If you are what you eat, apparently, I am a LUNA Bar. It’s true, not only have I had one for breakfast almost every day for 14 years, but if you Google my name, you may even find a few pictures of LUNA Bars. Years ago, a Google search for my name may have come up with images of not-so-good-for-you foods. My weight gain had been gradual: the “freshman 15” in college, followed with another 15 pounds in law school, more after I got married, topped off with my first pregnancy. At one point, I stepped on the scale and saw the OMG number of 208 lbs. staring back at me. I had treated myself to a day of beauty at the spa before my first son’s Christening, and was mortified when I had to return to the desk and ask the receptionist if they had a larger robe, as the one-size-fits-all robe was lying. That was my “aha moment.” It occurred to me that I had become a spectator. I would watch TV, watch a movie, read a book, go see a sporting event or theatre performance- everything involved watching or reading about other people doing something. Going out to eat had somehow become something to DO. I used to go for bike rides with friends, have a weekly racquetball game, take a dance lesson, all of which, one by one, had just sort of stopped as the years passed. I was watching life go by...while I sat on the sidelines.
The day after my aha moment launched an all out attack on my unhealthy lifestyle and THIS time, I meant business! I began working out consistently at home with the help of some home workout DVDs and found a great personal trainer. I found weight training, like some people find religion, as it was that life changing to me. Any other times, I had tried to work fitness into my life, I had only tried cardio, and since you can’t outrun the fork, I had made little progress. I went grocery shopping to stock up on some healthier food options and picked up my first LUNA Chocolate Pecan Pie flavor--and it was love at first bite. LUNA has become my go-to breakfast and I always keep one in my handbag so I’m never caught by surprise and ordering a bad choice at a drive thru. I try to eat lean proteins (chicken breast, fish, bison), complex carbs (steal cut oatmeal, brown rice), green veggies (kale, salads, & broccoli), and healthy fats (avocado & salmon).
I try to encourage others by being very open about my experience, and my weight loss led to being featured as a success story in Good Housekeeping Magazine, on the Bodies in Motion infomercial and website, and in a catalog for workout videos. After the Good Housekeeping magazine hit the stands, a few girlfriends messaged me on Facebook asking me how I did it, and I began giving them advice on what worked for me. I began commenting if they’d check in at restaurants, about what they were ordering, or they’d text me and ask me what to order. I pushed them to bust any excuses why they couldn’t work out. As they began losing weight, several of their friends started messaging me as well, and I created the FBJFit Facebook page dedicated to sharing diet and fitness tips, healthy recipes and fitness inspiration. I know my journey has encouraged a lot of people so I try to live up to it by continuing to make the right choices. I think having been on both sides of the spectrum gives me an appreciation for the struggles of one trying to lose weight, and the work and effort put into staying healthy. I think everyone has a vision of where they want to be physically and mentally, but getting there can be a complicated road. Through social media, without any sort of judgment and by using nurturing but firm advice, I try to help others set a strategic plan for achieving their own fitness goals. I feel tremendous joy in coaching others by sharing information and encouragement that I wish I had available to me when I began my own journey. I try to use this persona to be a champion for living out loud. I’ve learned many lessons the hard way, but I’m thrilled that I’m no longer on the sidelines of life!
MY LESSONS LEARNED:
1. Remind yourself, “You’re no busier than a fit person.” We’re all busy.
2. Make your workouts like “brushing your teeth,” something you just do without question.
3. Always plan: Keep a LUNA in your purse for emergencies, check the menus online before heading out to a restaurant, bring a healthy treat you enjoy when attending a party.
4. As a general rule, unless it’s cauliflower, a Vanilla Almond or White Chocolate LUNA bar, if it’s white, don’t eat it.
5. Think of food as a choice, and not as a reward or a punishment. You don’t “deserve” a decadent dessert, nor are you “depriving” yourself if you don’t have it.
6. Don’t get comfortable with some success. There’s no finish line or touchdown dance. As I was losing weight, and every time I went down a size, I would only buy one pair of jeans, one pair of tan pants, and one pair of black pants. I wouldn’t spend a lot, and I would tell myself, “Don’t invest in this size, as you’re not going to be staying here for long.”
7. BLT’s count: bites, licks and tastes add up, and sips too (so try your best not to drink your calories!)
8. Recognize the saboteurs. You’ll need to be able to resist the “just this once,” “just a taste or bite won’t hurt you,” and even the “you’re no fun anymore” from some of the people closest to you.
9. Switch up your routines regularly, and chose something you genuinely enjoy! I love taking Latin and ballroom dance lessons, running stadium steps with my girlfriend Sunday mornings, going for bike rides with my boys, and taking walks with my 85 year old neighbor (she’s my inspiration, and I can barely keep up with her!)
10. Eat foods in their lowest common denominator: Think orange, not orange juice, and shop the outside aisles of the supermarket; it’s where the least processed foods are.