How Marci Lost 50 Pounds: A Success Story

Today I am sharing the success story of my client, Marci, and how she lost 50 pounds, avoided statins, and fell in love with shopping for clothes again.

The best part of how she lost 50 pounds is that she had real challenges and struggles during our time together. I’ve coached thousands of clients in-person and online and there are five challenges I can guarantee will present themselves when starting your fitness journey.

  • You won’t always feel motivated
  • At some point, you’ll feel tired
  • Stress will make things hard and you may feel like you have a lot on your plate
  • You’ll get bored with your routines, workouts, meals, and more
  • You will not be perfect. You will make mistakes

All of this is ok and to be expected. The best thing you can do is to accept and embrace these challenges. These challenges required us to adjust the plan, become adaptable, and learn how to navigate all-or-nothing thinking. 

How Marci Lost 50 Pounds: The Physical and aesthetic transformation

Before we jump in below are some of Marci’s physical changes.

Lost 50 pounds: 168 to 117
Lost 50 pounds weight loss chart

Down 13 inches in her waist: 42″ to 29″

Waist inches lost chart

Lowered total and LDL cholesterol. Raised HDL cholesterol

Cholesterol chart

 

Now that we got that out of the way. Let’s dive into Marci’s experience and the mental transformation she experienced as she lost 50 pounds. 

Exactly what we did together

Week 1: Onboarding and food journal

I start every client with a one-week onboarding phase with a food journal. This allows them to get comfortable with my coaching app, communicate with me regularly, set aside time for the program, and let us learn about what they’re doing versus what they think they’re doing. With the food log, we can analyze what’s going well, not as well as they would like, and focus on the lowest-hanging fruit to start getting results.

Week 2-3: Balanced plates and food journaling

Based on Marci’s client questionnaire, current challenges, and food journal we agreed that focusing on creating and eating mostly balanced plates and continuing the food journal was the best course of action.

Week 4-5: Purposely wait 4-6 hours and food journal

We started to notice some mindless snacking and nibbling and chose to focus on purposely waiting 4 to 6 hours between meals. This was an opportunity to check in with hunger cues. Was, she physically hungry during this time, or was it something else (angry, lonely, tired, bored, stressed, just because the food was there, etc…)

Week 6+: Tracked calories, protein, fiber

Marci prefers numbers and data so we decided to move away from hand portions and began tracking calories, protein, and fiber. We didn’t worry about her carbs or fats during this time. So long as those three things were being met she would continue to progress, maintain muscle, and strength, and feel satiated at meals.

From week 6 on we let data drive decisions. If she was losing weight at a reasonable rate and not struggling with hunger or energy levels we kept things the same. If not, we made small adjustments to calorie intake week to week based on the results we were getting and how she was feeling. 

You had some real challenges during our time together. How were you able to balance working out, creating healthy meals, and fitting in time for the people and things you love?

I did have some real challenges throughout the year. In the beginning, it was more difficult than it was toward the end when I developed habits I could rely on.

I prepare my protein (usually chicken) in 100g portions for the entire week on Sundays. I freeze them in two-day packets. This worked well for me and took away impulsive eating because there was always a planned meal. I have a busy work and social life. I quickly learned that I can eat virtually the same formula no matter where I am. A small portion of protein and a little side of something healthy, like a veggie.

Working out was a challenge for me, but I also learned that I just like to walk more than anything, so I focused on that, just to get me moving. I have a very sedentary desk job, so that was still a challenge.

The biggest A-HA moment for me was that I always thought I was eating the right amount of food, but for some reason, I still couldn’t lose weight.

I was wrong.

My mindset has completely changed. I am very cognizant of the calories I take in daily. I am never hungry, though.

Describe a typical day for you before you started focusing on health and wellness.

I can hardly remember a day, now, without focusing on health and wellness. Sadly, I did live a life without it being a focus in the past.

