Friday, 1 January 2016

From Obese to P90X Grad - My Weight Loss Transformation

My Weight Loss Wake Up Call

Obese in 2008 - this is me at my highest weight on a trip to Cuba before a paleo diet and P90X
At my highest weight of 200 lbs on a trip to Cuba in 2008.
At 5'4" that put me in the obese range. This was before
I attempted a paleo diet and P90X.
Obese in 2008 - this is me at my highest weight on a trip to Cuba before starting P90X in 2012
Me and Jaclyn in  2008 in Cuba.
I was wearing a lot of stretchy clothing then.
I was in complete denial that I was overweight
But in fact I was obese according to the BMI.
Oddly enough my wake up call didn't happen when I was at my highest weight. It happened after I had dropped 15 to 20 lbs the summer of 2008 with a paleo diet (similar to the dukan diet). It would be the wakeup call that eventually led me to complete P90X in 2012.

 I was in my last year of university (2009) and I knew my health benefits were about to run out so, fed up with my horrible perioral acne, I went to the university clinic to ask about Accutane (that's a powerful acne drug that dries out your skin, eyes and nose FYI).

When I got to my appointment the doctor said that your Accutane dose was specifically designed for my weight so she asked me to step on the scale.

  I weighed in at 175 lbs... excuse me? 

I thought I was at a pretty low weight - I had just spent an entire summer cycling every day and eating a paleo diet for every meal! That means I was 200 lbs a few months ago?! That cannot be right. I said to the doctor "well that's a high weigh in for me, I'm planning to loose weight", she responded "oh a few pounds won't make a difference". She meant for the Accutane dosage but in that moment I was shocked. It was absolutely time to get back to eating healthy and turn myself around in a big way.

I had done Weight Watcher's back in high school so, the next day, I started counting my Weight Watcher's points again. That alone didn't help though.

Gaining some Fitness IQ and Failing Forward

Before P90X in 2010
Me and my workout partner Jaclyn in 2010.
We fumbled and laughed through our first
fitness classes but eventually became pros
after going 3x per week and tracking calories.
A few weeks later, after I graduated, I got an office job and could afford a gym membership. The local YMCA had just built a fancy new building that wasn't too far from my office.

My close friend Jaclyn had a membership there so we vowed to go together 3 times per week. We were also tracking our calories online without fail. I was even tracking them in two different ways - SparkPeople and Weight Watcher's points. I've realized now that I just like tracking things with numbers - not everyone is like this and that's okay.

The biggest change I found going to the gym, this time, is we actually took a leap and started going to fitness classes (this was really scary for us! what if we couldn't do the moves!).

  I remember we couldn't stop laughing the first week because we were SO BAD! We kept falling off our fitness balls and we could barely do the moves with weights.

We were using 2 lb weights which feel like air to me now. The gym had a great schedule set up with targeted muscle classes on different days with the same trainer. We worked lower body then we did cardio then upper body then cardio and abs. We also had a trainer that would encourage us to up our weights - since he was teaching every day he knew when we could handle more.

I really gained a lot of "fitness IQ" from these classes and got results from simple, targeted, moves and realized the importance of setting a schedule and consistency. 

I saw the results (yay a quantifiable improvement) because the weights I could handle got bigger and bigger! I was also reading a crazy amount of fitness magazines and soaking up all the info I could get my hands on. 

I lost 13 lbs over the summer and was down to 160 lbs. 

My acne had also disappeared through the magic of Accutane. I did however experience some nasty side effects like the acne initially got worse. I also had  frequent nosebleeds, intense scaly flakey dry skin, constant red eyes and joint and muscle pain. It was all over within a year though so in the long run I think it was worth it - in fact I wish I had done it sooner so I didn't have scarring acne for 15 years of my life.

In September I moved away and didn't have a gym membership in my new city because I couldn't afford it (I had quit my job due to boredom). I was fitness savvy enough to do my own workouts at home - I wasn't very regimented though and would just do whatever came to my head. This is why I didn't really see any results from my home workouts at that time.

I needed a workout program for it to be successful like P90X.

Once I started working again I got a gym membership and did whatever classes I felt like and tracked calories and got my weight down to 140 for about a year until it shot up to 160 lbs again.

At this time I still felt like I had the wrong body type to gain muscle and be slim. I was wrong!

Starting P90X by Accident

After P90X
After losing 30 lbs in 90 days with P90X
I was more confident in both fitness and in life.
In 2012 my sister put P90X with Tony Horton on her Christmas list.

Up until this time I thought it was for super jacked people that just wanted to get even more freakin jacked!

But, if my sister could do P90X, why couldn't I?

We had the same DNA right? There was no "oh I just don't have the right body type" excuse here! I had just tipped back to my "eek" weight of 160 lbs so on January 1st I said to myself "why don't I just try one of these so-called get-ripped videos to see what it's like." I'm not going to lie, it was super difficult. I couldn't do all the moves and was exhausted by the end. 

I tried Ab Ripper X and couldn't even do one of the moves all the way through the 20 reps. 

It reminded me of when I was at the YMCA first starting workout classes. I got better at the classes eventually so maybe this would be the same. When I got to the pull ups video (Chest & Back) the video showed someone using a resistance band - I can do that!

So I just kept popping my sister's videos in the DVD player and seeing how many I could finish. And, to be honest, I stole her DVDs so I could do the videos every day. Before I knew it I had finished a whole week. Well, I thought to myself, I might as well keep going. So I stuck with it and got my roommate to do them with me too.

