FFFC: Please introduce yourself to our readers (i.e. your name, occupation, hobbies, etc.).
LT: Hi everyone my name is Liz Taylor. I will be 25 years old on Wednesday (yay!). I live in Charlotte, NC and work as an Office Manager and a wannabe author. I am currently writing my first book. I have a plethora of hobbies and find myself interested in almost everything. I really enjoy hiking, weightlifting, writing, creating healthy alternative recipes, playing the acoustic guitar, collecting comic books, and going to the movies.
FFFC: What sparked your weight-loss journey? What was your beginning and current weight and/or measurements?
LT: My heaviest weight was 274 pounds in 2008. Right now I currently weigh 185 and have a goal weight of 165.
FFFC: How long did it take for your weight-loss transformation from beginning to end?
LT: I started my second weight loss journey on Monday, November 25th, 2013. I lost 62 pounds thus far and hope to attain a weight of 165 by Thanksgiving.
FFFC: What physical activities did you do during your journey?
LT: I exercise 6 days a week: three days a week I do an upper body weight circuit (each muscle group, one exercise, and 3 sets of 15 repetitions per exercise) with 45 minutes of cardio. It is usually the StairMill, Elliptical, high inclined walk on the treadmill, sprint intervals on my gyms indoor track, or jogging on the greenway next to my apartment, one day a week I do a core and ab workout with 45 minutes of cardio, one day a week a do a heavy leg workout with 30 minutes of cardio, and then one day a week go hiking.
FFFC: How did your eating habits change?
LT: My eating habits changed because I started looking at food differently. I was no longer going to allow myself to use food as a comfort, escape, or reward. I am teaching myself to eat until I am satisfied, not hunched over and exhausted from becoming so full. Most of all I am finding balance: enjoying what I eat, not starving myself, allowing myself to indulge sometimes, and being creative—making healthy alternative recipes to some of my favorite comfort foods.
FFFC: What do you typically eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner?
LT: I eat 6 small meals a day and it changes every week. On my blog, I list my weekly nutrition and training plan. Some of my must haves are Quest Bars, plain almonds and walnuts, fresh fruits, single packets of Almond Butter, turkey-jurkey, Greek yogurt, Powerade Zero, asparagus, and zucchini.
FFFC: What is your favorite fitness activity?
LT: It is a tie between lifting weights and going hiking. Hiking is especially fun because I enjoy being out in nature and the sunshine while getting lost in my music. Plus it tones my butt and legs like no other. The view from the top is always a wonderful reward as well. Lifting weights is fun because it’s so challenging and I love seeing definition grow on my body. Plus the more muscle mass one has, the more calories they burn at rest. That’s a double win if you ask me!
FFFC: What do you do now to maintain your physique? I stay dedicated and organized.
LT: When I started my second weight loss journey last November, I knew I had to change my lifestyle. This does not end for me; this is a journey that I will happily work on for the rest of my life. I always ensure I plan my workouts and meals the week before, keep my gym bag packed, and by the door so I never forget it, never let myself get to the point of starving, and keep healthy snacks close. Writing also helps. Connecting with my readers and other men and women who have struggled and overcome obesity is motivating to me and pushes me to never give up.
FFFC: What inspired you to compete on stage? And how did you do?
LT: I have not yet competed in a fitness competition though most of my friends do. I am heavily involved in the sport of bodybuilding, but I am unsure if I will ever do it. A big part of me wants to do one, just to say I did, but people often severely underestimate just how much hard work and dedication goes into competing. There is no such thing as balance. You go through rigorous training with two-a-day workouts; your body is severely depleted of carbs, sugar, etc because you are on such a strict diet, you have to get plenty of rest, and you can’t really “go out”. After the competition, a lot of competitors have a hard time bouncing back. The metabolism is slowed from such a depleted diet, and most people binge and allow themselves to eat whatever they want since they no longer have to be on such a restricted diet. Also, to get back your “normal” weight, most competitors gain 10-20 pounds. That’s hard to go through after being so muscular and thin. I have seen a lot of people go through depression and self-esteem issues because of this. Given my history of emotional eating and self-esteem, I do not know if that would be a positive path for me to go through.
FFFC: How did you develop and sustain the willpower to avoid the bad stuff (i.e. junk food, bad drinks, lack of activity, etc.)?
LT: The longer I stayed away from it, the less I craved it. That was a big help. I then realized how healthy, energized, and happy I felt by eating clean; and that feeling alone was enough to keep me away. My skin improved, my energy increase was significant, and overall you just simply feel better.
FFFC: What advice do you have for someone starting out on their weight-loss journey but unsure of how to begin?
LT: All it takes to begin is a decision. When you decide you want to lose weight, do it. Make one healthy choice at a time; water over soda. The gym over a Netflix marathon. Fruit over cake. Educate yourself; I am big advocate on learning proper nutrition and exercise on your own. That way you have the knowledge to live healthy forever and not have to depend on anyone else. Research online – that’s what I did and I have notebooks filled with recipes, information on nutrition—what our body needs and why, etc. Also stay organized – that is huge. Plan your workouts and meals ahead.
FFFC: What do you think is the biggest misconception about this journey?
LT: How much time weight loss takes; that is a huge misconception. If you are losing weight on your own by eating healthy and exercise (which is all it takes), it takes a lot of time. People often give up too easily because the results they want do not happen right away. A college degree takes 2-4 years, a pregnancy takes 9 months. Major things we want to accomplish take time and a lot of effort. Weight loss is no different.
FFFC: Do you have any fitness inspirations? Who are they?
LT: My biggest fitness inspirations are Ava Cowan and Pauline Nordin. They are both undeniably dedicated to fitness which alone is inspiring, but they also have interesting stories and pasts. I relate to Ava a lot which makes me connect with her. Pauline is just simply a badass.
FFFC: How can readers learn more about your transformation, journey and any future competitions online (i.e. Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, etc.)?