It’s easier to change than I thought – how I lost 25 pounds

I’ve never been comfortable showing my body off to the world, but here it is! The two pics on the left are my after pics in June 2012. The two on the right are my before pics in Feb 2012. It still floors me!

Weight loss was a long time dream of mine and getting to where I am today was a long process. My weight has yo-yoed through much of my adult life.

Through my 20s, as I rollerbladed, danced salsa, trained for marathons and then competed in triathlons, I stayed lean. I felt fit and great. Maybe I gained a couple of pounds here and there, but then I’d get super active and I’d lose the weight.

Then I met my husband. He’s active, but not like me. After we got married, I gained a couple of pounds. A couple of years later, I started working on my Master’s degree. I stayed active, running and cycling as much as I could manage with my school work. But it wasn’t enough to keep me from gaining weight.

I had thought that the ups and downs of weight gain and loss were normal until reality smacked me in the face; I was at the Pier to Pier ocean swim, a 2 mile swim from Hermosa to Manhattan (in the LA area in California), when I saw “the picture.” It was of me in my competitive swim bikini. The love handles spilling over the edge of the suit made my heart sink in sadness. I was heavier than I thought I was, and I had been in denial about how much weight I had gained over the years.

I had continued to see myself as I was before I got married, denying the reality of my heavier body. When I saw that picture, my heart dropped and it was then that I knew that I needed to make a change.

I started searching for ways to lose weight. I have never believed in diets, so that ruled out so many options. I believed in eating whole, unprocessed foods, and I had already embraced many of the practices that you read in the magazines: no soda, very little fast food, easy on the desserts, portion control, lots of veggies and water.

I dragged my feet on finding a program. I didn’t want to spend any money, so I searched for books that would help me make lifestyle changes. The book The Abs Diet by David Zinczenko included everything I believed in – whole foods, simple ideas, tweaking your diet to be leaner. I added strength training into my exercise calendar, switched to eating 3 smaller meals and 2 snacks, and monitored my caloric intake as Zinczenko recommends. I still did not lose weight.

As you can imagine, I was super frustrated! I debated paying for the Abs Diet online program. The only issue was that my husband and I were working on getting pregnant. My plans for losing weight stalled out.

I got pregnant and gave birth to an amazing girl, Cielle. During my pregnancy, I gained 35 pounds.

I had decided to be a stay at home mom, but when my daughter was four months old, I was going stir crazy so I started looking for a job. The idea of owning a business flitted through my head when I met a mom who had created a fitness business for moms. We discussed the possibility of my instructing for her briefly, but when I attended a class of hers, I decided I was not interested.

Then the local Stroller Strides franchisee hosted a free class for the moms group I was part of. At the end of her class she announced that she was selling her franchise. My background in teaching (I taught middle and high school English as Second Language) and coaching made this a natural fit. I could hardly wait to buy the franchise. I also thought that owning this business would guarantee that I’d lose all of the weight I wanted to lose.

One year after giving birth to Cielle and eight months after operating the fitness business with my business partner, I had reached my pre-pregnancy weight. Still somehow, the fat on my body was more pronounced than it had been pre-pregnancy. Reflecting on all of the exercise, my choices to eliminate desserts from most days of eating, and my healthy eating choices, I was disappointed that I was not able to lose more weight.

Giving in to my feeling of desperation, I tried a large and popular online program, and then paid for another. Preplanned weekly meals and no true person to person accountability made these experiences nearly useless for me.

After all of the years of dragging my feet and being unwilling to jump into something that required me to allow someone to call me on my mistakes, I allowed myself to get real. I finally knew that I would have to pay someone to help and be personally involved with me along the way. I knew what I needed: 1) principles for eating well that I could apply for the rest of my life – NO preplanned meals, 2) a coach who would push me when I didn’t believe I could do it and who would encourage me, 3) a program that took my already active lifestyle into account.

I looked into a program that was six months and $1200. That was an investment I wasn’t sure I could make, so I kept looking.

One day, I happened upon some information about a program called Earn That Body (ETB). The program is described as one that was created “to teach and educate you to change your nutrition/fitness regiment so you can get the body you want & be able to maintain it on your own” (emphasis mine).

I was floored, my dream program existed! Now speaking from experience I can honestly tell you what I loved. Most importantly for making real change was the personal connection. Kim Strassmann-Eagle, owner and creator of ETB, was in touch with me daily through email, cheering me on when I was doing well and guiding me towards better choices when I was struggling. Though our communications were short and sweet, knowing that she was there for me as a support and a coach made all the difference.

I love that the nutritional aspect of ETB is about teaching great food choice – a balanced diet with specific rules to help stay satisfied without reaching for junk. ETB is also focused on helping you lose weight in a healthy way, 1 to 2 pounds a week. I have always been dubious of programs where you lose lots of weight in the first few weeks, so knowing this was a priority of Kim’s was of utmost importance to me. To me, it signified that this was about total health. Practically speaking, it meant that most days, I felt satisfied even though I was eating fewer calories than normal, and that made me very happy.

During the weight loss period, I worked to apply the principles of eating by creating my meal plan in the morning. I became proficient at understanding what I needed for weight loss in about 3 months. Taking it to real life was more of a challenge. At times I found myself swinging back into old bad habits, reaching for junk, overeating when emotional, and more. Now that I have been living the principles for a while, I can say that if you follow them, you will be successful!

Twenty weeks after I started the program, I had lost 25 pounds and I felt fantastic. More significant than the actual physical changes was the realization that I could accomplish a goal that felt unattainable. The experience taught me that I am more powerful and in control of my life than I believed, and that I can reach my dreams if I’m willing to put in the work.

I continue to make changes in my lifestyle and eating that align with the Earn That Body nutritional principles. My old habits have been hard to break. I have gained a few pounds and then lost them. The sense of accomplishment from my 20 weeks with Kim fuel me to believe that I can have the body I want. I am earning that body.

More about Earn That Body

Earn That Body focuses on the related aspects of nutrition and fitness. Kim Strassmann-Eagle, owner and founder, developed Earn That Body when she moved from San Diego to Austin. Her San Diego clients were devastated that she was leaving, and she wanted to create something that would allow her to continue her work with them from a distance. The program evolved into an online nutrition/health and fitness with a few clients. Shortly after developing the program, it exploded. People were getting phenomenal results (including me!), and the word spread.

How it works
After a fitness evaluation, your current weight and your goal weight, Kim sets a certain number of calories for you to intake. In addition to the calories are a series of nutritional principles based on tenets she learned in her Master’s in Eastern Medicine. These are central to her philosophy of health and are what truly transformed my diet. Taking these tenets, which are mainly focused on eating foods close to their source and getting rid of processed foods, and applying them day to day can change is life altering.

Included in a personalized workout plan, based on your abilities and resources, are two to three Earn That Body workouts created by Kim. Kim’s extensive background in teaching and participating in group fitness have informed these intense and fun workouts, which are her favorite circuit and interval workouts from over the years.

There’s a Facebook community that serves as a base for asking questions and getting encouragement and support. Kim personally checks in with you weekly shortly after you send her your weigh in results. You share all of your nutrition tracking information with her through the Loseit app, and she comments on ways to make nutritional changes.

This was a great fit for me since I already work out 6 days a week. In addition, I really loved that she wasn’t giving you a menu or making you figure out points for different foods.

Her nutrition is based on Eastern traditions and principles. The principle based approach gives you a framework to work from, which you can then apply to your life as you work on maintenance…which I think is really hard.

Finally, I loved that there was some personal connection. Kim coaches you and touches base with you and the Facebook team cheers everyone on in their goals!

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