Having a teen son at home, I frequently went out to eat at burger places and LOVED eating a burger and fries a few times a week. I generally ate pretty well when I cooked at home, but I now see that my portions were always much larger than they should have been. I don’t even miss the extra food! I do recall going out with friends and having a strong focus on the restaurant we would go to. I was certainly more focused on the delicious saucy, savory tastes of the food.

Describe a typical day for you now.

Now I still go out to eat as often as I ever did, but I try to choose places with my family and friends that have things that make my life a little easier regarding choices; but, it’s never a big deal if we go somewhere that isn’t healthy. I actually pride myself on making it work no matter where I go. I almost always can find something that works for me.

Worst-case scenario, I just eat differently for that meal and it’s OK! Something I learned from Justin (and it is SO true) is that one lousy meal does not make or break your entire trajectory. Today, I can honestly say that I do focus so much more on who is sitting with me at the table than what is on the table for me to eat.

What was the toughest change that you needed to make? What strategies did you use to change?

I still struggle with movement. It didn’t affect my overall health goals, though. I still have the desire to meet my movement goals and I know I will. For me, focusing the most on my nutrition was helpful because changing two behaviors at once was difficult.

For example, eating differently AND moving more was a huge cognitive load for me. Justin was amazing at meeting me where I was and helping me with smaller movement changes while I was focusing on nutritional changes. The biggest “strategy” for this tough change was forgiving myself when it wasn’t going well for me. Picking up the next day with another fresh start was helpful. Sometimes it was two days or three. Sometimes I needed to just change my goal altogether for the time being, regarding movement.

What was your biggest motivation to seek out a nutritionist (nutrition coach)?

I began my journey wanting to lose a significant amount of weight (ended up losing nearly 50 pounds) so that I could potentially lower my cholesterol. My doctor wanted to put me on a statin drug and I really didn’t want to do that. I worked so hard to change my overall health so I could live drug-free.

I tried to lose weight on my own and successfully lost 10 pounds or so, but I felt like I was getting nowhere after that. I knew I needed the help of someone who could analyze what I was doing and not doing well. I ran across a blog entry of Justin’s that really spoke to me. I thought, “I think he can help me.” And, he did!

What were you most nervous about when working with a nutritionist, on your diet, and healthy eating habits? How did what we work on help with this?

I was most nervous about the accountability part. What would that look like?

I’m so hard on myself. I think most people are.

Just because I was overweight doesn’t mean I wasn’t hard on myself. I thought working with a nutritionist would just add to my negative self-talk and provoke anxiety when I just wasn’t able to handle it at times. Justin was super real about things. I loved that about him. He gave me grace during difficult times. He will also make you think, though, when you are just making excuses. He has a certain way of detecting these things and I felt gently nudged when needed.

Aside from your body changing how has developed the habit of healthy nutrition and exercise affected you?

I lost 30% of my body weight and am now within the healthy weight range on the charts. That feels good.

I can tell you that I have more fun shopping for clothes. I had to call one of my favorite clothing stores to ask them to stop sending plus-sized ads to me. I wear a petite, size 4 now!

My clothes fit me better because my proportions are right. My legs don’t swell like they used to. My face doesn’t look puffy. I don’t get out of breath when I walk and I can carry groceries into the house without the excess fat on my chest getting in the way. I sleep better.

My life has changed. It’s more comfortable.

What surprised you most about adjusting your diet/eating habits?

It’s not that difficult overall and I just formed new habits. Habits I actually enjoy. Also, I’m enjoying my food more now than ever before! It just tastes better when I eat healthy, good food!

Thoughts from Justin

Weight loss is a very simple process. Science has shown us how to do this. It’s the application of that simple process that is difficult because life likes to do life things.

  • Some of us have past trauma that makes exercise and diet more difficult
  • Various health conditions can make the process harder
  • Social and economic status can make it more challenging
  • Lack of support is a real bitch
  • Our environment makes it difficult
  • This list goes on and on. 

I say this as a reminder to be kind to yourself if you’re starting your fitness journey. If you’ve been struggling for a while and need some extra support from an honest, direct, and empathetic coach that cares. Don’t be afraid to apply for coaching here.

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