayed on that track for a while, working with personal trainers every now and then to add some new weight routines and toning exercises.
After I had my daughter in 2011, I found the world of HIIT workouts as well as Pilates through blogilates.com. Having a varied fitness routine that I could do whenever (like 4am when she would wake up for a feeding!) was great, and I love how incredibly powerful and energized I feel after a good HITT workout. Pilates and HIIT has changed my body in so many ways. I have never been or felt stronger! I can for the first time ever do a full push up, which for me is HUGE!
FFFC: How did your eating habits change?
OM: At the start of my weight loss journey I was on WeightWatchers, which taught me portion control. I stayed with WeightWatchers on and off for many years. It wasn’t until I was trying to get pregnant that I learned about the health advantages of clean eating. We had a hard time conceiving, and rather than turning to fertility drugs right away we decided to give Eastern medicine a try first. This entailed, among other treatments, removing all sugar, dairy, white flour and processed foods from my diet. Not only did we end up getting pregnant with no medication, but I also realized how wonderful I felt. I did my best to keep with a clean diet during pregnancy, but I definitely had some pregnancy craving slip ups! Clean eating and HIIT workouts helped me get back to 155 from my 180 post-birth weight within 3 months.
FFFC: What do you typically eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner?
OM: I typically have an egg topped with avocado and tomatoes or salsa for breakfast, along with coffee with a teaspoon or so of coconut oil. I love the taste and it is so energizing!
Snacks are typically a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts.
My lunch is normally a really big salad, with lots of veggies, and half (sometimes a whole) chicken breast topped with an olive oil dressing.
Dinner is a lean protein (fish, chicken, pork loin, turkey, black bean burgers), and a vegetable. I love to cook and dinner is the one meal I have time to make well (breakfast and lunch are usually a rush between getting to the gym in the morning and then nap time at lunch!) so I like to have fun with new Paleo and clean eating recipes.
FFFC: What is your favorite fitness activity?
OM: I am a new convert to running! I typically run 2 to 3 miles a day, followed by a HIIT workout or fitness class, like TurboKick or Tababta. I also love Bikram yoga and Power Yoga. I’ll be starting a weight training routine this month with the Fitness Trainer I have as a guest writer on weightlossjourney10.com, Ashley Lebrecht. Weight training is such a key component to a good fitness routine, one that I’ve been doing with plyometrics and various fitness classes, but I feel that I need to give it more focus.
FFFC: What do you do now to maintain your physique?
OM: I eat clean 6 days a week, and give myself one cheat day every week. I workout 6 days a week, Monday through Saturday, and do something like go for a family walk on Sunday. I also make sure to have accountability partners, both in person and on-line!
FFFC: How did you develop and sustain the willpower to avoid the bad stuff (i.e. junk food, bad drinks, lack of activity, etc.)?
OM: At first I was driven by my weight loss. Each pound lost fueled my will power to workout and eat well. When I would go off track and gain some weight back, my desire to get back to where I was again fueled my will power. When I started with clean eating my whole perspective changed. My will power came and continues to come from how good I feel! I feel so much better not eating processed foods, like white flour and sugar. I have more energy, I’m less moody, and I have absolutely no PMS. In fact, my cheat days are great reminders of WHY I continue to eat clean. I always feel a little crappy the next day, like a food hangover, when I don’t eat clean.
FFFC: What advice do you have for someone starting out on their weight-loss journey but unsure of how to begin?
OM: My honest advice would be to first off, ensure that your desire to lose weight is your desire, and not someone else’s. You can’t live someone else’s dream. Secondly, start with a plan. You’re talking about changing the way you eat and your daily life. So basically, changing your life. Having the structure of a plan, as well as the support that often comes with it, is a vital part to success in the beginning. Do your research and find a plan that is best suited to you and your life.
FFFC: What do you think is the biggest misconception about this journey?
OM: The biggest misconception is, in my opinion, that losing weight is about denying yourself. There’s this idea that you have to torture yourself with bland diets and intense fitness routines to lose weight, which just isn’t the case. In fact, denying yourself for days and weeks on end, while eating food you hate (you couldn’t pay me to eat canned tuna, for example) and working out like an Olympian will most likely result in you bingeing later on calorie laden treats and not wanting, or not able to, keep up your fitness routine.
Instead, eat what your body needs with clean eating, which in time will become what it craves, and give yourself a day to have some treats (I like a few small treats throughout one day) or one big meal (just keep it to 1,000 calories or less). Start a fitness routine geared to your level of fitness, whatever that may be, and work up from there.
I think it’s also important to remember that 80% of your physique is what you eat, and 20% is your fitness routine. Fitness is a vital component, but a good workout does not give you free reign to eat anything and everything!
FFFC: Do you have any fitness inspirations? Who are they?
OM: My father. My father was a fit man in his 20s and early 30s, who let the demands of everyday life take its toll on his fitness. He turned himself and his life around in his mid-40s, taking up body building as a serious hobby. He taught me that it is never too late to take control of your life and to become who you want to be. Sadly, he was taken far too early from Pancreatic Cancer at 52. I am forever grateful that he was able to see me transform myself from overweight to healthy, and that I was able to tell him what an inspiration he was to me before he passed.
FFFC: How can readers learn more about your transformation online (i.e. blog, Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, etc.)?
OM: You can find me at www.weightlossjourney10.com, where you can also find all my links to my other Social Media!