This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds.
Good morning, friends!
Last week, I received a great question from a reader about my experience with diet and exercise, and how they helped me lose weight. Over the years, other people (both CNC readers and real life friends) have asked me this same question, so I figured it was time to finally turn it into a blog post. Here’s the question that I received:
Longtime reader from Minnesota here, I love your blog! You look awesome, but I know you struggled with your weight in the past. My question is, was there one workout (running, CrossFit, etc.) that you feel really kick started your weight loss and got you to the point you are at today? I’m trying a running, weight lifting combo right now, but the weight isn’t coming off as quickly as I would like. Thank you in advance and keep doing what you’re doing!
Ok, let me start off by saying that I should give credit to three main things that helped me lose weight and change my body, and if I had to rank them in order of importance, this is how it would go: 1) diet; 2) CrossFit/KFIT/Body Pump/lifting heavy weights; 3) running.
I know you’ve heard it before, but it is so true: You can’t out train a bad diet. If you read my weight loss story, you know I gained about 25 pounds after college because my diet was terrible (i.e. beer, nachos, and more beer). Once I started paying attention to what I ate (I used fitday.com back then and now I occasionally use MyFitnessPal to keep me on track), the pounds came off. It took me almost a year to lose the weight, but I did it the right way with long-term, lifestyle changes in mind. I also learned a lot about myself (i.e. what worked, what didn’t work for ME). That was 12 years ago, and I’ve kept the weight off ever since.
But, of course, I’m human and my diet is far from perfect. I mean, hello, this blog is called Carrots ‘N’ Cake after all. I eat plenty of not-so-healthy food (i.e. our vacation last week = donuts, Doritos, Oreos, pancakes, s’mores, Ben & Jerry’s, soooo much booze), and I occasionally fall off the healthy eating wagon, but I always make sure that I get back on track.
For me, this often means taming my sweet tooth. Ooooh, how I love dessert. I’ve come a long way with my sugar addiction, but I still find myself falling into the dessert trap every so often. I still enjoy at least one treat per day, but when that single treat turns into a half a bag or almost an entire box, I know it’s time to get it together. I mentioned a bunch of my go-to strategies in my post above, but one of the things that has recently helped me manage my sugar cravings are Dark Chocolate and Cafe Mocha oven roasted almonds from Blue Diamond. They have a ton of sweet flavor, but they’re not loaded with sugar. And since they’re almonds, they also come with protein and healthy fats, so they’re typically a much more nutritious snack than my usual desserts. (I like mixing the Dark Chocolate and Cafe Mocha and eating them together.)
CrossFit changed my body. Prior to starting CrossFit, I had always maintained my weight through diet and exercise, but I didn’t start to love the way my body looked until I started lifting heavy weights. The combination of high-intensity workouts + lifting heavy gave me muscles I never knew I had! (More muscle = higher calorie burn all day long.) Plus, CrossFit gave me so much confidence in my athletic abilities and, man, it was fun.
Running also changed my body, but it was in two very different ways, which, in the end, was related to my diet. When I ran my first marathon and second marathon, I gained nearly 10 pounds each time because I ate everything in sight. No amount of running would help me lose weight eating what I was eating back then (i.e. you can’t out train a bad diet)! I finally figured out how to properly fuel my body for my third marathon, and I didn’t gain weight. I actually lost a few pounds, but I think most of it was muscle since I wasn’t strength training as much. My upper body looked pretty scrawny on race day, but I’ve since worked to build up my strength again.
Long story short, diet is a big part of maintaining my weight. If I eat well and balance my treats, especially when it comes to desserts, the weight comes off and stays off. Exercise is an important part as well, but it’s only a small part of the weight loss equation, especially now that I have much less time to exercise. My go-to workouts are short, high-intensity CrossFit-style that I often do during Quinn’s nap time, but they give me the most bang for my buck.
As far as weight loss goes, my best advice is to be consistent (with your diet and workouts), patient, and know that the weight will come off. Believing in yourself and knowing that you can change your body is a huge piece of success.
My friends at Blue Diamond Almonds would like to gather some feedback from you guys, so they created a readership survey specific to CNC. As an incentive to take it, Blue Diamond is giving away a $100 VISA gift card to one lucky CNC reader. The survey/giveaway will be open for one week, so please respond to it and then comment on this blog post for a chance to win. Here is the survey link: http://www.instant.ly/s/aViDb.