I lost 16.6lbs in 8 weeks. This is what I did to achieve optimal weight loss and body composition changes during an intensive 8-week challenge.
Weight loss journeys and I go way back. I have multiple degrees in Health and Fitness, I am an ex-personal trainer, ex-cycle instructor, and I’ve previously competed in weight loss competitions. I may be a few years older competing today, but I have some tricks of the trade that came back into play as my competitive side showed up for a weight loss win.
Nutrition is the majority of the equation. I told myself, 80% of my weight loss outcome is based on what enters my body. What you eat and what you drink is very important. I took a clean eating approach and focused on getting adequate protein for my weight. I cut out drinking anything but water. I made it habitual to carry a water bottle with me and if I needed caffeine, I drank black tea.
Drinks. My big win was I cut out drinking a can of soda every day. I would also enjoy a mocha latte here and there, so most weeks pre-challenge I would be drinking more than one serving of caffeine every day with all the added sugars. During the competition, I made it a few days before indulging in one can of zero sugar soda, then would have a can occasionally throughout. I made it to week 4 before I started indulging with my special coffee that has mocha froth—it was well worth building that back in for only 90 calories.
Food. Eating filling and nutritious food with a good balance of fat, carbs, and protein is the puzzle. How much I ate was based on my size and my goals, but clean eating can be done by anyone. A clean diet may include whole fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats while limiting highly processed snacks and other packaged food that have added sugar and salt.
Eating was a win. I instilled good habits and behaviors with my clean eating regimen. It was normal for me to pack my lunchbox everyday. I was focusing on including protein with every meal and snack. I ate eggs everyday, Greek yogurt almost everyday, and tilapia became delicious again. Focusing on power foods like brown rice, baby spinach, and grapefruit gave me that full feeling that lasted.
Workout for fun. If I was locked-down on my nutrition, there was no room to get upset at myself for missing a day at the gym. I’m a working adult, with young kids, so understand how things happen and you have to shift directions. My goal was to workout at the gym every weekday, in reality I was making it three to four days a week comfortably. Thankfully, I also work at the fitness center, so it was a welcoming environment every time I dragged myself there to workout. My basic plan was:
20 Minutes Cardio – Elliptical
Strength Train – 4 Exercises / 4 Sets / 10-12 Reps
10-15 Minutes Cardio – Treadmill, Bike, or Rower
Did I have fun? Yes, I did. The core of me loves strength training, and I’ve seen my own strength return on the weight room floor. Exercising is a great form of stress relief, and I see how it’s important for my own self-care.
Did I win the challenge? I entered the competition with a winner’s mindset, and I stayed checked-in for the whole 8-weeks. The final results were delayed by a whole day, but I officially won second place, to a male co-worker. I am calling myself The 2023 Challenge Female Winner. Not just because I thought I won, but because I accomplished a lot in only 8-weeks.
Thank you for indulging in my weight loss journey. I encourage anyone to prioritize their personal nutrition and exercise plans by setting achievable goals.