Eventually I could do the whole Ab Ripper X video straight through. 

I just kept pushing play and then had finished a whole 90 days of P90X. 

I was down 30 lbs but looked like I had lost 40 - the muscle I gained was crazy.

It was the most ripped I have
At my lowest weight after 90 days of P90X with Tony Horton
At my lowest weight after finishing P90X in 2012.
ever been in my life. This was the first time in my life where I felt like I could be one of those jacked people - my DNA did not matter. 

It was the simple choices I made every day, compounded over time, that matter, not my DNA. 

If I could finish P90X I could really do anything! I gained an immense amount of confidence from finishing the program. I had more motivation and drive in all areas of my life, not just fitness. I wasn't at my lowest weight but I was at the smallest pant size I could remember - I even fit into a size 2 at the Gap. I gained the confidence to start rock climbing and made that a weekly habit, I also took up Ultimate Frisbee. 

Next I started Shaun T's Insanity (again my sister had done this one so I thought I could too) and got my cardio up to an intense level and lost another 10 lbs.

When I told people what program I was doing they were floored. 

When I had a physical my doctor took my heart rate and was floored by the number. He thought the machine was broken so he took my heart rate by hand.
Before and after P90X with Tony Horton. I went from Obese to a healthy weight.
Before and after P90X - I can't even believe this photos myself.
I went from Obese (BMI = 34) to a healthy weight (BMI = 23).
"What are you doing?" my doctor asked "Because you're in amazing cardio condition, I never see resting heart rates this low except for myself - you're as fit as I am and I'm a marathon runner." What an amazing pay off for all that hard work! That is why I work out!

When my fitness-loving roommate moved away I started going to the gym instead of doing videos. I didn't want to do the hour long workout when I got home from work - and at this time I didn't have a coach to tell me about P90X3 which is the 30 minute version of P90X. I took some of the P90X workout sheets and would do them on my own at the gym. I didn't have a goal date in mind though and I wasn't crossing off any kind of workout calendar. Eventually this began to get more and more casual. I touched 139 lbs and stayed around 140 for about a year before gaining 10 lbs on work trips (no gym there!). I hovered between 140 and 150 before shooting up to my "eek weight" of 160 lbs when I started dating my now boyfriend.

It was a few years after completing P90X and I needed to get back on track.

PiYo and getting back on track

I had just got up to my "eek weight" of 160 lbs and a friend was telling me about her new workout
Me at my eek weight of 160 before starting PiYo in 2015
At my "eek weight" of 160 lbs again after indulging over the
winter. Without fitness I put on weight fast.
program PiYo with Chalene Johnson and Shakeology (that nutrition shake Shaun T was talking about in the Insanity videos).

She was brimming with excitement and was feeling so confident that she had finished one month of it. I remember saying "wow you sound so much like me when I finished P90X!". 

She asked me why I had stopped if I loved it so much and I realized because it was a big time commitment and I didn't have anyone to do it with, but otherwise, I loved the feeling of satisfaction of completing a program.

This is how I started PiYo, Shakeology and accountability groups. Since the videos were 20-40 minutes (and no need to add on Ab Ripper to your already hour long workout). I also found it
Before PiYo in 2015
On a ski vacation at my highest weight in a long time.
Unfortunately downhill skiing doesn't burn many calories!
easier to do PiYo in the morning (since it's more gentle) before work so it wouldn't interrupt my climbing schedule in the evening.

Just like with P90X the motivation of crossing off those days on the schedule for me is better than just going to the gym and doing the class everyday.

I was working towards a goal! I also found out that I could submit my before and after pictures to Beachbody and get the chance to win money so that was another good motivator - I wanted to loose weight fast so I could win the cash!

Then my friend introduced the concept of coaching the accountability groups to me and I could sign up for free.

This seemed like a game changer to me just because if there were people looking up to me I
Before and after 60 days of PiYo with Chalene Johnson
My PiYo before and after pics - there are only 60 days
between these photos which is incredible. 
would definitely stick to the workouts. And I would get a discount on my workout programs and Shakeology too. So, I signed up! And guess what, it was an awesome decision.

Not only did I lose weight, but I lost it faster than with P90X even though I was doing shorter, less intense workouts.

I was also saving money by considerably cutting down on fast food and using my shake for a quick meal instead.

I lost 15 lbs in 60 days with PiYo and Shakeology.

Getting laid off and learning to be happy about it

After I finished PiYo I was feeling great. I had finished a 60 day program and was down 15 lbs.

I had just gone on a 3 week work trip to Sable Island and to be honest was feeling pretty confident in my career in environmental consulting.

7 days after I got back from the trip my company called a group into an office and terminated our contracts due to lack of funding.

This was a huge shock to all of us - I had just returned from a successful work trip! There were tears, confusion and frustration. 

I needed something positive to focus on - something to get a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction from. I turned to Beachbody coaching.

That thing I had signed up for just two months earlier. It could not have been better timing. Coaching gave me a reason to wake up in the morning and a feeling of worth in helping others stick to their health and fitness goals. Since then I have completed two rounds of 21 Day Fix and P90X3. I could not be more happy I said yes when I did. I'm excited for what the future holds for me.

To infinity and beyond! This photo was taking after day 60
of P90X3!
You might also like: How I lost 15 lbs in 60 days with PiYo and How to lose weight without counting calories

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